Sunday, September 1, 2013

ACA Exchanges: We Market But You Advertise, huh?

“FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.—At the Minnesota State Fair, state employees are promoting a health-insurance marketplace called MNsure by handing out fans imprinted with pictures of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

The legendary lumberjack and his sidekick are just part of a pitch—including a humorous reference to the state as the "land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance"—that seeks to sidestep references to "Obamacare" or the long-raging national debate over the Affordable Care Act and instead promote the marketplace as a home-grown creation.

Minnesota, along with thirteen other states and Washington, D.C. that are fully running their own health-insurance marketplaces, is marketing this way because it believes it will draw customers, even if it doesn't change popular impressions of Obamacare, the health overhaul designed to provide coverage to those who don't have it from their employer or elsewhere.

"We have to grab people's attention," said April Todd-Malmlov, MNsure's executive director. She said she told the ad agency designing the marketplace's ads to come up with something "out of the ordinary" and humorous.

The result is a $9 million marketing and outreach campaign including billboards and television ads that are set to run statewide starting next week. They show Paul Bunyan involved in Minnesota-style activities—clearing snow off a roof or water-skiing on a lake—and getting into accidents that would lead to expensive health care.

With enrollment set to begin Oct. 1 for plans that take effect in January, marketing by the 14 states is kicking into higher gear. Vermont said Thursday that it would introduce television and radio ads next week touting the local exchange, Vermont Health Connect, as being "For Vermonters, By Vermonters." In Oregon, television and radio ads feature local musicians singing songs including "Long Live Oregonians" to sell the state's Cover Oregon website.” - Obamacare, but by Any Other Name,, 08/30/2013

Observation: One of the argument points regarding private insurers in regards to the need for ACA was: that private insurers spend advertising money to attract customers [dissemination of information] and that money should be redirected to either lower prices for insurance and/or more essential first dollar benefits.

Consequentially, those advocating ACA created central planning rules which set a percentage of insurer revenue that must be spent on benefits or else a refund must come to consumers. That is, advertising expenditure of the insurer have been limited within the total central planner’s percentage rule.

Meanwhile back at the state as well as federal exchanges, advertising, with funny little ad lines and characters, seem oddly familiar, huh? The fact that such expenditure is not directed to health insurance price or more essential first dollar benefits is perfectly fine, if it is done by advocates of exchanges.

Same advertising dollar argument holds, yet two different argument outcomes. Funny how that works.

Link to the entire article, Obamacare, but by Any Other Name, appears in the link below:

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