These Are Obamacare's Top Promoters

The clock continues to tick down toward Oct. 1, when enrollment opens in state-run health exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

As we examined three weeks ago, there are a lot of factors yet to tackle to ensure that health-insurance enrollment for individuals runs smoothly. One gigantic hurdle in that equation is in ensuring that all of the cloud-based technology is properly in place and capable of accessing multiple government divisions such as Social Security, Medicaid, and the IRS, all at once. Since the passing of the PPACA, also known as Obamacare, in 2010 through the end of March 2013, the Government Accountability Office reported $394 million in contract expenses just to meet the huge technological needs of the state-run exchanges.

However, there's another side to the equation of getting America ready for open enrollment under Obamacare: the educational aspects.

Obamacare's top promoter
It's not enough for Obamacare to merely get the health exchanges ready for a large influx of new enrollee's if no one understands what Obamacare is, how each plan will benefit them, and how to physically get insurance. That's where the following big promoters come in for Obamacare.

As you might imagine, the states themselves will deliver a good chunk of information to the public; however, not all states should be counted on to do so. Although the money being used to educate the public about, and raise awareness for, Obamacare is federal money, not all state governors support the bill. To that end, while there will be health exchanges offered in all 50 states, only 16 states have chosen to operate their own health exchange. It's these 16 states that are likely to be its biggest promoters.

There will obviously be a heavy advertising blitz on television, in print, and online as we get much closer to the Oct. 1 deadline for the opening of the health exchanges (likely within 15 days or less of Oct. 1), but according to The Washington Post, some states have other creative ideas in mind to create awareness of the bill.

Some of the ideas have been genius, like Oregon's plan to use local musicians to explain the benefits of enrollment in television and radio ads. Oregon is also planning to place advertisements on branded coffee cups and in bus shelters in order to spread awareness.

Other ideas have bordered a bit on the "you've got to be kidding" side of the equation. My home state of Washington is actually considering the idea of plastering educational Obamacare information on the sides of portable toilets at concerts. Not to be outdone, Connecticut is spending some of its resources on banners to be flown over state beaches by plane. Like I said, some ideas are better than others, but they're all working toward the same goal of increasing awareness and education.

Additional promoters will also play a large role
In addition to the states themselves, our nation's youth and certain companies are expected to step up in a big way to help get people enrolled in their respective states' health exchange.

Understanding that parents are more likely to listen to their own children than pay attention to a panel on the side of a bus, California authorized spending nearly $1 million of its $37 million federal grant on educating children in the Los Angeles Unified School District about Obamacare. The hope is that these children will take what they've learned about Obamacare home with them and share that knowledge with their parents. It's actually an incredibly smart idea if you think about it, and it has the potential to spread to other school districts around the country.

One company that's put a lot on the line with regard to the implementation of Obamacare is WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) , which purchased AMERIGROUP last year to become the nation's largest insurer of people on Medicaid. Under the proposed expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, 16 million people will be newly eligible for some form of government health care subsidy, and WellPoint is looking for a big chunk of that pie.

First, WellPoint, the operator of Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans, announced a partnership with the largest Spanish-language network in the U.S., Univision, in late June to explain the benefits of Obamacare to Hispanics in California, New York, Colorado, and Georgia. The partnership will feature radio and TV ads, an online insurance center, news media broadcasts, and 70 town halls meetings devoted at raising awareness of the bill within the Hispanic community .

WellPoint wasn't done, though. Just last week it announced a strategic partnership with drugstore Walgreen (NYSE: WAG  ) who I'm certain would love to get a big helping of the numerous new prescriptions that are likely to be filled. As my Foolish colleague Keith Speights explains, Walgreen will be handing out brochures as its stores explaining how Obamacare works and where to get insurance, but the two will be collaborating on a website, LearnAboutReform.com, which will act as a one-stop information trough on Obamacare .

Keep in mind, though, that WellPoint isn't the only insurer that's angling for these Medicaid members. CIGNA (NYSE: CI  ) paid a hefty sum of $3.8 billion to buy Healthspring in 2011 and Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) is purchasing Coventry Health Care (UNKNOWN: CVH.DL2  ) for $5.7 billion all with the intent of garnering the guaranteed money associated with Medicaid. Don't be surprised if these insurers form alliances as well to promote Obamacare in order to serve their own interests in gaining new members.

