Public exchange managers are making huge technology updates, have not said much about how the updates are going, and will have only about half as much time to reach their customers.

Officials at the Iowa Insurance Division talk about the time pressure exchange marketers will face in a set of blunt answers to exchange marketing contract bidders’ questions.

Iowa has an exchange run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS set the 2015 exchange open enrollment period to start Nov. 15 and end Feb. 15, 2015. For 2014, HHS extended the real deadline for most users by about two weeks. Most states with state-based exchanges also extended their enrollment periods.

If HHS makes the current schedule stick, the 2014-2015 marketing campaign will be only about half as long as the 2013-2014 campaign was, officials say. The winning Iowa marketing campaign contractor “must be able to begin performing the terms of the contract with alacrity,” officials say.

Last year’s exchange marketing campaign reached 192,000 people, but division officials were not happy with their webinars. Officials want the 2014-2015 campaign to reach more people, and they want the contract winner to figure out, on its own, how to do better webinars. 

Iowa officials also want to shift the focus to employers, from individual consumers.

The Internal Revenue Service has just started explaining what employers should do, and that information is not necessarily easy to understand, officials say. Officials want the winning marketing contractor to explain how it’s going to get employers with two to 150 employees into conferences designed to keep them out of trouble.

The bidder also has to schedule any public meetings for consumers “as early as possible,” to reduce the likelihood that division employees will have to drive around during Iowa blizzards.

See also: HHS 2015 exchange agent deadline nears