The challenge, of course, is that the exchanges won’t work unless people—including younger, healthier people—sign up in these new marketplaces. And people won’t sign up if they don’t know what an exchange is, how to find one or whether they are eligible. And after all the political fighting about Obamacare, there’s a lot of confusion out there — and not a lot of time to educate the public before enrollment starts in October. Coverage starts in January 2014. [...]A difficulty in reaching this population of uninsured is that many are the working poor who might not be actually poor enough to be looped into state assistance programs, and therefore not easy to reach. The challenges are greater for conservative states where politicians have been trashing Obamacare for years and now have to explain that there actually will be some benefit to state residents.
“The uninsured population is an extremely difficult population to reach,” said Michael Marchand, director of communications for the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange. “They’re uninsured for a reason. How much will it actually take to get people both understanding the value [of the exchange] … as well as taking action to enroll?” [...]
Among the nonconventional ideas they’re floating: partnering with local soccer clubs, printing ads on prescription drug bags and advertising on Pandora. But they’re also planning on investing heavily in more traditional radio and television advertising, particularly for the Hispanic population.
In some of these states, the success of the program might be boosted by a national effort. The federal government will be taking on the task of informing residents that exchanges are coming in the states that have refused to set up their own, but should probably extend that effort into states, like Idaho, where the exchanges are being set up by reluctant governors. There's no reason not to believe that some of these governors or legislatures wouldn't be inclined to sabotage the program they hate so much by doing a half-assed job of implementing it and advertising it.