Sept. 4—The Baltimore Ravens became the first professional sports team to promote a coming insurance marketplace, Maryland officials announced.

Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown announced the partnership to promote the Maryland Health Connection, a state marketplace—also known as an exchange—authorized by the Affordable Care Act to begin selling private insurers individual and small group plans on Jan. 1, 2014.

The football team will be part of a multimedia advertising and outreach campaign designed to inform consumers about "the importance of health coverage, access to health plan choices, and the financial assistance available," according to a press release.

Move Designed to Attract Young Consumers

The involvement of such teams may prove critical because their core audiences—young men—are considered critical by health policy experts. So-called young invincibles are needed to enroll in the exchanges because their relatively high premiums and low healthcare needs are expected to maintain the solvency of marketplace plans.

About 71 percent of the uninsured population in Maryland has watched, attended, or listened to a Ravens game in the past 12 months, state research found.

"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."

The involvement of the Boston Red Sox in promoting the predecessor Massachusetts marketplace was deemed a critical part of the success of that state's 2006 insurance reform.

More Outreach Planned

The marketplace also announced partnerships with Giant Food and CVS Pharmacy to provide information for consumers about health insurance, including health coverage literature and announcements in the stores.

An estimated 14 percent of Maryland's population of 5.8 million, or 800,000, are uninsured. An estimated 180,000 residents are expected to enroll in marketplace plans in 2014.

Another nearly 100,000 Marylanders are expected to enroll for Medicaid as a result of the expansion of Medicaid provided by the ACA.

Publication Date: Wednesday, September 04, 2013