Come January 1, 2014, Obamacare's individual mandate will commence — requiring millions of uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance. With the open enrollment period for Obamacare beginning October 1, the federal government and state governments will have a narrow window of time in which to induce people to enroll. Furthermore, the government will be placed under considerable strain not solely because of the time crunch, but also because many of the uninsured are unaware of Obamacare's many guidelines and ordinances. In fact, a Gallup poll found that 43% of the uninsured were unaware that they will incur a fine if they don’t enroll in Obamacare before January 1.
That being the case, extensive marketing campaigns have already gotten underway. President Obama isn’t relying simply on any uniform poster or television commercial. Indeed, various state governments have used creative yet targeted campaigns and advertisements in order to educate the uninsured and get them covered.
1. Connecticut Advertises With Sunscreen
This past summer, many beachgoers in Connecticut garnered free sunscreen, courtesy of the state’s plan to market Obamacare. The sunscreen bottle had printed on it the logo of the state’s forthcoming Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace — a website where the uninsured can compare various health care prices and policies. The bottle also had on it a clever pun, reading “Get Covered.”
2. Minnesota Attracts With Paul Bunyan and Babe the Ox
Minnesota’s state government used Paul Bunyan and his Ox, Babe, to publicize the upcoming enrollment period and deadline. Advertisements displaying the two are running throughout Minnesota, playing to a quirk of regional culture. The creative director of BBDO, the advertising agency heading up Minnesota’s campaign to advertise its Obamacare marketplace (similar to Connecticut’s), said, “We liked Paul and Babe because everybody seems to recognize them. They were easy to work with. We were looking for what was unique to Minnesota.” The campaign’s motto? The Land of 10,000 Reasons to Get Health Insurance.
3. Maryland Markets Using Its Championship-Winning Team
In a country where Sunday football draws about as many viewers as the Obama's State of the Union Address, its no surprise that football is a popular medium through which to market. Maryland recently entered into a deal with the Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl XLVII champions, that will promote Obamacare and make its deadlines and policies known. Nevertheless, the agreement with the Ravens is worthwhile for another reason: Young men watch football. This demographic is, on average, one of the healthiest in the country. If young men sign up for the Obamacare exchanges, Maryland hopes, the result may be a lower premium for all involved.
4. California Lures in Parents
Parents and guardians with children who fall under the Los Angeles Unified School District can expect to receive a few Obamacare pamphlets this fall. The school district was given a one million dollar grant with which to educate its students on Obamacare. Evidently, the state presumes parents are more likely to take heed of what their kids have to say as opposed to a billboard or TV commercial. The goal is that the students will take home what they learned about the ACA and share it with their parents. If this campaign works, in time, it may be spread to other California school districts.
5. Oregon Tempts With Local Musicians
Focusing in on its hipster demographic, Oregon has broadcast television advertisements starring local musicians singing about the state's ACA marketplace. By concentrating on the state’s multitude of young urban dwellers, the state hopes to inspire healthy people to sign up for the exchanges. Much the same as Maryland, Oregon needs young people to enroll because they will allow the premium to fall.
On a final note, one other innovative campaign to advertise Obamacare is also being considered. Washington state is mulling over whether or not sponsoring portable toilets at concerts will help them reach a larger market. Each porta-potty would be branded to publicize ObamaCare and Washington’s upcoming marketplace. Creative? Yes. Weird? That, too.