EAST LANSING (WWJ) — With one of the most anticipated milestones of the Affordable Care Act just weeks away, Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan has launched a statewide campaign to educate consumers about how health reform changes affect them.

Through http://simplyhealthee.com, a website that includes videos, fliers, and other resources, a character named “Healthee” guides consumers and small businesses through the most important elements of health reform.

The integrated educational campaign includes billboards, radio spots, TV spots, and print and digital advertising. In the 30-second television spot, the energetic red-and-black animated character jumps across the screen and says: “All the changes in health insurance can be confusing. But you can soon shop and compare plans, prices, deductibles and many options. Learn more about health insurance so you can pick the right coverage for you.” The billboard reads: “Healthee Makes It Simple. Simplyhealthee.com”

When Michigan’s Health Insurance Marketplace opens for business Oct. 1, Consumers Mutual and 13 other health insurers will begin offering plans that individuals and small businesses can purchase. Beginning Jan. 1, individuals are required to purchase “minimum essential coverage.” Failure to do so could result in financial penalties.

“Even though the ACA has been the law of the land since 2010, consumers and small businesses alike remain confused about how health care reform will affect them – and when,” said Dennis Litos, the health insurer’s CEO. “Our belief is that a well-informed consumer of health care will benefit the entire state. A healthy state is a prosperous state.”

Consumers Mutual is Michigan’s newest health insurance company, established as a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) under the ACA. The health insurer, which has a robust statewide provider network and headquarters in East Lansing, operates much like a statewide credit union in which interests of members control company decisions. CO-OPs were formed under the bipartisan-backed health reform law to enhance competition in the new state-based competitive health insurance marketplaces and provide options in markets that have been dominated by an individual or a few insurance companies.

“Consumers and small businesses need a place they can turn to for accurate, easy-to-understand information about the Affordable Care Act,” said David Eich, marketing and public relations officer for Consumers Mutual. “That’s where our educational campaign comes in. We say that Healthee makes it simple. Rather than stay simply confused, we’re asking folks to visit SimplyHealthee.com … to get the clear answers.”

For more information, visit http://simplyhealthee.com and http://www.consumersmutual.org .

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