New Mexico awards BVK insurance exchange account

ALBUQUERQUE, NM: The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange has hired BVK for communications support less than two months before consumers begin buying plans through the marketplace.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM: The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange has hired BVK for communications support less than two months before consumers begin buying plans through the marketplace.

The account's scope of work includes PR, marketing, the development of educational content, and advertising.

An estimated 23% of New Mexico residents are uninsured. Reasons include workforce shortages, language and cultural barriers, significant poverty, poor educational attainment, and the fact that a large number of the state's small businesses do not offer health insurance to employees, according to state data.

Of uninsured state residents, up to 21,433 will be eligible for coverage on the exchange from 2014 to 2020. The state estimates that about 82,500 people will enroll in the exchange next year, according to RFP documents.

Open enrollment will begin October 1 and end in March 2014. BVK's contact will run through December 2014. The account is worth between $6.5 million and $7.5 million.

Having a campaign up and running before then “is a challenge,” said Peter Capper, an SVP at BVK, adding that the firm is prepared to meet it.

“We already started the initial phases,” he said. “Whenever we have a request of this nature, we work as if this is a client…and you're hopeful it's what they want, but at least we have the foundation set.”

Capper added that BVK looked at states such as California and Massachusetts to get a sense of how they approached the concept of the exchanges.

To ensure the Milwaukee-based firm can create the right message for the region, it has partnered with local firm Cooney, Watson and Associates, as well as G+G Advertising, which specializes in Native American outreach, Capper said.

A representative for New Mexico's insurance exchange did not respond to requests for comment.

Last week, New York's Health Benefit Exchange said it hired Ketchum to provide PR services as it tries to convince young, healthy consumers to sign up for insurance plans. The agency is serving as a subcontractor to sister Omnicom Group firm DDB on the contract.

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