Aetna, UnitedHealth help fund reform law marketing efforts

Despite previously opposing the health reform law, many insurers are now helping to fund marketing to publicize the legislation.

Several insurers, including Aetna and UnitedHealth, as well as America's Health Insurance Plans have donated money to Enroll America, a new nonprofit organization planning a widespread educational campaign with a particular focus on the 43 million uninsured Americans, reported Bloomberg.

"This is a mountain of a task," said Rachel Klein, Enroll America's executive director. "It's going to be hard to overestimate what needs to be done in order to reach all of these folks and get as many of them covered as possible in a very short turnaround."

Enroll America aims to raise $100 million by 2014 to advertise and use social media to tout health reform. So far, the group has raised about $6 million, Klein said.

Helping Enroll America reach its $100 million goal are donations from large insurers that hope the group's efforts will bring in new costumers to offset reform-related costs and taxes. Aetna and AHIP each provided $100,000, and UnitedHealth Group provided $50,000.

These financial contributions are a reverse course on the part of insurers, which contributed $86 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to oppose the reform law, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Insurers have "always been strongly in support of the broadest possible coverage expansion," Mike Tuffin, a former insurance industry official and current managing director of the Washington office for the APCO Worldwide consulting firm, told Bloomberg. "The industry and supporters of the law alike need participation in the system for this law to work."

At the end of the day, insurance executives are business people and they must be pragmatic about the reform law, Robert Laszewski, a health insurance industry consultant said. "The industry has gotten over it."

To learn more:
- read the Bloomberg article