Cover Oregon Halts Psychedelic Ad Campaign

by Veronique de Rugy

You probably remember the TV, radio, print, and online ad campaign for Cover Oregon, the state’s health exchange. The $8 million marketing effort made the news a few months back with its slogan “Long Live Oregonians” and its psychedelic design. Here are some of the lyrics:

We fly with our own wings.
Care about the same things.
We stand strong together.
So let me hear you say.
We fly with our own wings.
Dreamin’ all the big dreams.
Long live Oregonians; We’re free to be healthy.
Long live Oregonians; we’re free to be healthy.

Three days ago, we learned the campaign was suspended because the state still didn’t have a functioning website for the exchange. The Washington Post reports:

Three months after it was supposed to go live, Oregon’s exchange is yet to launch, and the state has had to rely exclusively on paper applications. Cover Oregon hired more than 400 workers to manually process the applications.

An estimated 36,000 Oregonians have thus far enrolled through Cover Oregon, including about 12,000 in private health insurance and about 24,000 in the Oregon Health Plan. Thousands of others have been determined eligible for health coverage starting Jan. 1 but have still not enrolled.[...]

Officials said the ads were meant to be hip and celebratory to help Cover Oregon attract young and healthy people. Whether they helped is not known — the exchange has not released a breakdown of enrollees by age.

The plan was to spend $20 million on the ad campaign, and that may still happen if Cover Oregon manages to fix the website. Oregon’s efforts may be more entertaining than most, but it’s far from being the only state with a poorly functioning health-insurance exchange.