Source: Paul Keleher, commons.wikimedia.org.

But not everyone's on board
As you might have already suspected, not everyone is on board with Obamacare. Regulators reached out for support from the National Football League in the hope that it, being the most watched sport in the country, would help promote Obamacare to the American public. However, after some thinking the NFL punted the idea back to regulators following concerns about the negative publicity it could bring the league. Don't forget, public opinion of the PPACA is near an all-time low, and the NFL is unlikely to jeopardize its position as America's most-watched sport by getting tied up in a highly politicized bill like Obamacare.

A big hurdle to clear
It's probably going to be a few more weeks before the dust settles and we've got a better idea of which companies aside from WellPoint and Walgreen will be pounding the table on Obamacare. What I can say with some degree of certainty is I'm personally concerned that the government and businesses reliant on health care insurance aren't leaving themselves enough time to properly inform the public on how to use the new exchanges. Obamacare will remain a hot-button topic moving forward, but if the educational aspects aren't there on Oct. 1, the bill could be in for a bumpy ride.

Are you still in the dark about how Obamacare might affect you and your portfolio? Don't worry -- you're not alone. To help prepare investors for the massive changes coming to the American health care system, The Motley Fool created a special free report that makes this complex topic easily understandable. Download "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare" and discover how the law may impact your taxes, health insurance, and investments. Click here for your free copy today.


Read/Post Comments (22) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 5:51 PM, JePonce wrote:

    There is no such thing as "Federal Money." It is taxpayer's money until the Feds confiscate it.

    The whole thing is a circle jerk.

    The centralized Obamacare data base will include the mega data files from the NSA, the FBI, the IRS, images from local law enforcement's 30 million mobile and stationary cameras, plus all of your personal medical records.

    Why do you think they bought 1.6 billion rounds of hollow point ammunition, and 2,712 Navastar street sweeper tanks. If you object, they can put you down.

    Screw the 4th Amendment, Obama owns you.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 6:24 PM, jrosiak2 wrote:

    Writing about Obamacare is more political than financial. Unless your intent is to give the right wingers a forum it would be good for you to get back to investing.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 6:39 PM, truth824 wrote:

    Educating the public eh? There has been nothing but obfuscation from Obama and his minions. The union stooges are starting to figure it out and so will the other drones. This debacle will fall flat on it's face and history will record this sham and its con artist promoters!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:26 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    some people have crazy idea that subsidizing something is gonna make something affordable , however this notion is plain foolish !

    First off all government subsidies are not free money , it is tax money or - in the case of the US right now - borrowed money which at some point in time has to be paid back !

    so subsidizing anything is a bad idea especially in the long run

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:32 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    The really big oops moment hasn't even hit yet , it will come when millions of people who have insurance now are going to cancel their insurance come 2014 and rather pay the fine !

    Right now millions of people mostly self employed have their own health insurance simply because in the old system they simply could not afford not to have it , this is especially true for people that are over 40 and have pre existing conditions !

    Now the game has changed , thanks to the ACA there are no more waiting periods, exclusions or higher premiums just because you are sick or have a condition , to be blunt now you CAN afford not to have insurance and pay the (cheaper) fine !

    After all should you get sick you can always sign up !

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:38 PM, slanciano wrote:

    Trust Obozo to spread your wealth around. Come on folks cut loose of some of that cash you got buried in the backyard.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:39 PM, jimmy1vilaine wrote:

    We can't have these poor workers with Healthcare, they might demand better wages.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:44 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    A friend of mine had insurance through his employer for years with the employer covering all of the premium for the employee !

    This year he lost his job and with it his insurance , his first concern was his prescriptions as well as the doctors visits so he considered a high deductible plan !

