Alert: August Recess Contest

Dear Partners,

We are excited to announce Community Catalyst’s August Recess Challenge, a contest designed to celebrate the successes of the Affordable Care Act while policymakers are at home and hearing from their constituents. The goal of the contest is to use letters to the editor (LTEs) and op-eds to tell the story of success and frame key issues as we move into the second open enrollment period.

Suggested Topics

By addressing a variety of topics, you can reach a wider audience in promoting the success of the ACA and our spotlight issue this August recess, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Ideas for topics include:

  • Helping consumers understand their insurance coverage through consumer assistance (health insurance literacy)
    • Trending: Navigators and assisters, especially those hearing from consumers that they helped enroll, are particularly well positioned to speak to the need for coordinated efforts and programs to help the newly insured understand their insurance coverage. The New York Times recently covered efforts to educate consumers.
  • Personal stories about consumers benefiting from the ACA, e.g. getting covered, receiving prevention benefits, finding an MLR rebate in your mailbox, finally affording quality coverage.
    • Trending: Uninsurance rates have dropped nationally and many states have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of uninsured people. Gallup provides a state-by-state report on the change in the uninsured rate.
  • Closing the coverage gap
    • Trending: Across the country, 1.3 million veterans report neither accessing VA services nor having health coverage. Half of uninsured veterans are in the coverage gap. Recently, advocates in Alabama and Utah have successfully placed opinion pieces on veterans and the coverage gap.
  • Educating our communities about the importance of CHIP
    • Trending: Two Congressional committees are soliciting feedback from governors about state CHIP programs. It’s important to reach out to your governor and shore up public support for this vital program.

We're challenging you to place and promote your LTEs and op-eds from now through Friday, September 5. We will evaluate the submitted entries and determine the winners. As your LTEs get placed, please report them to Christine Lindberg ( During the contest we'll do our part to promote your published letters using social media and working with our partners.

The grand prize will be a party package from Community Catalyst full of New England goodies. We will also be looking to award a few honorable mentions as well.
Evaluating the Entries

Entries will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Variety of issues covered
  • Variety of messengers (Navigators and assisters, consumers, etc.)
  • Range of outlets - from traditional to online
  • Geographic reach
  • Use of social media to promote published letters
  • Number of letters placed

We hope this contest will be a meaningful public education opportunity with the potential for a fun reward. Our primary interests are diversity in issues covered and geographic reach within your state. Thank you in advance for your participation, and don’t forget to report back to Christine as you place pieces.

The Community Catalyst Implementation Team

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