Name That Exchange…

The Board of the California Health Benefits Exchange is meeting this Thursday, with several consequential decisions on tap. Action items include:
* Governance / Operations, including the re-election of the chair, and Exchange by-laws.
* Premium Aggregation
* Agent Payment Options
* Small Business Health Options Program, including board recommendations, and agent payment options
* Qualified Health Plan Policies
* Service Center Options

Some of these decisions are big deals. Meeting materials (including staff recommendations) are available on the website for your review.

Also up for discussion is the search for a name, beyond “California Health Benefits Exchange,” which doesn’t easily roll off the tongue.

They are seeking recommendations! Here’s their notice:

If you want to participate in this effort, continue reading to find the “Brand Characteristics” we want the name to represent below and submit your recommendations to info@hbex.ca.gov by August 17, 2012.

First, why not just call it the Exchange?  According to research conducted by other states, the word exchange “raises some suspicions of loopholes and fine print” and “implies current coverage may need to be traded for something else.”   We believe that we likely need a different name to avoid these negative connotations.

What are other states doing?  Other states planning on operating State-Based Exchanges are also conducting research on what name makes sense:  Washington State is considering “Health Link” and “Health Choices;” Massachusetts is the “Health Connector.”  While these names include a health-related reference, we are open to any number of options, from health-related to abstract, from geographically-linked to Spanish-inspired. 

In developing the potential new name for the Exchange, we want to emphasize the key characteristics for our “brand.”  These characteristics illustrate what the California Exchange strives to be and wants to demonstrate over time.

Brand Characteristics

1.    Trustworthy

·         Balance style with substance in order to leverage the benefits of the government affiliation while mitigating the negatives.

·         Use a clean look and feel that never obscures the true value of the Marketplace.

2.    Clear:

·         Use clear symbols and language to show the Marketplace as a solution to current healthcare complexity and wasteful government bureaucracy.

·         Emphasize the Marketplace as an accessible feature for all due to its ease-of-use and approachability.

3.    Affordable:

·         Communicate availability of affordable insurance through the Marketplace

4.    Universal:

·         Speak to people of all ages, races, cultures, political party, and socio-economic situation.

5.    Innovative:

·         Demonstrate a fresh approach to what many feel is a complex and broken healthcare system

6.    Breakthrough:

·         Bring a new perspective to healthcare and rise above the current sea of sameness

·         Show range of options from “safe” to pushing the boundaries — i.e., Zappos, Amazon, Google, etc.  While shocking the audience is not the right kind of breakthrough, adding a new perspective to the environment is important.

7.    Wellness:

·         Associate the Marketplace with concepts of health and wellness, using marketing to realign “health insurance” with good living and positive prevention rather than sickness, illness and disability.

Many names have already been suggested.   Here are some examples and categories that have been offered.

Health Related/Traditional:  Health Seeker, Health Hub, Wellquest, Cal Health Hub, Access Health, Covered CA

Market Related:  Health Hub, CalHub

Abstract:  Madrona, Eureka, Condor

Spanish Inspired:  Comunidad, Viva, Mercado

Geographically Inspired: Mission CA, Sonoma, Grapevine

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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