Good news, too many ads

I was at physical therapy this morning.   As I did my stretches and balancing exercises for my ankle, the local generic “alt” rock radio station was being piped through the speakers and Good Morning America was on the wall television.

On the rock station, I heard a “I got covered” ad, an ad from my company advertising its Exchange product.  I heard two other competitors advertise their on and off-Exchange products.  This radio station’s typical advertising rotation is a combination of bars, strip clubs, debt consolidation agencies, cash for gold and structured settlement companies.  The normal advertising mix assumes a fairly young, male and broke listening audience.  This is a prime demographic for the subsidized Exchanges.

On Good Morning America, I saw another ad, and three ads from two other insurance companies in the area.  One was the same company on the radio, and the other was the fourth private plan advertising.  The pitch for the last one was “You need to sign up by Dec. 23 for Jan.1 coverage and even if the government website is jacked up, we can help you at 1-800-555-5544”

Four  insurance companies are putting their money behind the relaunch with the advertising campaign is a tell that entities with real money to lose if they guess wrong are guessing that things are working right.

29 replies
  1. 1
    Violet says:

    That is good news. Wonder how the latest Koch brothers “Don’t Get Health Insurance” campaign targeted at college students is working out.

  2. 2
    hildebrand says:

    Awaiting right-wing heads exploding as they realize that the market is going to decide that the ACA is a good thing. I keep hoping that somebody like Mark Levin will spontaneously combust.

  3. 3
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @Violet: I have not seen a lot and my bus ride to work goes through a neighborhood with 40,000 college students so I should have seen something by now.

  4. 4
    Cervantes says:

    Meanwhile, Elliott Echols, National Youth Director for the RNC, opines:

    The White House is trying to woo young people as it scrambles to reboot the re-launch of the rebrand of ObamaCare. Millennials are seeing the negative impacts of ObamaCare, especially rising costs, and the White House wants a distraction. But this isn’t a seat at the table. It’s a seat at the kids’ table. The White House has shown little regard for the Millennial generation—and a photo op disguised as a ‘summit’ isn’t going to change that.

    Really, it’s offensive that the Democrats think they can make things right with a ‘social’ and some warmed-over talking points. I’d love to see the White House use this time to answer some important questions from people, like ‘Why are premiums doubling?’ and ‘Why can’t I keep my doctor?’ and ‘Why did you lie to us?’

  5. 5
    Mike E says:

    Our local BCBS monopoly is hitting the airways pretty hard, with TryBlueNC being one notable comparison site they’re touting. “You must sign up for health care, it’s the law!”

  6. 6
    geg6 says:

    I had a similar experience yesterday. I had an evening program at a local high school and had an hour or so between my regular work hours and when I had to leave to get to the high school, so I went home (I live only 3 miles from campus). I had the local news at five on and there were four separate ads for health insurance. One was for (which people in my state need desperately since Tom “One-Term” Corbett, of course, hasn’t cooperated on any of this), one was for Highmark’s exchange products, another for UPMC’s exchange products and another for an insurer I’ve never heard of and can’t remember. Then, on the way to the high school, I had the big regional rock station on and heard the radio versions of the same.

    It really struck me and I remembered that someone, I think it was Benen, had said that the real sign that the website is fine and that the ACA is going to be a huge success is when the advertising behemoth was unleashed by the insurance companies. I think I was witnessing the opening salvo.

  7. 7
    Comrade Mary says:

    @geg6: I just checked Benen (thanks again to whoever it was who provided us with the right link after MSNBC totally munged the site). He has this post from yesterday (with video) about Consumer Reports’ hearty endorsement of the site.

    They also mention there’s a new shopping function that works right on the front page. (The nice lady sounded so shocked.)

  8. 8
    Chyron HR says:


    Elliott Echols, National Youth Director for the RNC

    I’m guessing he’s, what, fowty-seven-anna-half years old?

  9. 9
    Belafon says:

    @Cervantes: And some additional question:

    What’s the answer on question 3?
    Boxers or briefs?
    XBox or PlayStation?

  10. 10
    Comrade Mary says:

    OMG, I just saw the MSNBC blog comments for the first time. They really, REALLY don’t know a single goddamn thing about user design, do they? What’s the point of all those extra clicks to read a comment thread that should be displayed automatically right under the post? It must be even more of an abomination on a phone.

  11. 11
    beth says:

    @Chyron HR: Actually he seems to be a young 23 year old going on cranky 92. Every single one of his tweets are either a poll showing how young people disapprove of Obama or how they all hate Obamacare or some other bitching about just what an awful President Obama is. There’s absolutely nothing to attract young people – just bitter whining about the black man in the White House. This is the best they can do for youth outreach?

