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Star-studded help for Obamacare

By Adam Aigner-Treworgy, CNN
updated 4:21 PM EST, Thu December 12, 2013
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is one of the celebrities involved in a new Obamacare campaign.
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is one of the celebrities involved in a new Obamacare campaign.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Celebrities and athletes lead publicity effort on health care enrollment
  • The campaign is also hoping to tap into active social media communities
  • Star-studded eight-hour, live-streamed event in January part of effort

(CNN) -- The White House is about to get some star-powered help in its efforts to repair Obamacare's battered reputation.

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A new publicity effort led by Covered California, one of the largest state-based insurance exchanges, will employ celebrities, athletes, musicians and social media personalities to encourage a peer-to-peer conversation about signing up for health care.

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Called "Tell A Friend -- Get Covered," the campaign kicked off at a press conference in Los Angeles on Thursday featuring actor Wilmer Valderrama, best known for his role as Fez on the sitcom "That '70s Show."

As part of the campaign, singer Adam Levine, fresh off being named People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive," sent a message to his 4.7 million followers on Twitter on Thursday.

"California is where I call home. Now you can #GetCovered if you're a resident. So hurry!," Levine wrote.

Other celebrities involved include comedians George Lopez and Marlon Wayans, actresses Tatyana Ali and Fran Drescher, rappers T.I. and Pitbull, and former Olympian and WNBA player Lisa Leslie.

The campaign is also hoping to tap into active social media communities on site's like YouTube, where comedian and Obama-impersonator Alphacat shared a health care-themed video Thursday with more than 550,000 subscribers.

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In a spoof of the rap song, "Drop it like it's Hot," Alphacat sings as President Barack Obama, telling viewers: "If you need that new health care, sign up cause it's hot," and urges them to "tell a friend or a random guy."

"This campaign will make it easy for musicians, actors, and other entertainers and everyday people like the rest of us, to reach out to fans and followers with news about the new health insurance options available," said Anne Filipic, President of Enroll America, an independent organization encouraging enrollment and a partner in the new campaign. "Their stories will grab people's attention and start important conversations about getting covered."

Speaking at Thursday's kick-off press conference, Filipic said that through web videos and messages on social media, the campaign will guide people to TellAFriendGetCovered.com, where they can get state-specific information on enrollment from the 14 state-based exchanges, which are all partners in the new effort.

If an individual's state exchange is being run by the federal government, they will be guided to Enroll America's site for help finding an in-person assister, or determining if they're eligible for a premium tax credit. Then Enroll America staff and volunteers can follow up with them.

"When someone clicks on a tweet or a video from an artist that they know and follow, they'll find a website with basic information they can share with their friends and family about the new health insurance options and they'll have the option to begin the enrollment process in their state," Filipic said.

The campaign plans to add more celebrities and entertainers to its ranks over time, and is already planning a star-studded eight-hour, live-streamed event on January 16 to encourage enrollment.

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