O-Care activists shifted strategy to tout tax credits

Activists who worked to enroll people in private plans under ObamaCare said highlighting available financial assistance proved the single best way to encourage sign-ups.

Enroll America, a group with close ties to the White House, said its consumer outreach efforts produced the best results after they began to focus on the federal tax credits available to make coverage more affordable.

The Obama administration and many groups assisting in the enrollment effort relied heavily on consumer anecdotes as publicity for the marketplaces.

But Enroll America reported Wednesday that after recalibrating its message to focus on tax credits, its click-through rates on digital ads and emails to consumers immediately rose, in some cases by 150 percent.

This shift was accompanied by more prominently featured consumer tools like calculators for tax credit eligibility, which produced 10 times the number of clicks, according to the group.

Enroll America President Anne Filipic made the observations during a call that outlined the group's best practices over the healthcare law's first six-month enrollment period.

The administration celebrated on Tuesday after surpassing its original enrollment target of 7.1 million people on the marketplaces.

Filipic said that on average, consumers received a tax credit of about $3,000 per year to help them afford healthcare coverage.

This financial assistance is one of the healthcare law's most expensive components, though the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the law's taxes, penalties and cost-control policies will ultimately cover its cost.

Filipic also announced that her group will continue but scale back its effort this year in anticipation of the next open enrollment period, which starts in November.