Colorado is bringing health care reform to a TV ad near you.
With over 40 percent of Americans still unsure whether or not Obamacare is even the law of the land, and an open enrollment period for its statewide insurance exchanges that begins in less than five months, Colorado is pumping $2 million into an outreach effort aimed at preparing consumers for upcoming changes under the health law. This makes Colorado the first state to mount an aggressive push to raise awareness of one of Obamacare’s most important provisions for uninsured individuals and small businesses — although Oregon and Kentuckyaren’t far behind with their own PR campaigns planned for next month.
Colorado is unveiling a state-run website to give residents more detailed information about Obamacare, and help them figure out whether they will qualify for federally subsidized individual or small business coverage once Colorado’s insurance marketplace opens up in October. For the next two months, the state will also run television spots and print, radio, and billboard ads highlighting the insurance marketplaces, where insurers must compete to offer Americans health coverage:
But not everybody agrees that now is the proper time to begin the outreach efforts. Some federal officials worry that such education campaigns may be premature, and end up confusing consumers by advertising a product that doesn’t even exist yet. “Our research has shown if you go too early, you don’t have anything to offer, and people lose interest. It will be intense, but the timing is important,” Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner explained to the Washington Post.
On the other hand, state leaders argue that the early outreach is necessary because there’s so much confusion — and general lack of information — surrounding Obamacare. “We needed to get a wider awareness of our organization in a short amount of time to help prepare people for the changes that will be taking place,” said Myung Oak Kim, the communications and outreach director for Colorado’s health exchange. Colorado also plans to run more detailed ads closer to October’s enrollment period.