Rian, 26, tells the rappers about the low-cost health plan she bought on the exchange in this TV ad.
They drink. They dance. And they love the Sasquatch Music Festival, an annual phenomenon in Washington state. But will young people sign up for insurance on the state’s health exchange?
The folks who run the exchange were sponsors of the music festival’s launch party last month, reminding people they have until the end of March to pick health insurance and see if they qualify for help paying for it.
And the exchange has put together some ads that feature a pair of fictitious rappers — one thin and white and the other overweight and black — to help make the insurance sale to young people, sometimes referred to as young invincibles.
One ad focuses on the pair talking with Rian, a fit, 26-year-old woman who no longer qualifies for insurance on her parents’ plan. “Low Cost Plans. Check It,” the ad’s tagline says.
“The Captain and Patricia” talk about their medical debts.
The other one, called “Hospital Billz,” focuses on a middle-aged couple, the rappers call “The Captain and Patricia.” They had been turned down for insurance because of pre-existing conditions and racked up $200,000 in medical debt. But now the couple can get insurance on the exchange.
The ads at least have the potential to work. Washington’s exchange has performed well from the start, unlike neighboring Oregon’s, and more than 100,000 people in the state have signed up for private health coverage.
But the insurance-hawking rap duo has drawn fire. “People are really offended,” said Bill Hinkle, a board member of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, at a recent meeting. He and other board
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