State Insurance Exchange Launches Ad Campaign

Sep 3, 2013

(l-r) Rebecca Pearce, Exec. Dir. of Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, and U. S. Rep. Elijah Cummings watch the new ads.
Credit Bret Jaspers / WYPR

State officials, including Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein, today unveiled the paid advertising campaign for the Maryland Health Connection, the state’s new online insurance marketplace. 

Broadcast ads will soon air on television and radio stations, and digital ads will appear on popular websites and social media channels. About $2.5 million total will be spent on advertising through the end of 2014.

Starting October 1st, uninsured individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid must buy insurance or face a penalty, as stipulated by the federal law commonly referred to as Obamacare. The state’s goal is to enroll about 180,000 uninsured individuals into new plans by March 31, when open enrollment closes. Another goal is to get 100,000 new people into an expanded Medicaid program. Currently about 800,000 Marylanders have no health insurance.

At today’s launch at the UMBC Technology Center campus in Catonsville, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange's Executive Director talked about a video conference between state exchange directors and President Obama. “The topic of our conversation was outreach," said Rebecca Pearce. "How are we informing them about the Affordable Care Act? How are we motivating them to take action and actually enroll come October 1?” The new ads depict a range of demographic groups and will air in both English and Spanish.

But informing potential enrollees has been a consistent challenge since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act. A Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from August found that 51 percent of Americans say they don’t have enough information on what Obamacare means for their families.