PR Firm Gets $41.2M To Promote Obamacare

The Department of Health and Human Services has allotted the money to New York-based Weber Shandwick to publicize the new Affordable Care Act health insurance options available to consumers this fall in a campaign that will emphasize paid media and digital outreach.

The Centers for Medicaire and Medicaid, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has ponied up $41.2 million to the New York-based public relations firm Weber Shandwick to help promote the Obamacare health insurance initiative that is being rolled out to consumers in October, according to a CMS spokesman.

The money will be used to publicize the new Obamacare health insurance options available to consumers in a campaign that will emphasize “paid media and digital outreach,” the spokesman said.

The campaign will run targeted TV and radio ads during the enrollment period for the new federal insurance program. The enrollment programs authorized under the Obamacare law, which is also known as the Affordable Care Act, open for business on Oct. 1.

“[We] will finalize the creative elements and placement over the summer,” the CMS spokesman said.

The Weber Shandwick contract runs through May 31, 2014, and is part of a larger HHS public education and outreach campaign that includes a website,, consumer call centers and consumer counselors, the CMS spokesman said.

A Weber Shandwick spokesperson declined to provide additional details about the campaign, including how many local TV ads are in the works, who is handling the creative aspects of the campaign and who is making the time buys.


As part of the Obamacare initiative, HHS has already awarded more than $4 billion in grants to some states to establish health insurance exchanges to provide consumer coverage options, according to HHS data.

The states are free to use some of that money to promote the Obamacare enrollment programs with paid ads, and some states, including Oregon, have announced TV ad initiatives.

Broadcasters are hoping that the implementation of Obamacare generates hundreds of millions in additional advertising. Spenders include not only the federal and state agencies involved in the program, but also health insurance companies, hospitals and medical centers.

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Gregg Palermo says:

August 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

The government has no money, so taxpayers (you and I) are funding the honey pot. Broadcasters should be asked to donate matching ROS spots, too, but don’t stand in the way of the pigs at the trough.

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