If HealthCare.gov were the product of a private-sector entity, it's likely that things would be playing out differently in the wake of its disastrous rollout. The figurative streets would be paved with figurative blood as heads rolled, legal action might be in the offing and competitors would definitely be jumping on the opportunity.
But it turns out that at least one company is taking advantage of the situation, if ever so gently.
Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is running a trio of ads in Iowa and South Dakota that make a simple, clear case: "Things don't always work like they're supposed to do. Good thing the government exchange isn't the only place to buy health insurance." The closing pitch. "Just visit Wellmark.com/simple or call today." Not only does the website have the word "simple" in its address, it actually works.
The three ads, created by Campbell Mithun's Minneapolis office, feature the same man in various medical situations in which something doesn't work. In one, it's his own reflexes, in another it's the sphygmomanometer (aka that blood-pressure-measuring doohickey) and in a third, it's the cap on a collection jar for a urine sample.
According to a Wellmark spokeswoman, the ads are scheduled to begin running Thursday and will run until mid-December. "The ad campaign is designed to use humor to get attention so that we can share the message that there is more than one option to purchase health insurance. We've received positive comments so far from those who have seen them," she added.
Wellmark BCBS "covers nearly 1.8 million Iowans and more than 300,000 South Dakotans," according to the company's website.
Blue Cross Blue Shield companies across the country have been pretty active on the advertising front. They've been "the most aggressive by far of the major US insurers in recognizing the ACA in its TV advertising,' according to Kantar Media CMAG VP Elizabeth Wilner, who has been tracking advertising surrounding the rollout of ACA. "Dozens of ads by BCBS organizations in various states have run the gamut from funny to jarring in the insurer's effort to position itself as a reassuring solution to people's uncertainty about their healthcare situation."