Lt. Governor Brown and Maryland Health Connection Unveil Advertising and Outreach Campaign

Statewide initiative encourages Marylanders to explore health coverage options through new health insurance marketplace opening October 1

BALTIMORE (September 3, 2013) – Today Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Maryland Health Connection, the state-based health insurance marketplace operated by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, unveiled a multi-media advertising and outreach campaign designed to inform consumers statewide about the importance of health coverage, access to health plan choices and the financial assistance available when the marketplace opens in October for the enrollment period that ends March 31, 2014. The integrated communications and outreach campaign includes advertising, social media and partnership strategies developed to provide consumers with the information they require to shop, compare and select health insurance through Maryland Health Connection.

“In launching this advertising and outreach campaign for Maryland Health Connection, we’re going to ensure that Marylanders get the information they need in order to get access to the quality, affordable care they deserve,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “It’s a significant step forward as we continue to lead the way in implementing the Affordable Care Act, which is going to generate more than $3 billion in annual economic activity for our state, and cut the number of uninsured in half by 2020 throughout Maryland.”

The statewide advertising campaign includes television, radio, print advertising, out of-home and digital media. Marylanders will experience the Maryland Health Connection campaign in each region of the state beginning in September through the open enrollment period ending in March 2014. Central to the campaign is custom music that reinforces the key benefits of health coverage, including peace of mind, convenience, financial security and access to health care. The custom music has been produced in four musical genres: contemporary, Latin, country and urban.

“The launch of Maryland Health Connection’s advertising and outreach campaign is an important milestone as we move toward 2014 and the expanded access to health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Maryland residents,” said Joshua Sharfstein, M.D., Maryland Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, MHBE Board of Trustees Chairman.

“Maryland Health Connection’s campaign aims to connect with all Marylanders who are living without health insurance,” said Rebecca Pearce, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. “The campaign is an integral part of our efforts to inform and energize up to 800,000 uninsured Marylanders to learn about their about health insurance options starting this October.”

During the open enrollment period, Maryland Health Connection will partner with the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to connect with Maryland residents about the importance of developing a health coverage game plan. Research shows that 71 percent of the uninsured population in Maryland have watched, attended or listened to a Ravens game in the past 12 months. The partnership will provide Maryland Health Connection with the opportunity to reach and engage fans while making them aware of the new opportunity they have for health coverage beginning this fall through the health insurance marketplace.

Maryland Health Connection also announced today partnerships with Giant Food and CVS Pharmacy throughout the state to provide information for consumers about health insurance. Working with Giant Food, Maryland Health Connection will provide health coverage literature and announcements in Giant’s 100 stores as well community events. Likewise, Maryland Health Connection will distribute information in the 170 CVS locations statewide.

The campaign is based on 18 months of qualitative and quantitative research that included consumer and small business focus groups, quantitative consumer surveys, in-depth interviews with stakeholders, and local and national scans of consumer attitudes, perceptions and motivations regarding health insurance. Research was conducted among audiences statewide to reflect the diversity, demographics and geographic breadth of Maryland.

An estimated 14 percent of Maryland’s population of 5.8 million, or 800,000, are currently uninsured. The state-based insurance marketplace will provide access to financial assistance for individuals and families to reduce the cost of monthly insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles through Advance Premium Tax Credits and Cost Sharing Reductions. An estimated 180,000 individuals are expected to enroll in qualified health plans during the first year of Maryland Health Connection’s operation. Statewide, nearly 100,000 Marylanders are expected to enroll for Medicaid as a result of the expansion of Medicaid provided by the Affordable Care Act.  Individuals who enroll through Maryland Health Connection before Dec. 18 will have coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

Lt. Governor Brown leads the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s efforts to reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of care for all Marylanders. Under the leadership of Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has implemented reforms that have expanded health coverage to more than 391,000 Marylanders, half of whom are children, established Maryland’s health insurance marketplace, and put the State in position to maximize the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

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About Maryland Health Connection: Maryland Health Connection is the marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses to compare and enroll in health insurance, as well as determine eligibility for Medicaid and other assistance programs, federal tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. Enrollment through Maryland Health Connection is scheduled to begin in October 2013, with insurance coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014. An estimated 280,000 individuals are expected to enroll in qualified health plans (QHPs) and Medicaid during the first year. Additional information about Maryland Health Connection, the enrollment process and selecting coverage can be found atwww.MarylandHealthConnection.gov and on social media channels: Facebook,https://www.facebook.com/MarylandConnect; Twitter, https://twitter.com/marylandconnect and YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/marylandconnect

About Maryland Health Benefit Exchange: The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) is a public corporation and independent unit of the State government established in April 2011 in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA). The MHBE has a nine-member Board of Trustees that includes the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland Insurance Commissioner and Executive Director of the Maryland Health Care Commission. The MHBE is responsible for the administration of the Maryland Health Connection.www.MarylandHBE.com.

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