Looking back at this year’s Super Bowl, a survey revealed that about 78% of people polled said they were more excited about the ads than the actual matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.

For good reason. Advertisers spend millions of dollars for a few seconds of the coveted airtime, so they try extra hard to make the ads distinctive. They often involve puppies or comically bad dance moves or both. What’s not to love?

But another type of ad has been hitting the airwaves lately: ads promoting enrollment in health insurance exchanges specifically targeted at the young uninsured.

“I don’t need those! Hah!” actress Aisha Tyler crows as she declines a set of football shoulder pads. The ad, created by humor site Funny or Die, then cuts ahead to Tyler being viciously tackled by a burly linebacker. (The actress was mercifully replaced by a stand-in mannequin for this particular shot.)

Best known for her role on the animated TV show Archer, Tyler plays out a series of scenarios — a neglected mouthguard, a snipped seatbelt and a discarded athletic cup — with all ending with Tyler crumbling to the ground as the result of some gruesome injury. The takeaway? “You never need health insurance… until you need it.”

This was just one in a series of new Funny or Die videos promoting enrollment in plans under the Affordable Care Act, following several others last year that featured Jennifer Hudson and Olivia Wilde.

Midway through last year, the creators of the Funny or Die website were approached (though notably not paid) by the Obama administration to create a series of videos aimed at encouraging young adult enrollment.

Enrollment for the coveted “young invincibles,” a demographic of uninsured individuals aged 18-34, stands at approximately 27% of the total enrollment as of the most recent numbers. This compares to administration targets of 40% for this demographic.

Connecting with young people through funny, bite-sized videos was a savvy move and hopefully it will boost enrollment closer to targets.

Check out this video in the series featuring the tagline “Everybody falls.” Pardon the pun, but this one hammers the point home about the benefits of health insurance.

Delays and the ACA

February 24, 2014

Employers with 50 to 99 employees breathed a sigh of relief a couple of weeks ago when President Obama announced a second extension to the employer mandate deadline. Employers now have until 2016 before the mandate kicks in to provide health plans for their full-time employees that meet ACA standards.

The President’s announcement marked the latest in a series of delays to the start of some provisions of the ACA. While some point to these delays as evidence of the demise of the ACA, we don’t agree.

But what exactly has been delayed, how far have things been pushed back and what can we expect going forward?

Of the remaining state exchanges struggling with technical issues, Massachusetts received the longest reprieve. The exchange was recently granted a three month extension beyond the March 31st deadline marking the end of the enrollment period for 2014. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services granted the extension, giving the beleaguered exchange time to fix glitches that have left state residents anxious about their enrollment status as the deadline approaches.

Meanwhile, on the federal exchange, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended coverage for people in the “high risk pool” to March 31st before they lose Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) coverage. Those who fall into this category must select a new plan by March 15th to avoid a gap in coverage.

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A lot of numbers were thrown around during President Obama’s State of the Union address last month — number of veterans hired (400,000), number of schools poised to be connected to high speed broadband internet in the following year (15,000), number of autoworkers reemployed in a Detroit manufacturing firm (700).

Perhaps the most talked about, and scrutinized, number was this one: 9 million.

According to the President, “More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.”

This was an impressive figure, but what does it actually mean? Let’s break it down.

According to Administration numbers reported on January 24th, 6 million people were determined eligible for Medicaid coverage, either through existing programs in their states or through expanded coverage offered under the ACA. An additional 3 million enrolled in private health insurance exchanges (the number has since risen to 3.3 million), bringing the total to the magic number — 9 million.

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OneExchange on TowersWatson.com

Find out more about testOneExchange


Welcome to our new look! The OneExchange blog.

The blog’s new name and face reflect changes that began over a year ago when Towers Watson launched OneExchange.

Building on our private Medicare exchange roots, this blog has expanded to include news, research, trends and insights for all workforce populations – from full-time and part-time employees to pre-65 retirees in addition to our original Medicare perspective.

See OneExchange everywhere

You can see the new OneExchange look at all our sites, including:

  • On Twitter:
    • @OneExchange– Check out the new face of our tweet stream.
    • @brycewatch
      On Twitter at @OneExchange & @BryceWatch

      Follow us on Twitter at @OneExchange & @BryceWatch

      Check out the latest from our managing director, Bryce Williams, at his tweet stream.

  • Online:
    • medicare.oneexchange.com Check out the new face of our private Medicare exchange

      Towers Watson's private Medicare Exchange

      Towers Watson’s private Medicare Exchange

>> Stay tuned later this week when the Extend Health blog gets a new name and look. <<

For a hint at what’s to come, check out our new look on Twitter – @OneExchange is the new face of the @ExtendHealth stream – tweeting all the healthcare, benefits & reform trends we’re known for.

The recent expansion of our Exchange Solutions business segment is a good opportunity to look back at the news from our private Medicare exchange over the past few years. Here are highlights from our early days to today.

Towers Watson Announces Expansion of Exchange Solutions Segment

Towers Watson Acquires Liazon to Expand Private Benefit Exchange Offerings Through Multiple Channels

Towers Watson Signs Agreement With Federal Government to Facilitate Public Exchange Enrollments

Towers Watson Selects WageWorks to Administer Health Accounts on Towers Watson’s New Private Health Insurance Exchange

Towers Watson Names Woody Sides Exchange Solutions Regional Vice President of Sales in the West

California State Association of Counties Partners With Towers Watson

Leading Health Insurers to Provide Health Plans on New Towers Watson Private Exchange for Active Employees

Towers Watson Kicks Off “Ready for 2014: Road to Exchange Solutions” Road Show

Fidelity® and Extend Health Partner to Help Retiring Employees Transition to Private Health Coverage

Towers Watson Announces OneExchange, a Health Benefit Solution for Full- and Part-Time Employees, and Pre-65 and Medicare Retirees

Towers Watson Announces Expansion of Exchange Solutions Segment

Extend Health Wins Inc. Magazine Hire Power Award for Leading U.S. Job Creators

Extend Health Survey: 74% of Seniors on Medicare Confident that Medicare Will Be There for Them for the Rest of Their Life

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