PORTLAND — An advertising campaign featuring Oregon musicians begins today to introduce hundreds of thousands of people to the health insurance marketplace that goes into operation this fall.
The first wave of ads features snappy jingles, simple messages and feel-good artwork at a cost of $2.9 million, The Oregonian reported Monday.
TV and radio spots feature the slogan "Long Live Oregonians" and performances by Oregon artists such as folk singer Laura Gibson, mariachi folk singer Edna Vazquez, the hip-hop group Livesavas, and Matt Sheehy of bands Lost Lander and Ramona Falls.
There will be print and online ads, as well.
The campaign avoids words like federal health reforms, insurance or the Affordable Care Act.
Instead, the ads describe Cover Oregon as "our healthcare marketplace."
"We didn't want to interject ourselves into the national debate," said Rocky King, executive director of Cover Oregon. "It's about Oregon; it's not about Washington, D.C."
King said his agency has only a few months to get people up to speed, and surveys show that many don't know much about the 2014 changes and of Cover Oregon.
Oregon's per-enrollee ad spending is comparable with counterparts in other states, he said.
Cover Oregon's startup funding comes from about $300 million in federal grants, and will later be financed by an insurance tax.
The marketplace goes live in October, when tax credits will be available to small businesses, as well as individuals earning up to $45,900 a year or a family of four earning as much as $94,000.
The vast majority of individuals who buy their own insurance, but are not on Medicare, will need to shop for a new 2014 policy, and most can use Cover Oregon to qualify for tax credits. Small businesses also can use Cover Oregon to shop for policies and qualify for tax credits.
The goal is to enroll about 400,000 people in the first year, half in commercial coverage and the rest in Medicaid-funded programs such as the Oregon Health Plan. Another 600,000 enrollees are expected to follow in succeeding years.
The ad spots were prepared by the Portland agency North, working with the public relations firm Metropolitan Group, which together share a $9.9 million Cover Oregon contract.
Mark Ray, co-owner and creative director of North, said the aim of the initial ads is to "create almost a hello," and later ads will be more specific in educating people and directing them to the Cover Oregon website.