In an Industry Largely Reconciled to ACA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Affiliate Voices Concerns

For the past three years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has often veered into a contrarian strategy concerning the national conversation on healthcare versus its peers. As Kantar Media/CMAG has noted in the past, the vast majority of health insurance carriers’ advertising in the years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act has either been agnostic or somewhat positive on the law that requires US adult citizens to purchase health care insurance. Outside of Blue Cross’s Wellmark affiliate poking a little fun at the problems associated with the healthcare.gov website, the health insurance industry has not been eager to take a negative position regarding the rising costs of healthcare.

The exception to this rule has been this North Carolina affiliate that has released ten unique creatives on The Tarheel State’s television stations in the past few years with ads that elaborate “…the Affordable Care Act covers more people and that’s a good goal. But it comes at a cost. Eight new taxes and fees alone will push insurance premiums even higher.”

While BCBS had stayed quiet with no recent spots on the subject, the announcement in late October 2016 of double-digit ACA rate hikes has spurred two new creatives on the subject that were released on January 9th. One discusses the subject of out-of- control Rx drug costs while the other laments the cost of common medical care; both ads urge viewers to visit Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s microsite: stateofcosts.com.

These more opinionated ads have now aired in excess of 8,000 times since July 2013 and have been seen in the Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro, Greenville, Asheville, and Wilmington DMAs at an estimated cost exceeding $2.4 million dollars.

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