Beginning January 1 this year, millions of people gained access to health insurance for the first time. But buying health insurance can be daunting. That’s why during this time of unprecedented change in healthcare, we at Independence Blue Cross are going the extra mile to serve our new customers face-to-face and to make our interactions more personal, engaging, and educational. We’re giving them every opportunity to enjoy the security that a Blue ID card gives one in three people in the United States. A new era in healthcare means we need new ways to reach out and help consumers. We’ve created many innovative ways to do just that – from digital platforms to social media to mobile devices – that will help guide consumers in years to come. But probably our favorite mobile device is this very big one: The Independence Express. Since late last summer, this state-of-the-art, mobile education and retail health care vehicle, which we named the Independence Express, has been traveling throughout southeastern Pennsylvania helping consumers understand the important changes introduced by the ACA. While just about everyone recognizes the Blue brand as the gold standard, many have never had health insurance and don’t understand how it works. The Independence Express is a 50-foot, eye-catching tractor trailer that brings a personalized learning experience right to the neighborhoods we serve. Over the past six months, the Express has visited more than 300 community events at health clinics, festivals, professional sports games, bus and rail stations, the zoo, YMCAs, and more. We’ve interacted with more than 65,000 people, with about 6,000 coming onboard the Express. Just imagine an Apple store for health care reform – that’s the Express. Inside it’s fully web enabled with laptop and tablet computers and meeting space for up to 20 people. It’s also ADA-compliant and staffed by licensed sales agents to help consumers understand their options and enroll in health plans. It has been particularly helpful in communities where internet access is limited. As you can see in the video above, the Independence Express is also equipped with standalone activities geared to entertain and educate. A full list of community locations for the Independence Express is available at ibxevents.localist.com. On the Road – and Online, Too In addition to our in-person outreach, social media has been, and will continue to be, a crucial way to make a direct connection with consumers and help them understand the new law. Our robust Facebook page connects with over 27,000 followers, and with our @IBX Twitter account has helped answer hundreds of customer questions. As the region’s leading health insurer, it’s our responsibility to go where consumers are, explain how the law works, and make enrollment a simple and positive experience this year and beyond. These are some of the reasons we have had such a strong showing in the Philadelphia market. For coverage effective January 1, more than 90,000 people have signed up for our new, ACA-compliant individual health insurance plans. More than 60,000 enrolled via the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, and more than 30,000 came directly to us through the Independence Express, brokers, telesales agents, or our website ibx4you.com. But it’s not enough that we have earned consumers’ business; now we must earn their trust. We must ensure that they and their families remain loyal Blue customers for years to come. So whether it’s in-person or online, the big bold Independence Express, or our convenient web tools, every day we’re meeting thousands of potential new members, making enrollment easy, and helping educate our new customers about their benefits, how health insurance works, and how we can help them stay well.