For payers, exchange success hinges on state promotion

Tools

Insurers' ability to sell policies to millions of new members through health insurance exchanges could hinge upon a factor outside of their control--states' recruitment of enough consumers to shop on and buy policies from the online marketplaces. 

Although exchanges are a focal point of the reform law, the general public is largely unaware of these new marketplaces, which will start enrolling consumers in October. If people don't know what an exchange even is, they certainly won't shop for a health plan through one, reported Politico.

That's why states that have chosen to operate their own exchange are working overtime on their marketing and advertisement campaigns. Some states are focusing on where to advertise, choosing public places like sporting events and college campuses. California, for example, plans to advertise its state-run exchange at soccer games and community colleges. It also contracted with marketing company Ogilvy Public Relations to pitch reform-related ideas to such TV shows as "Modern Family" and "Grey's Anatomy," FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Other states like Washington and Oregon are focusing on which consumer groups to reach out to, concentrating on uninsureds and young adults. "The uninsured population is an extremely difficult population to reach," Michael Marchand, director of communications for the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange, told Politico. "They're uninsured for a reason."

Washington officials are considering advertising its state exchange through traditional radio and TV commercials, as well as partnerships with soccer clubs, print ads on prescription drug bags and advertisements on Internet radio service Pandora.

Oregon, meanwhile, aims to reach out to its uninsured population, including residents who lack a high school diploma, work in highly uninsured industries, live in rural areas or are minorities. Officials there are considering advertising on coffee cup sleeves and in laundromats and grocery stores, Lisa Morawski, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange, told Politico.

To learn more:
- read the Politico article

Related Articles:
GOP: Health exchange grants fund 'propaganda'
HHS funds states' health insurance exchange efforts
An exchange by any other name is still an exchange
HHS spends $3M to market, promote federal exchanges