CHICAGO (AP) — Some of the largest ad agencies and public relations firms in the nation are competing for a multimillion-dollar contract with the state of Illinois to promote a feature of the national health overhaul law.
Illinois officials began evaluating bids from 13 companies Wednesday for the marketing of the new health insurance exchange. Potential bidders were told during the bidding process the budget could reach $30 million to $35 million, said Mike Claffey, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
The money for the campaign comes from a $115 million federal grant. Quinn’s office announced Monday that $28 million of that total will be available for competitive grants to community organizations that want to help with the outreach.
Familiar names among the bidders for the advertising and marketing contract include J. Walter Thompson, Fleishman-Hillard, Golin Harris and CMGRP, which does business as Weber Shandwick.
Other bidders are CBD Marketing, PACO Communications, Commonground, Finn Partners, MACHETE Inc., Jayne Agency, E3 Group, Carol H. Williams Advertising and Metropolitan Group.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. New insurance marketplaces are scheduled to be operating in every state by Oct. 1. People who are uninsured will be able to comparison-shop for affordable health plans on these websites and many will qualify for tax credits to help them pay for coverage.
It’s important for Illinois to get as many uninsured residents as possible — both healthy people and those with expensive medical conditions — to enroll in health plans through the marketplace. A balance of sick and healthy people will make sure there is enough premium revenue to cover the medical bills that insurance carriers will cover.