Obamacare March Madness Begins: ‘Sweet 16′ Reasons to Get Covered

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Yes, March Madness is upon the United States. Calculations by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas put the popularity of the college basketball tournament in perspective: March Madness is expected to cost American companies at least $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour during the first week of the NCAA Tournament. If only young Americans enrolled in insurance policies through the Affordable Care Act-created marketplaces with the same enthusiasm that they follow the tournament with — or at least, that appears to be the Obama administration’s thinking when creating the March Madness-focused campaign to help boost Affordable Care Act enrollment.

On Monday, the White House announced that Obamacare March Madness has begun, and a countdown on WhiteHouse.gov shows that barely more than two weeks are left on the calendar until the six-month enrollment period comes to a close.

“As millions of Americans scramble to fill out their March Madness brackets, we’ve got another big milestone coming up: the March 31st deadline to sign up for health insurance,” said the White House press release. “If you need affordable coverage, head over to HealthCare.gov and #GetCoveredNow. If you’ve got insurance, help spread the word by voting for your favorite reason to get covered.” Playing off the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division I basketball division, the Obama administration took full advantage of all the possible puns a March Madness-focused publicity campaign could offer, including brackets.

But while a tournament bracket leads to an eventual winner, the Affordable Care Act bracket is more a recitation of the benefits of health care reform. The administration believes it can parlay the popularity of the president’s bracket into an actual surge in enrollments. Five years ago, President Barack Obama started the tradition of completing a bracket for both the men’s and women’s tournaments, and last year, his picks registered the most views of any blog on WhiteHouse.gov in 2013.

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