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Ignoring CMS, CT Readies its HIX for Small Business

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, April 24, 2013

It's probably the most effective way we can make our message known, supported by an appropriate spend on media around sponsorships, around corporate affiliations, and around services that are going to make our exchange attractive to individuals and small businesses.

All the exchanges have got a key advantage, which is that we are the only channel for people to access tax subsidies. We think roughly 80% of our membership is going to come in that way. But, it may not necessarily stay that way, because I personally think that exchanges are a megatrend.

They enable defined contribution models for employers, so we're going to see the 401k of health insurance. So, given that model, we're looking at consumer marketing as segment-based, and to be frank, I'm going to see if we can start developing messaging in tandem with some of our neighboring states. A fear that I have is that with media market overlap, a Massachusetts message can be different for us than the Connecticut message, but the buy in Springfield, Mass., is going to spill over into Hartford, Conn. And vice versa and [we] run the risk of message confusion to enrollees.

On media purchasing, I think there's much better opportunity if several of the states come together and buy media together. We can get much better deals than if we buy it on our own. I think there are a lot of different ways we can be efficient, a lot of ways we can unify our messaging.

HLM: How confident are you that these exchanges will be up and running for open enrollment? And do you think that states, like yours, who are running their own HIX will be ahead of the curve?

KC: I really don't know the answer to that. It's a very complicated question. To be frank, we have got enough [of a] challenge getting our own state-based exchange up, and I'm much more aware of what our peer states are doing than the partnership states of the fully federal states.

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