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Posts Tagged ‘affordable care act’

Twitter Is Your New Healthcare Customer Service Line

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Have a great day—and don’t forget to @ us when you tell your 235 followers how much we suck!

The fact that many brands use Twitter for customer service is nothing new; we covered a few of the best feeds last year, and many of them were created strictly to engage with customers. If you check out our listicle you’ll notice that most of the ones we included were consumer brands like Nike, Xbox, Amazon, etc.

But today ProPublica posted a must-read story on how Twitter became the new go-to customer service tool for the healthcare industry—and we thought it worthy of debate.

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The ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ Wants You to Sign up for Obamacare

shutterstock_82796965Maroon 5 singer/Victoria’s Secret model fan Adam Levine‘s appointment as People‘s “Sexiest Man Alive” prompted every blogger everywhere to make a “things/people that are sexier than him” listicle (our favorite entry was “a nice plate of spaghetti“). But the federal government thinks it can make the most of his newfound notoriety by using him as a celebrity spokesperson for the Affordable Care Act.

Bloomberg reports that Levine, along with a few other people whose names and faces you know, will be promoting enrollment as part of a social media campaign set to launch today.

Can’t you see him pleading? Would those tattoos lie to you, baby?

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Obamacare Struggles Make for a Perfect Communications Case Study

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If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got somewhere else to be…

You may be shocked to learn that Politico posted something interesting today. Inflammatory “PR firms cash in on health rollout woes” headline aside, the story makes a good point: the Affordable Care Act launch is a perfect encapsulation of the challenges facing communicators in the digital era.

Multiple firms have capitalized on this fact by turning it into a case study; the myriad lessons are obvious after the jump.

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And Now Obamacare is to Blame for Bad Driving

DOT_message“The scourge of healthcare,” “A death spiral for all Americans,” “The beginning of the end” and “Socialism’s entry into the USA.”

These have been in the news as lovingly euphemisms for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.” It’s no secret the name, the idea and even the damn website isn’t exactly winning the White House many brownie points with the voting public.

And with this report via Forbes from the Manhattan Institute, we have another reason why people hate it: “In the average state, Obamacare will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent.” Makes so mad you could run someone off the road, huh?

Whelp, funny you say that…

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GOP Spot Casts ‘Private Sector’ As Apple and ‘ObamaCare’ As PC

We never saw the Affordable Care Act as a public vs. private thing, because privately owned and run insurance companies are going to make out quite well in the end. But that’s not the point these guys want to make:

The Republican National Committee is right to jump on the content train by running this clip on The Daily Show tonight, but the production values are middling and the message is muddled beyond “government bad, business good”. Sure, the DMV sucks, but does anyone really think that “private sector” companies automatically ace customer service? Have you ever called Time Warner Cable?

And let’s be honest, since we’re speaking in the broadest possible generalizations here: which dude looks like a bigger techie to you?

Lead Obamacare Administrator Apologizes For Technical Difficulties, But Did She Do It Right?

tavennerMarilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said the following today before the House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee hearing focused on the mountain of troubles Healthcare.gov has had since launching on the first of this month:

We know that consumers are eager to purchase this coverage. And to the millions of Americans who have attempted to use Healthcare.gov to shop and enroll in healthcare coverage, I want to apologize to you that the website has not worked as well as it should.

She added:

Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion. The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people and is not acceptable.

This had the makings of a good apology. But…

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Suzanne Somers Didn’t Fact Check Her WSJ Healthcare Op-Ed

"Sex And The City 2" New York Premiere - ArrivalsBlog world secret: typos are not a huge deal; we make like five of them every day. Errors in a high-profile guest article, however, will seriously damage your credibility. This week Chrissy from Three’s Company took a break from bragging about how many times she has sex with her 77-year-old husband every day to write an anti-ObamaCare piece for the Wall Street Journal‘s new “experts” feature under the super-scary headline “The Affordable Care Act Is a Socialist Ponzi Scheme.

She made the usual arguments about how this convoluted attempt to make healthcare more accessible would limit consumer choice and lead to dependence on the state before dropping two quotes that somehow escaped her editors:

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“Widely disputed” means the first quote has been used and corrected repeatedly over the past 60 years.

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It’s Damage Control Time for the ObamaCare Launch

HHS_HealthCare_MOBILE_BILLBOARDYou might have missed this story amidst the embarrassing failure of the “destroy the government” movement, but there have been quite a few technical glitches related to Healthcare.gov, the homepage of the only government program that could ever possibly be “worse than slavery” (these folks with their messaging). So yesterday the team that created the very thing those guys hate most decided to start cleaning up after their own embarrassing failure.

A report from the Washington Times asserts that, among other things, federal officials only tested the site for four to six days when they should have done so for four to six months—and that organizational failures left many anxious Americans unable to register for insurance on Healthcare.gov.

In a formal blog post, the Department of Health and Human Services responded by admitting that “The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people” thanks to error messages, slow-loading pages, and all the things that you’d expect from a dial-up Yahoo account circa 1998. The post highlights elements of the “product” that are working, notes improvements and promises that a coming “tech surge” will help everyone use that site as it was meant to be used.

Obama probably could have written the post himself if he weren’t busy giving a speech to the press today in order to defend and explain his signature project for the millionth time: he said that there’s “no sugar-coating“ the “unacceptable” tech issues, so someone’s been listening. Then this happened:

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Spinning the ObamaCare Rollout: A Messaging Case Study

Or it WILL be open at some point.

In one of recent history’s most amazing coincidences, the day the federal government “shut down” happens to be the very same day that the statewide health insurance exchanges forming the core of the Affordable Care Act start up. The number of conflicting messages delivered by parties with diametrically opposed goals is enough to make you dizzy.

The big focus so far has been on tech issues. Yesterday Department of Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius told reporters that, because operational glitches are inevitable, the public should “give us the same slack you give Apple”; President Obama made the same argument in a later speech on the shutdown-rollout event. On the other side of the aisle, Fox News debuted a running “ObamaCare glitch watch” thread to chronicle every problem reported by users.

Whatever happens regarding the law, today and the weeks ahead will make for a great case study in future public relations courses because all statements amount to strategic political positioning. It’s almost certainly safe to say that a majority of those logging in and reporting on the exchanges do so with either political or journalistic goals in mind, so here’s a review of competing messages:

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Creepy Costumes Will Scare College Students Away from ObamaCare

What, you’re already sick of hearing about “ObamaCare“? But we’ve only just begun!

Today a political action committee called Generation Opportunity released the first shots in its coming war against the Affordable Care Act: two PSA-style commercials designed to convince impressionable college kids that the government should never get involved in healthcare administration and that they should opt out of any related plan as soon as possible. In order for the ACA to run as planned, the Obama administration will need to convince young, healthy people who don’t have insurance through their parents or their employers to buy it through the statewide exchanges created under the law.

Of course, if they do that then this might happen:

In order to save young Americans from this menace, Generation Opportunity will “host events at college football tailgate parties” and, we assume, more wholesome gatherings, handing out pizza and beer coozies urging everyone to “opt out.”

Pro-ACA advocacy group Enroll America already announced plans to appear at the very same schools, trying to make the opposite point. Something tells us one of the organizations’ stands will look something like this:

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