ACA: Surge in TV Ads Linked to Drop in Uninsured Rates

HealthDay News — The volume of insurance advertisements during the first Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment period correlated with change in uninsurance rates, with a higher volume of television advertisements linked to declines in uninsurance, according to a study published online in Health Affairs.

Pinar Karaca-Mandic, PhD, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues examined the correlations between insurance advertisements and county-level health insurance changes between 2013 and 2014. Analyses were adjusted for other media and county- and state-level characteristics.

The researchers found that there were larger reductions in uninsurance rates for counties exposed to higher volumes of local insurance advertisements during the first open enrollment period. The strongest correlation was seen between state-sponsored advertisements and declines in uninsurance; this correlation was driven by increases in Medicaid enrollment.

“These results support the importance of strategic investment in advertising to increase uptake of health insurance but suggest that not all types of advertisements will have the same effect on the public,” the authors write.

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Karaca-Mandic P, Wilcock A, Baum L, et al. The volume of TV advertisements during the ACA’s first enrollment period was associated with increased insurance coverage [published online March 15, 2017]. Health Affairs. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1440