To promote ACA benefit, California turns to… 'Modern Family'?

Exchange must attract enough customers to balance insurers' risk pool

California Health Benefit Exchange officials plan to enlist the help of television producers as part of a marketing effort to attract residents to the insurance marketplace.

The insurance exchange—which must launch by 2014, per the Affordable Care Act—primarily will serve individuals and small businesses. Supporters hope that it will function similar to websites like and, allowing users to choose between various health plans through an easily navigable online store.

Officials plan to open registration for the exchange in October 2013, and about 4.4 million Californians are expected to use the exchange by the end of 2016.

However, insurance premiums could increase and enrollment could decline if the exchange fails to attract enough customers to balance insurers' risk pools, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.

To ensure sufficient enrollment, the exchange's public relations plan states, "A number of popular television programs and personalities such as 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Modern Family,' 'The Biggest Loser,' 'Dr. Oz' and others will be approached and pitched to incorporate story lines or mentions of health care reform that would reinforce campaign messages."

"In addition, we would explore approaching select reality television producers to create a new reality television program revealing the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage," the plan states (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/17).

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