  12. 12
    Cervantes says:

    @Chyron HR: 23ish.

  13. 13
    Cervantes says:

    @beth: This is the best they can do for youth outreach?

    Well, they weren’t exactly looking for outreach per se:

    “What we wanted was somebody who knows the College Republicans well and who also has experience, and Elliott fit perfectly into all those categories,” Mr. Williams said.

    From an NYT post a few weeks ago.

  14. 14
    Chyron HR says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    My mistake, 47.5 must be his average blood alcohol content.

  15. 15
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Richard Mayhew: They were supposed to be advertising on transit but the effort seems to have gotten behind schedule or maybe they’re waiting for the website to be fixed and navigators to be deployed.

  16. 16
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I was referring to the Koch brothers AFP anti-ads on the bus — I’ve seen a good amount of Exchange ads on the bus for the past 3 months from I have not been looking for private insurers ads yet.

  17. 17
    Bill in Section 147 says:

    @Chyron HR: I would have guessed .27 on the blood alcohol.

  18. 18
    qtip says:

    Advertising is great, but the website(s) still suck. I’ve been trying to browse plans on the DC site for a week without success…HTTP Internal Server Errors.

  19. 19
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @qtip: The DC site is not the site — it is a state based Exchange so DC developped it on its own.

    However since DC is tiny, you should be able to get face to face with a navigator if you need help fairly easily.

  20. 20
    Keith P says:

    Blah, COBRA headaches abound. I just got a call from my dialysis clinic…financial dept is having them pester me about my insurance. I’ve got 60 days to elect to receive COBRA and then 45 days after that to pay my first premium. I intend to use some of that time so that I don’t to drain my money reserves waiting on my first paycheck (this month). However, the clinic wanted to see my COBRA paperwork, so I gave them a copy last week. *Now* they’re asking why I haven’t paid the premium yet, since I know how much it will be. I’m trying real, REAL hard to answer without being a total dick about it, but it just pisses me off that I’ve got other people trying to dictate how I manage my (currently finite and dwindling) money. I’m trying to keep enough money for core bills, medications, food, and any kind of emergency that might pop up, but have had multiple people come out of the woodwork trying to get me to cough up $500 here, $1000 there….right now.

  21. 21
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Oh ha ha ha, more tunnel vision by privileged princes who think all the people that matter get convertibles on their 18th birthday. Now that is funneh.

  22. 22
    qtip says:

    @Richard Mayhew:

    Right, that’s why I specified the DC site. The DC site still sucks though and it is what I have to use.

  23. 23
    Shana says:

    @Richard Mayhew: I suspect most of them are either already on their parents’ plans (as mine is) or get their insurance through their school (as is offered at her school unless you opt out).

  24. 24
    Lee says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    They do that on purpose. Every click registers as a new page view so their page view count increases which looks better to their advertisers.

    That was one of the many reason I stopped reading Sully when he started pulling that crap.

  25. 25
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Lee: Really? UGH. Burn them all!

  26. 26
    different-church-lady says:

    At least they’re taking a better approach nationally than they did in Massachusetts, which was basically to intimidate and terrify everyone into applying instead of actually explaining how the law would help.

    That being said, I am now attempting to re-apply in MA (since my program was eliminated) and it would appear the MA website is currently fuckacated. Will retry in an hour, but I don’t need this shit, especially since I’m afraid I am about to confirm that my subsidy tier has been eliminated, thus shoving me directly off the “cliff”.

    In the end the real problem might be that nearly every website in the world has registration problems on a regular basis. That might be tolerable when you’re buying a toaster on-line, no so much when your health and thousands of dollars a year are riding on it. The only reason I’m not picking up the phone right now is that I’m a patient person who doesn’t like to tie up resources unless it’s absolutely necessary.

    But in the end it reminds me why I fired Verizon this past summer — the problem was local, and Verizon no longer has a single person within 500 miles of you that you can talk to. They expect you to do everything over their websites, or by phonecalls that go to overseas call centers. By contrast I can drop into my local RCN business office, sit down an talk to a human being and get my business taken care of. I’m sure the exchange phone centers will be good, but there’s an obvious push to get people to do things through the web, and quite frankly the web sucks for this kind of thing, even if you don’t have genuinely incompetent people building the sites.

  27. 27
    NCSteve says:

    Meanwhile, here in NC, the Koch Brothers are serving us this load of concern-trolling shit:

  28. 28

    Richard i am getting a lot of questionable information on bronze plan coverage, and will be posting those in your next thread.
    you can contact me at bfskwire AT gmail DOT com if need be.

  29. 29

    […] … then you might want to pay attention to where insurance companies are putting their money, as insurance executive Richard Mayhew points out: […]

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