Experts Split on New York Exchange Ad's Low-Cost Plans for All Claim

on October 21, 2013  |  Permalink

Topics: Health Care Reform, Exchanges

The New York health exchange -- called NY State of Health -- in August and October released TV advertisements designed to promote awareness about the marketplace and encourage consumers to enroll.

The first ad is a one-minute spot that touts the message: "We are New Yorkers." It begins with a montage of landscape images from across the state and then transitions to show the "faces of New Yorkers."  The whole ad focuses on how New Yorkers identify themselves, foremost, as "a people who want to make tomorrow better than today." The ad ends with several voices saying, "When all of us have access to affordable health plans, and can choose the plan that's right for each of us, we can do all of these things" better. 

The second -- which was released on Oct. 1 -- sends the message: "Today's the Day."  The 30-second ad describes various scenarios that consumers no longer have to go through when they consider buying health insurance. For instance, a voiceover says, "Today's the day you don’t have to rub a rabbit's foot to find health insurance."  Instead, the ad says that "all New Yorkers" can now log on to the state marketplace and purchase the "health insurance plan for you."

Are they accurate? Experts Weigh In

In an interview with American Health Line, Sherry Glied -- Dean of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University -- said the ads are both accurate and effective.

Specifically, she refers to a statement in the second ad which says "Today's the day a broken arm doesn't have to break the bank." Glied cites a July report from Bloomberg that showed "new premiums are about 50% lower than premiums had been in the individual market [in New York] before the legislation." She added, "That means that even for people who are receiving no subsidies at all, premium rates in New York will drop appreciably."

However, Barbara Gleason -- president of M2 Health Care Consulting -- told American Health Line that the ad's claim that "all New Yorkers can buy a low-cost health insurance plan" is not entirely true because older individuals and those who smoke could end up paying more under the exchange plans.

Aside from that, Gleason said she preferred the second ad to the first because it is "to the point" and discusses "all the most important" information, such as shopping, choosing and what consumers should do next, while the first ad is more of a "feel-good piece."

by Clare Rizer, staff writer