    He talked to the pharmacist and was surprised to find that he actually was able to get his prescription filled for $6 when actually on his old insurance he had to pay $25 for generic , he went to his physician he found out that a office visit for a uninsured patient was only $50 so he did the math and figured pretty quick that he didn't need no insurance ! now do you really think he is going to sign up next year ? right now he is 55 and suffers from depression , to cover him under the cheapest plan he still has to pay about 3 times the fine is going to be !

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:55 PM, GETRICHSLOW2 wrote:

    No corporation wants to be the first to drop health insurance for it's employees under idiotcare due to the resulting PR nightmare that will descend upon them. But just wait until one does and once the stink blows over there will be an avalanche of followers.

    This legislation will be a total disaster for America!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:09 PM, Chiara2 wrote:

    Socialist medicine is corruption on steroids!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:12 PM, ridgecrust wrote:

    "Educating the public" ? call it what it is-brainwashing, indoctrinating, or better yet re-education.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:45 PM, Dadw5boys wrote:

    The Insurance Companys and all their supporters have been working overtime to keep the Public from understanding all the damage that over 30 years of HMO Control of Medical Care has done. Things like Medical Groups using the Elderly as ATM's billing Medicare by calling them in for blood and urine test 3 and 4 times a year.

    Giving anyone who walking in the door the bum rush take this pill and go away but come back for another pill if that one does not work.

    Health Care replaced Medical Care ! Just helping you live with your illness is cheaper than fixing the illness if and until you get to an ER where Real Medical Care can be found.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 9:02 PM, ferdiefor wrote:

    Paying money to educate children about ObamaCare? Hitler also paid children to do things for him like spy on their parents if they started to do something against the 3rd Reich. If parents don't sign up will Obama want the children to turn in their parents?

    There is a lot of stuff going on in this country today that is outrageous. Obama has violated the constitution by suspending the employer mandate which means he has stopped the collection of a future tax. That is the congress's role; not the executive branch. When the supremes said the penalty was a tax then Obama has no right to stop the methodology to collect that tax. Obama should be told by congress you must submit legislation asking congress to put off the employer mandate...... instead these republicans would rather play politics instead of demanding Obama follow the constitution. After all, Obama has included in his revenue projections amounts of the penalty tax to be collected from employers.....

    We are watching a president turn the entire constitution of this country on its head and the liberal media is going right along with it because they prefer socialism and no rights for the people over a free society and capitalism.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 9:07 PM, doco177 wrote:

    1. Millions are losing the insurance Obama promised they could keep. Because ObamaCare forces employers to offer expensive Cadillac plans but also offers the option of paying a fine for not providing health insurance that can be cheaper than providing it, between seven and twenty million Americans are likely to lose their health insurance coverage according to the Congressional Budget Office. The original estimate was closer to four million.

    2. The cost of healthcare premiums is about to further skyrocket. Premium costs have already exploded, but that is a slow-motion explosion. In the near future, we could see costs double or worse. Naturally, these costs will hit an already burdened middle class hardest.

    3. Lost jobs. Lost jobs.

    The Federal Reserve's March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses "cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff."

    Human resources consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.

    4. Potential doctor shortages that will mean rationing: The healthcare industry is already a bureaucratic quagmire. ObamaCare is about to add steroids. As the profession becomes tyrannized by government, the talented people currently practicing medicine plan to get out sooner than expected. Who knows how many will choose not to get in. Doctor shortages are what lead to the nightmare known as rationed care.

    5. Somewhere around $800 billion in tax increases will hit America's middle class. This added burden will not only further oppress a middle class already reeling from a drop in wages over the last few years, but could damage the overall economy.

    6. Inflation, the cruelest tax on the poor. When businesses get socked with added costs brought about by higher taxes and burdensome government mandates, they pass those cost along to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

    7. Added bureaucracy. Even those Obama lapdogs over at the Washington Post's Wonk Blog are admitting that applying for health care is about to get more burdensome than the byzantine paperwork involved in buying a home.

    8. To cut costs or to avoid having to provide insurance, workers on the economic margins are already losing hours, which means a lower paycheck. There are a million sad stories in ObamaVille; here are just a few of them.

    9. ObamaCare is projected to add $6.2 TRILLION to a deficit the GAO has already declared "unsustainable." That's "trillion" with a "t".

