Blitz: Insurance companies ratcheting up their ObamaCare promotional spending into 2014

posted at 1:01 pm on December 16, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Despite the many glitches, hitches, mistakes, and malfunctions still plaguing the rollout of President Obama’s crowning legislative achievement, the fact of the matter is that millions of Americans — whether they were individually insured and kicked off of their current plans, or dropped by their employers, or were simply uninsured beforehand — are at some point going to have to use the healthcare exchanges to purchase insurance plans, or else pay the penalty imposed upon them by the individual mandate. That means that there are millions of potential insurance customers ready for the taking, and insurers are beginning to ramp up their efforts to scoop them up. The WSJ reports that the advertising wars between insurers are only just beginning, with companies on target to cumulatively spend twice as much in 2014 as they did in all of 2012:

Insurers such as WellPoint are capitalizing on an unprecedented opportunity in a shifting health-care market. Some seven million Americans are expected to buy health coverage on the new consumer exchanges, where people can compare insurance plans side by side. …

The coming blitz of insurance ads will be a step up from an already heated-up marketing push. Health insurers, state-run exchanges and the federal government spent $194 million on ad buys with local TV stations between Oct. 1 and Nov. 10, according to Kantar Media, which tracks insurance advertising. That isn’t far below the $216 million spent by insurers in all of 2012, according to an analysis of the Kantar Media data done by TVB, a trade association for local commercial broadcasters.

The enrollment surge has compelled some insurers to snap up TV ad time, said Scott Roskowski, director of business development at TVB. “It’s already very noticeable that the December pace has begun to pick up” with insurer advertising, Mr. Roskowski said.

TVB projects that insurers will spend about $500 million on ads on local TV stations in 2014.

Insurance companies have largely been holding off on running through their ad budgets during these past couple months of logistical disaster, but with the federal exchange site eking out painstaking improvements and the initial deadline for coverage coming in hot on December 23rd, they’re starting to get the promotional campaigns going again. The target of many of these incoming advertisements will, of course, be young people — those oh-so-coveted healthier, less pricey participants who will help to balance out the heightened costs of the new, riskier insurance pools. Should be fun, right?


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As long as it’s a well-advertised crap sandwich…

trigon on December 16, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Hot news

Schadenfreude on December 16, 2013 at 1:08 PM

with companies on target to cumulatively spend twice as much in 2014 as they did in all of 2012

Is that a typo? I didn’t see much advertising in 2012 back when we were told that this was going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread pre-October 1, 2013.

blammm on December 16, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Can’t wait to see the return on that “investment.”

Fools and their Money.

Can almost guarantee it’ll be one time betting on the stupidity of the young doesn’t pay off.

questionmark on December 16, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Great. Now I won’t even be able to watch a mindless TV show or sportsball game without getting pissed off.

forest on December 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM

“So c’mon kids, get offa dad’s policy and sign up for the ACA today! Only $550 a month and a $9,000 deductible.”

Akzed on December 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM

The insurance cannot raise their rates enough to cover all the losses they will incur in 2014…..

Watch them abandon ObamaCare in 2015 and support Ted Cruz in an all out blitz to rid the land of ObamaCare…..

Ted is working behind the scenes and building a coalition that will crush the democrats and the left.

They will not know what hit them and they see the democratic party as a smoking hulk after the 2016 elections.

redguy on December 16, 2013 at 1:16 PM

…millions of Americans…are at some point going to have to use the healthcare exchanges to purchase insurance plans, or else pay the penalty…

Using the healthcare exchanges IS the penalty.

All kidding aside, paying the penalty will prove less injurious than using the exchanges. By eschewing the exchanges, you protect your personal data from identity thieves (those not working for the government).

The financial consequences of the penalty are almost surely going to be minimal compared to that of enabling pillagers to take over your bank accounts, credit cards and more.

FlameWarrior on December 16, 2013 at 1:19 PM

MNCare ads are everywhere here, you can’t take 5 steps without seeing or hearing one. The takeaway from every one of them: Remember, it’s the law.

Bishop on December 16, 2013 at 1:20 PM

It’s not a good idea, it’s the law.

Little Boomer on December 16, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Somewhere in there is a very large pile of money for insurance companies to cut their own throats and destroy their own country.

Count on it.

clippermiami on December 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM

the fact of the matter is that millions of Americans … are at some point going to have to use the healthcare exchanges to purchase insurance plans, or else pay the penalty imposed upon them by the individual mandate.

Actually, Erika, this is incorrect.

Nobody is REQUIRED to use the healthcare exchanges to buy insurance. You can simply go straight to the HMO and buy insruance directly through them if you ant to, completely bypassing any government involvement.

The only reason anyone would use the exchanges rather than buying insurance directly would be to purposely and intentionally sign yourself up for welfare, which in now euphemized as “getting a subsidy.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that ObamaCare is nothing more than a scheme to break down people’s pride and resistance to getting on the welfare rolls. This is in fact a long-term goal of progressivism — to make government handouts “the new normal” and to remove any stigma or shame associated with being on the dole.

In days of yore, many poor families maintained a sense of pride and independence and refused to accept welfare as a matter of principle.

Over the decades, with relentless grinding insistence, the institutional progressive left has eroded that sense of pride and independence as a matter of policy, to pave the way for everyone being comfortable as a cog in the government machinery.

