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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Johns Hopkins: ACA Health Insurance Ads Targeted Younger, Healthier Consumers from 2013 to 2016

The themes in television advertisements for health insurance plans have shifted over time, possibly reflecting the shrinking pool of health plans offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and rising plan premiums, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In the study, published online in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, the researchers analyzed the volume and content of media messages included in insurance advertisements that were aired over a million times in the U.S. from late 2013 through spring 2016. One key finding: explicit mentions of Obamacare or ACA declined sharply.

“These Marketplace health plans that became available following the passage of the health care law under former President Obama were heavily government-subsidized and contributed to substantial declines in uninsurance rates in the U.S.,” says study lead author Dr. Colleen L. Barry, the Fred & Julie Soper Professor and Chair of the department of health policy and management at the Bloomberg School. “But, in the absence of an explicit mention of the law in ads, newly insured individuals may not have appreciated the connection between the law and the health befits they were receiving.”

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