Millions spent encouraging Arkansans to 'Get In'

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - There's a countdown on the Arkansas health connector web site, to the minute, until Arkansas's health insurance exchange opens up for enrollment.

About 21 percent of Arkansans don't have insurance. The campaign hopes to get half a million folks covered, but first they have to tell them the exchange exists, and they're doing it by every media avenue possible.

"We use print media, TV, radio. You've probably seen the ads. We've had web sites and social media," said Insurance Department Deputy Commission Cindy Krone.

You can't watch a show on Hulu without seeing the 'Get In' advertisement. Krone says the web site has been booming.

"We had over 110 thousand hits over 91 thousand individual people," said Krone.

Krone believes the four million dollars spent on the campaign is working. Folks are becoming aware of the exchange, but once the clock hits zero, more federal dollars will be needed.

"We are looking to spend about 5 million in the what's called 'Get Enrolled' phase," said Krone.

Before the money is spent, the legislative council will have its say.

"Four million dollars is excessive. That's something that's not going to be approved by a legislative body. I'm very confident in that.. That's not Democrat or Republican. I've heard concerns from all sides," said Senator Jonathan Dismang.

There's no state money involved, but Dismang says there's no such thing as free federal money.

"It all comes from tax payers. We are asking that they redesign the ad campaign and try to scale it back as much as possible," said Dismang.

The Insurance Department says to reach half million Arkansans, four to five million dollars more is a bargain.

"You know that really is not a whole lot of money," said Krone.