Obamacare is their boldest move ever: Kick as many people as possible out of the health care insurance, then ensure then prices get jacked up, and then offer a “solution”: We’ll get your welfare to pay for the difference. The end result is that everyone’s back on insurance, with one new feature: Now many more people are on the government welfare rolls, and many more Americans are morally compromised as “takers,” and thus feel they have no right to complain about or resist government enlargement and eventual takeover of our entire lives.

Diabolical in the extreme.

I for one would REFUSE to get a subsidy on principle. Fuck Obama and fuck ObamaCare and Fuck Progressivism. I will maintain my dignity and independence even if it bankrupts me.

Zombie on December 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM

the fact of the matter is that millions of Americans … are at some point going to have to use the healthcare exchanges to purchase insurance plans, or else pay the penalty imposed upon them by the individual mandate.

Actually, Erika, this is incorrect.

Nobody is REQUIRED to use the healthcare exchanges to buy insurance. You can simply go straight to the HMO and buy insruance directly through them if you ant to, completely bypassing any government involvement.

The only reason anyone would use the exchanges rather than buying insurance directly would be to purposely and intentionally sign yourself up for welfare, which in now euphemized as “getting a subsidy.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that ObamaCare is nothing more than a scheme to break down people’s pride and resistance to getting on the welfare rolls. This is in fact a long-term goal of progressivism — to make government handouts “the new normal” and to remove any stigma or shame associated with being on the dole.

In days of yore, many poor families maintained a sense of pride and independence and refused to accept welfare as a matter of principle.

Over the decades, with relentless grinding insistence, the institutional progressive left has eroded that sense of pride and independence as a matter of policy, to pave the way for everyone being comfortable as a cog in the government machinery.

Obamacare is their boldest move ever: Kick as many people as possible out of the health care insurance, then ensure then prices get jacked up, and then offer a “solution”: We’ll get your welfare to pay for the difference. The end result is that everyone’s back on insurance, with one new feature: Now many more people are on the government welfare rolls, and many more Americans are morally compromised as “takers,” and thus feel they have no right to complain about or resist government enlargement and eventual takeover of our entire lives.

Diabolical in the extreme.

I for one would REFUSE to get a subsidy on principle. F*ck Obama and f*ck ObamaCare and f*ck Progressivism. I will maintain my dignity and independence even if it bankrupts me.

Zombie on December 16, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Ooops, double-post — sorry!!!

Delete second version, if necessary.

Zombie on December 16, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Why would a young person sign up for this rolling catastrophe when they can stand on the sidelines and watch the show for a mere $95. If they sign up, they might just be forfeiting thousands of dollars for something that probably will end up being cancelled and repealed. Does anyone actually think that their premium money will be refunded. They can always sign up later if they want to with no risk.

The insurance companies are spending their ad money because in the end, the government will be paying for it. The ad agencies see a big pot of government money and are probably urging the insurance companies to spend it. Ohh, sorry – that government money is actually taxpayer money. No problem since the taxpayers have money to burn.

stefano1 on December 16, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Expanded Medicaid’s fine print gives middle-age adults big jolt

As thousands of state residents enroll in Washington’s expanded Medicaid program, many will be surprised at fine print: After you’re dead, your estate can be billed for ordinary health-care expenses. State officials are scrambling to change the rule.

Schadenfreude on December 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM

MNCare ads are everywhere here, you can’t take 5 steps without seeing or hearing one. The takeaway from every one of them: Remember, it’s the law.

Bishop on December 16, 2013 at 1:20 PM

You all must have a reputation for lawbreaking if that is necessary. No wonder MN loves the lawless president so much.

Happy Nomad on December 16, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Did this story come from the New York Times? I’m refusing to sign up and I’m telling everybody I know not to sign up. I don’t trust the bastards.

tmgrant on December 16, 2013 at 2:13 PM

here’s an actuarial figure for those clowns in the insurance mafia………. chance of getting one dime from me 0…zip…nada

roflmmfao

donabernathy on December 16, 2013 at 2:22 PM

So millions has to be spent to sell a superb, affordable, all encompassing product? Ok, thanks.

hillsoftx on December 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM

I for one would REFUSE to get a subsidy on principle. Fuck Obama and fuck ObamaCare and Fuck Progressivism. I will maintain my dignity and independence even if it bankrupts me.

Zombie on December 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM

This.

Western_Civ on December 16, 2013 at 2:39 PM

The end result is that everyone’s back on insurance, with one new feature: Now many more people are on the government welfare rolls, and many more Americans are morally compromised as “takers,” and thus feel they have no right to complain about or resist government enlargement and eventual takeover of our entire lives.

Zombie on December 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM

I dunno. I think there are plenty of people who will sign up and take the subsidy, but will still root and fight for the demise of Obamacare.

We have some commenters right here on HA who have stated that they are eligible for a subsidy and will take it, but it sounded to me like they just feel like they’ve been forced into a corner. Whether it be because monthly health insurance premiums have become, in some cases, the same size as monthly mortgage payments, or because of the need for extremely expensive medical treatment that could not be afforded without the insurance they used to have. Or both. These people didn’t sound like they were happy about needing/taking a subsidy in the least.
Is risking or going into financial ruin the best alternative and the only way to legitimately continue the fight?

lynncgb on December 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Well, obamacare is the best thing that has ever happened to insurance companies, although it is a very short-term prospect that will end in complete disaster for them, but, they have to find a way to spend their windfall profits. If people had a low opinion of insurance companies before, just wait until their 24/7 obamacare propaganda push begins.

Pork-Chop on December 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM