HHS is hitting the malls this weekend to make sure that Obamacare is on the minds of consumers during the busiest shopping weekend of the year.
The department on Wednesday will announce new partnerships it has made with retail stores, pharmacies and popular websites to spread the word about the current open enrollment season, which began on Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15. On three key days after Thanksgiving — Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday — as well as dates beyond, Westfield Shopping Centers, the National Community Pharmacists Association and the XO Group will provide consumers with information about how they can sign up for coverage through the exchanges.
The outreach approach is a stark shift from Obamacare’s first year, when HHS utilized celebrities and other high-profile figures to generate buzz about HealthCare.gov. But with a shorter enrollment period this time around, the necessity of capturing renewals and the challenges of messaging in the midst of a frenetic holiday season, HHS is turning to more practical approaches to get people to enroll.
HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said the Obama administration was excited about the three partnerships and their potential for reaching Americans, “whether consumers are shopping at a mall, online or at their community pharmacy.”
The administration has already launched a more precise marketing strategy that uses targeted digital ads, focuses on specific demographics and uses social media.
As part of the new outreach initiative, Westfield malls in eight states will let navigators and other enrollment workers hand out fliers and do other outreach work to get people to enroll. The states are California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Washington.
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