Creative and strategic ad campaigns and other efforts helped drive enrollment growth in some state-run public health insurance exchanges, despite what marketplace executives called a confusing and shortened enrollment period.

In Connecticut, Access Health CT (AHCT) experienced its most successful enrollment result since 2013, with a 2.3% increase over the previous year. Andrea Ravitz, manager of government affairs and communications at AHCT, says they “used to go dark” during the holiday weeks, but this year they took advantage of the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods to engage with potential consumers. The exchange also invested heavily on TV ads, radio and print ads, based on customer behavior data collected over the exchange’s five-year history.

Nevada’s Silver State Health Insurance Exchange also saw an enrollment increase from 89,061 last year to 91,003 for 2018, despite a shorter enrollment period. The exchange credits outreach efforts for its success. Their marketing campaign targeted TV, radio and social media in “every platform you can imagine,” Heather Korbulic, executive director of the exchange, says.

During the open-enrollment period, Maryland aimed at specific audiences, such as adults ages 18-34, African Americans, Latinos and uninsured Marylanders in rural areas. As a result, enrollment among African-Americans and Latinos went up 12% and 10%, respectively. “We advertise in the traditional media, including cable TV, print, radio, and also by other means, such as hand gel stands in malls, movie ad trailers and in motor vehicle administration locations,” says Betsy Plunkett, director of marketing for Maryland Health Connection.

California, Colorado, Massachusetts and Washington all reported growth in the 2018 open-enrollment period.