To sell Obamacare, officials should learn from state success stories

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Selling the public on the insurance requirement in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — making sure people are aware of the opportunities and helping them find a plan — has proven to be a tremendous marketing challenge. So far, fewer than 10 percent of uninsured people in the U.S. have signed up for a plan through the federal health insurance exchange. However, several of the states that set up their own exchanges have provided bright spots during the ACA roll-out.

Connecticut, through the quasi-state agency Access Health CT, has signed-up about 65 percent of the state’s uninsured people. John Quelch, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard School of Public Health, has co-authored a Harvard Business School case on Connecticut’s success story.

“This is not like Field of Dreams, where if you build it they will come,” Quelch said in a Forbes magazine interview published July 16, 2014. “There are distinct categories of consumers, each of which needs to be addressed in a different way,” he said. This marketing approach helps policymakers ensure that the laws they write benefit those who need them.

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