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MoveOn To Launch Six Figure Campaign To Sign Young Americans Up For Healthcare

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, February 28 2014

Sample banner ads for MoveOn's campaign (courtesy of

On Monday, MoveOn will launch a national mobile campaign to get young Americans to sign up for health insurance by the March 31 deadline. The campaign makes use of innovative “tap-to-call” technology, in which a cell phone user only has to tap an ad to be connected with an enrollment specialist. MoveOn has dedicated $100,000 dollars to the campaign already, but after two months of positive test results the organization hopes to raise more funds to expand the program.

MoveOn expects to generate around 12,000 calls between March 3 and March 11 alone.

As of February 25, total enrollment in Obamacare hovered around 4 million, leaving the administration and other Obamacare supporters less than a month to reach the 6 million mark. March 31 is the deadline for 2014 coverage at the current rates, otherwise people will have to wait for 2015.

Ilya Sheyman, the Executive Director of MoveOn Political Action, got on the phone with techPresident to talk about MoveOn's push to enroll young Americans, a crucial demographic if insurance rates are to be kept low, and a target of both pro- and anti-Obamacare campaigns.

FreedomWorks, an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, staged protests last August in which students were encouraged to burn their Obamacare draft card (that there are no Obamacare draft cards, just pictures of Vietnam draft cards with “Obamacare” pasted on, did not stop them).

That is when Sheyman says MoveOn realized how important it was to target a younger demographic (ages 26 - 35). The tap-to-call initiative also targets lower income groups and communities of color, traditionally hard to reach groups that might be more likely to have access to a smartphone than a computer.

MoveOn has been testing the program since January, and they say it costs less than $5 —$4.84 to be specific—to connect someone to an affordable care act specialist. That's significantly less expensive than more traditional methods, like sending someone door to door. And although they can't listen in on the phone call to hear the outcome, they can tell from the length of a call that someone is most likely signing up.

“The mobile display networks we're using have data files of the uninsured Americans nationwide,” Sheyman says. “It's not perfect but we can target callers we expect to be uninsured at the moment.”

Throughout January and February they tested different mobile ads, different networks, and different sites on which to display the ads.

The advantage of tap-to-call technology, says Sheyman, is that people “don't have to go medium to medium. . .you're reading a news site or you're scrolling through a website and see an ad, tap, and instantly connect.”

How big the campaign gets depends on whether MoveOn members think it is worth giving to. Sheyman says they are sharing the success of the program so far with their members and asking them to donate more money.

Either way, Sheyman says, “[we're] going to reach tens of thousands of young people. We can scale up; we don't have to be locked into the exact size.”