LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A $24 million marketing and outreach blitz under way in Arkansas is supposed to train hundreds of workers about how to sign up residents for the state’s Patient Protection and Affordabe Care Act (PPACA) exchanges and pay for ads at hundreds of gas pumps.
State insurance officials are trying to reach the roughly 500,000 people who are expected to sign up for insurance through the exchange by the time open enrollment begins Oct. 1.
“It’s a pretty robust effort,” said Cynthia Crone, who leads the Insurance Department’s Health Benefits Exchange Partnership division. “When we’ve got 500,000 of our less than 3 million people who are uninsured, we need to reach a lot of people.”
The biggest part of that effort will be the guides who will help the uninsured connect with the exchange. Arkansas has received more than $16.2 million from the federal government to contract with various organizations around the state that will employ the guides.
In addition to the guides, Arkansas officials are using federal funds to blanket the state with advertisements about the new exchange. Arkansas awarded a nearly $4.3 million contract for marketing the insurance exchange to Mangan Holcomb Partners earlier this year.
The contract calls for purchasing $2.6 million in advertising to promote the new exchange. Beyond television, radio and print, the contract also calls for placing gas pump advertising at 100 stations around Arkansas and placing 150 billboards promoting the exchange. The company also detailed plans to purchase advertising on Pandora online radio and to use social media.