White House Uses Celebs To Jump-Start Health Exchanges

Source: Kelly Kennedy / USA Today

WASHINGTON — After a month of marketing the federal exchange site as “not broken anymore,” the White House has tossed the ball to Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning in new ads touting health insurance to begin running Thursday.

The basketball legends offered up their help for free, said Julie Bataille, communications director at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Their ads will spark a full-court press effort to get young people — in particular, young men — to sign up for health insurance before enrollment ends March 31.

The ads, part of a $52 million campaign in digital, TV and radio advertising for the first quarter of 2014, will air on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBAtv during NBA games.

“Not only are they recognizable, but because they have a compelling health story, it makes it very personable,” Bataille said. “We went to them. Both agreed, and they were not paid for their contributions.”

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