White House’s March Madness 2014-themed campaign shoots at boosting Obamacare enrollment

March 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

The White House has launched a March Madness 2014-themed campaign aimed at getting young adults to sign up for Obamacare, an effort that links President Barack Obama’s passion for basketball with the need to boost health insurance enrollment by March 31.

Visitors to “The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered” page on the whitehouse.gov website are invited by video to enroll for Affordable Care Act coverage by North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams and Geno Auriemma, Connecticut’s women’s basketball coach.

Guests then fill in their eight-game Obamacare bracket by choosing their favorite reasons to get covered. Game one, for example, pits “Women can’t be charged more than men” against “Because accidents happen.” The second game has “Birth control is free” up against “Insurance companies can’t discriminate.”

GIFs illustrate each choice and inject some humor into the voting. “Injuries can lead to huge medical bills,” for example, is portrayed by a sheaf of $100 bills being ignited with a cigarette lighter.

Votes get tallied through Twitter or Facebook, both of which ask the user to post a message about their selection.

According to Time, the bracket will be updated throughout the week to reflect the voting. President Obama’s popular NCAA men’s tournament bracket — it got 280,000 views in 2013 — will be added to the page on Wednesday.

Obama launched the effort Monday with an interview on Univision Radio’s Locura Deportiva, CNN reported.

The administration also will air ads featuring basketball stars LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning touting the health insurance program during NCAA tournament broadcasts on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBAtv.

Key administration players also are paying pivotal rolls roles in the campaign. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, for example, blogged early Tuesday about a study that explored the costs of common sport injuries and was scheduled to discuss the report later in the day in a conference call with Miami Heat star Shane Battier, The Hill said.

On the social media front, HHS, through Healthcare.gov’s Twitter and Facebook platforms, also will promote enrollment using posts including NCAA tournament graphics and promotions targeting basketball fans, CNN said. Sebelius, a former Kansas governor and a Kansas Jayhawks fan, is to tweet about the tournament’s action.

The effort is targeting the so-called “young invincibles,” young adults whose participation in the Obamacare insurance marketplaces are deemed essential. Only one-quarter of current enrollees are between 18 and 35, well under the administration’s goal, Time said.

The White House also could use an overall Obamacare enrollment boost. Officials announced last week that 4.2 million people had signed up through federal and state exchanges, far short of the original 7 million projection and the Congressional Budget Office’s revised 6 million estimate.

What do you think of the administration’s NCAA tournament-themed campaign? Please leave a comment below.


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