    10. More taxes than currently estimated are likely to hit because of situations like this one.

    11.Muslims, Amish, Native Americans, Congress are exempt from mandate and penalties under Obamacare that the rest of us have to pay.

    The govt becoming more involved in health care is the reason the costs have increased. So Govt creates a crisis, then provides a solution that comes at the expense of liberty and freedom, costs trillions, and by most accounts won't solve the problem but in fact make it far worse.Corruption, incompetence, disregard of the Constitution, and lying are integral to the way that this country is being run.

    Three years ago, Obama, Democrats, and his media lied to us about cutting the cost of health care, being able to keep our insurance, and not taxing the middle class.

    Today, those lies and what ObamaCare is and will do to the working and middle class are the biggest untold story in America.

    Boycott and refuse Obamacare...If only a mere 20% of the over 300 million population of the USA boycott Obamacare the government would be overwhelmed to even think they could penalize or mandate every citizen that refused to participate in the most corrupt and unlawful ways which it was passed that circumvented the constitution of the United States.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 9:24 PM, Dadw5boys wrote:

    Talked to some old co workers who are looking at paying for Insurance the first time in many many years. The Corporation was worked for raised the cost of Insurance for the Hourly Workers so they could give Managment free health insurance. But with the Rebates there has to be an accounting. I laughed because that was one of the reasons I left that job it was not the only way they lied to the hourly workers and played silly head games instead of giving them proper training and certifications.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 10:24 PM, avolcano wrote:

    I was really hope President would started dealing with Federal government system, the corruption, mismanagement, waste, division between groups and states. You can not change unless you change the old ways. You have deep internal issues and kicking the can down the road needs to stop or it will stop when you have internal riots. The American people are sick of corruption in the federal system and Congress. It's very sad that God bless this country and we have become to busy in standing up against Congress wrong doing on every level..

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 10:45 PM, VRSEFgold wrote:

    OvomitCare? Puke! Puke!

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2013, at 12:39 AM, ck63 wrote:

    Since when is lying to the American public educational? If this is such a GREAT program, why the lies? Why the penalty? Why hasn't all the elected officals signed up (you know, lead by example)? Obumer, you're full of it!

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2013, at 1:06 AM, 1snafu2 wrote:

    Of course knowledge is power. It doesn't take much intelligence to know that group bargaining power will save money, and that the failing for profit healthcare system is improved by universal insurance, rather than having the taxpayers pay for the uninsured. Certainly the system is working here in Hawaii, as Rush Limbaugh can testify, as he praised the healthcare here. Some of these "commentators" even try to blame the failed GOP economic policies that brought on the Bush meltdown on Obama, whose policies have led to a shrinking deficit, higher employment, record profits and wall street trading. That these are the same people condemning this healthcare should show their veracity.

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2013, at 7:55 AM, JPB950 wrote:

    It won't be education or celebrity promotors that make a difference to most people. It's going to come down to a simple economic decision. Which will cost me less out of pocket, the tax penalty or the insurance?

    The main motivator to get insurance while healthy, pre existing conditions, has been removed the only real question left is what will cost me less?

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2013, at 2:43 PM, BottomLine38 wrote:

    Reading all the comments here, how is it possible so many Fiscally conservative Motley Fool followers are truly revisionist-history paranoid Fools in denial of reality? Comparing Obama to Hitler? Enough with the fear-mongering already! You lost the last Presidential election --- get over it and support OUR President's healthcare initiative!

    You had no problem signing off on the Bush-led Iraq & Afghanistan wars which have already cost us taxpayers over $2,000,000,000,000 (that's two TRILLION and counting) which did nothing for us --- today's multi-prison breaks in Iraq prove that it is heading for factional chaos despite all the American lives and dollars spent.

    Obama ran his Presidential campaign promising Obamacare, and he won the election handily. Just as I supported Ronald Reagan's initiatives and those of other conservative men who won past elections, how about giving Obamacare a chance to work before you cut it off at the knees? Geez.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 8:11 AM, tjcarey wrote:

    So what's the stock tip here? Oh there isn't one because this is political article? I'll move along.

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