What Is Your Affordable Care Act Marketing Plan?

February 21, 2013: Brian Bierbaum, Senior Vice President of Client Solutions

No matter what industry you’re in, you are probably feeling a bit burned out from years of healthcare reform debates, media speculation and your own organization’s planning. But how do people feel in the communities your organization serves? How aware is your audience of the changes and how they will affect them most directly? What will you do (or what have you already done) to create a plan around marketing the impending changes in coverage?

Exchanges will be opening in many states this fall, offering individuals and families a choice of private health plans with the lofty goal of providing quality coverage for millions of uninsured people in the U.S. According to Enroll America Executive Director Rachel Klien, quoted in a recent Associated Press article, “The people who stand to benefit the most are the least aware of the changes that are coming.” Klien added that her biggest fear is that “we get to Oct. 1, and people haven’t heard there is help coming, and they won’t benefit from it as soon as they can.”

Enroll America, a nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that all Americans are enrolled in and retain health coverage, is just one of many organizations trying to generate consumer enthusiasm about the Affordable Care Act. As a healthcare or other marketing professional, are you helping to educate communities and position yourself as a thought leader? Or are you missing out on a golden opportunity?

National, regional and even local payors are not sitting in a necessarily ideal position, but many are attempting to educate nonetheless. According to one leader with a national payor, “consumers are expecting their health insurance provider to be a helpful navigator for them,” adding that they “see 2013 as a huge year for education.”

Part of that education will come as providers consider working with other affected industries, such as tax preparers. H&R Block is boldly leading the charge by offering its customers a health insurance checkup at no additional charge this tax season. Tax returns filed this year for 2012 will be used by the government to help determine premium subsides for 2014, heightening focus on this year’s tax season.

In fact, Meg Sutton, senior advisor for tax and healthcare at H&R Block, says “this tax season is one of historical significance” and the tax return consumers are filing will be key to determining the exchange’s benefits to individual recipients.

Whether you are a payor, hospital, clinic or even a financial institution, you are sitting on an opportunity to become a thought leader to your audience and possibly change the lives of real people in your community. Don't miss it. (Check out the Google ad below from financial behemoth Bank of America targeting business owners who will be affected by reform).

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