Client Story

Client Story

National-quality ads helped Maine become a
national leader in Affordable Care Act enrollments.


The Situation

When Maine declined to set up and promote its own Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) stepped up. It created, a website offering Mainers information about the new health insurance options and a zip code locator to help find free local assistance. MeHAF engaged Burgess to promote the new site—and persuade Mainers to get covered under the new federal program.

MeHAF set a Year 1 goal of enrolling 20,000 Mainers in health insurance plans. Of particular concern was attracting uninsured consumers, especially the “young invincibles,” starting at age 26, when they have to leave their parents’ plans. A key challenge was building awareness and interest in enrolling during a limited period, which grew shorter year by year.

Our Strategy 

Burgess worked with MeHAF and outreach partners to implement a multi-pronged campaign using TV, radio, online, transit (bus), digital (banner and social media), and print ads featuring mostly young Mainers, and dramatizing the importance of “getting covered & staying covered.”

We also assisted with PR, and created collateral materials for outreach professionals—including a series of “user manuals” for insurance neophytes, translated into five languages to reach the increasingly diverse population in Maine cities. Our TV and bus ads also used multilingual creative to reach this growing demographic.


Awareness of went from zero to 36% in the first two months of the campaign. Maine enrolled the highest number of people per capita of any state, more than 44,000 in the first year, representing 220% of MeHAF’s original goal. Enrollment increased to more than 75,000 Mainers in Year 2—56% more than the original target—and 84,000 in Year 3, making Maine one of the few states that significantly boosted its use of the Marketplace plans. Despite the uncertain future of the Marketplace for 2017, Maine enrollment hit nearly 80,000, just 5% less than in 2016, and still one of the best per capita nationwide.