Research shows that the people most likely to benefit from health insurance marketplaces are theleast likely to know about them. To increase public awareness of the marketplaces, the federal government and some states have launched marketing and advertising campaigns for federally facilitated and state partnership marketplaces (FFM and SPM).
With approval from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, states may conduct activities (and use federal funding) to promote the FFM/SPM, including mass media campaigns and state-branded consumer assistance websites.
In Arkansas, a state partnership marketplace, the state’s advertising campaign, branded “Get in,” includes a broad media approach. The state is using television and radio advertisements, grassroots level print media in over 120 small town newspapers and billboard covers on high-traffic roads. Early television advertisements that ran in the lead-up to the open enrollment period used a “Get informed” message as the first step in the “Get in” campaign.
To continue to reach consumers from a wide range of demographic groups and geographic areas the state has:
- Used popular social media and online services like Facebook, Hulu and YouTube
- Produced bus wraps with the “Get in” message for consumers in urban areas
- Planned advertising at venues such as the Arkansas State Fair, local festivals, and events like the “Race for the Cure”
Finally, Arkansas developed a tailored look and branding for its federal marketplace portal. Based on consumer focus group feedback, the state chose the tagline: “Arkansas Health Connector, Your Guide to Health Insurance.” The Arkansas Health Connector links to the federal marketplace portal, and provides consumers with additional information and links to personalized enrollment assistance options in Arkansas.
In other states with federal marketplaces, state insurance departments and insurance commissions have developed websites for consumers, with general information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more details about how to access health insurance coverage available through the federal marketplace.
- Kansas – The state insurance department developed a website that offers a number of helpful consumer tools, (https://www.insureks.org), with the tagline: “get the facts. get informed. get insured.” The website links to the federal marketplace portal for Kansas, and includes information about insurance rates and plans. Visitors can search a database for in-person assistance by geographic area and can use an online calculator to estimate their monthly premium payments and available tax credits in the marketplace. Through aninteractive tutorial, narrated by an animated character called “Alex” and available in both English and Spanish, website visitors can learn about health care changes under the ACA tailored to their individual circumstances. The website also embeds the state insurance department’s Twitter page, providing real-time updates.
- Montana – The state insurance commission developed an ACA-focused website, (montanahealthanswers.com). The website includes general information about the marketplace, insurance benefits, Medicare and Medicaid and a list of contacts for severalkinds of in-person assisters. The website also has sections directed to employers and specific populations such as tribal members, farmers and ranchers. Visitors can submit questions to the insurance commission and receive answers within five business days. The website also provides a list of upcoming public informational meetings led by the state’s Commissioner of Insurance and Securities.
- South Carolina – The state insurance department has expanded their website, (https://www.doi.sc.gov) to include sections on the ACA and the federal marketplace in South Carolina. Website visitors can access information targeted to small businesses, learn aboutkey provisions of the law that take effect immediately and link to webinars, slide decks and brochures (in English and Spanish) that support consumers’ understanding of the ACA and the FFM. The website also includes a summary chart of approved qualified health plans by metal level, in the individual and small group market, that will be available as of January 1, 2014.
What is your state doing to get information to consumers about the federal marketplace? Let us know in a comment below, or in our federal marketplace discussion.