Obamacare meets The Onion

In possibly the most apt Obamacare advertising scheme yet, Illinois will partner with satirical website The Onion in an effort to attract young and healthy residents to purchase coverage.

The Onion has agreed to run three banner ads promoting Get Covered Illinois, the state’s Obamacare exchange.

The Onion has also agreed to create a video, an editorial and a custom news section about Get Covered Illinois and will display the ads until March 31, the deadline for the first Obamacare open enrollment period. All the products will be produced through the exchange’s collaboration with The Onion, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“Reaching the population known as ‘Young Invincibles’  is an important part of our effort to educate and enroll all of Illinois’ uninsured population,” said Jennifer Koehler, the exchange’s executive director. “We know that to effectively reach Young Invincibles — who are 53 percent of our uninsured residents in Illinois — we have to work with non-traditional, and especially digital, sources for news and entertainment.”

The ads, shown by the Chicago Tribune, will feature an action figure and Get Covered Illinois logo. “Man without health insurance is forced to sell action figures to pay medical bills,” the first reads; another advises users “Don’t sell your action figures.”

The last ad concludes “Get Covered Illinois: Financial help is available.”

Onion Ad 1




Onion Ad 2



Onion Ad 3

“We are excited that Onion Labs will be able to raise awareness about the March 31 deadline for federal health coverage in an entertaining way,” said Mike McAvoy,  president of Onion, Inc.,  in a Get Covered Illinois press release Monday.

The Onion ad buy is just $150,000 of the state’s sizable $33 million deal to market Get Covered Illinois. The president’s home state opted to run a partnership exchange with the federal government, and the Get Covered Illinois website sends potential customers to HealthCare.gov to purchase coverage.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ January report on Obamacare enrollment showed that until December 31, just 23 percent of Illinois’ enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34 years. The Obama administration estimated that nationally, at least 39 percent of enrollees should fall between those ages to ensure a healthy enough risk pool for insurance companies.

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