Association of Funding Cuts to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Navigator Program with Privately Sponsored Television Advertising

Rebecca Myerson, David M. Anderson, Laura M. Baum, Erika Franklin Fowler, Sarah E. Gollust, Paul R. Shafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: Many individuals eligible for coverage in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace remain unenrolled because of information barriers. Whether the private sector or the public sector should conduct outreach to address these barriers is a topic of active debate. Objective: To determine whether cuts to the funding of the ACA navigator program were associated with changes in the volume of private sector advertising. Design, Setting, and Participants: Using data from the 2015 to 2019 open enrollment periods, this economic evaluation analyzed the changes in advertising associated with 2017 to 2019 cuts to navigator program funding. A difference-in-difference analysis was used to compare outcomes before and after the cuts in counties with higher and lower exposure to the navigator program. Health insurance advertising was measured using data from Kantar/Campaign Media Analysis Group in collaboration with the Wesleyan Media Project, the most comprehensive data available on local broadcast and national cable advertising. The data set included all counties that met the eligibility criteria for the navigator program from 2015 through 2019. Data were analyzed from August 2021 to May 2022. Exposures: Counties were classified as having higher or lower exposure to the navigator program according to the intensity of program activity in 2016, before the funding cuts. Counties served only by statewide navigator programs were categorized as lower exposure, while those also served by local navigator programs were categorized as higher exposure. Main Outcomes and Measures: Number of privately sponsored television advertisement airings for the ACA individual health insurance marketplace during the 2015 to 2019 open enrollment periods in each county, adjusted for population. Results: All counties in 33 states that met the eligibility criteria for the navigator program from 2015 through 2019 were included in the analysis (2435 counties). Cuts to the navigator program were not associated with changes in the number of privately sponsored health insurance advertisements aired. Results were similar under several alternative approaches including an event study specification. Conclusions and Relevance: In this study of the association between television advertising and navigator funding in the ACA marketplaces, private sector entities did not increase their advertising to compensate for declines in government-sponsored navigator activity. This finding can inform policy debates about the extent to which the private sector adjusts in response to changes in government outreach, and thus improve the design of state waivers and federal funding allocations..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2224651
JournalJAMA Network Open
Volume5
Issue number8
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Advertising
  • Health Insurance Exchanges
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • Television
  • United States

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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