covered californiaCalifornia's state-run health insurance exchange has engaged Weber Shandwick for a multimillion-dollar campaign to promote entity, known as Covered California.

Weber Shandwick, which has worked with Massachusetts and Maryland on health exchange PR and marketing and handles PR work for the federal government-run exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, will lead a two-year, $12M contract for the California exchange. Its Axis Agency multicultural unit will also handle outreach.

Covered California continues to work with Ogilvy PR for media and community relations efforts.

California wants to reach an estimated five million people in promoting its exchange, which was rolled out on May 23 with 13 health plans. The announcement received national coverage as rates for some of the plans -- from $200-300 -- came in below expectations and eased some fears of rate spikes under the new federal healthcare law. CC executive director Peter Lee called the offerings a "home run for consumers in every region of California."

Insurance exchanges will begin offering plans in 2014.