HealthSource RI’s Million Dollar Media Buy

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Anchor Rising–Ocean State Current has learned that HealthSource RI (aka, ObamaCare RI) has spent $1,115,666 on advertising (PDF), or “media buys” as it is more colloquially known, for the five-month period from October 13, 2013 to March 14, 2014. These are expenditures only for media time purchased and do not include spending on other communication costs, like ad production. Note that Governor Chafee’s Executive Order creating Rhode Island’s ObamaCare exchange stipulated that all monies spent by HealthSource RI are to be federal dollars only.

Below are the top five recipients and the amount paid to them by HealthSource RI. Included for contrast is the amount that each media outlet had received from all state agencies for fiscal year 2012 (FY12) as indicated on the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s State Vendor Payments module.

To reiterate, the first amount indicated is the media expenditure by HealthSource RI only and does not include the media buys of any other state agencies for this period; the second amount is the company’s revenue from the state in the year before HealthSource’s spending spree:

  1. Lamar (billboards): $212,468. The Center’s module indicates that “William J Lamar & Sons” received $3,760 from the state for FY12.
  2. WJAR (TV channel 10): $91,486. WJAR received no money from the state for FY12.
  3. Providence Journal (statewide daily newspaper): $85,050.* The Providence Journal received $13,090 from all state agencies for FY12.
  4. WPRI (TV channel 12): $73,829. WPRI received no money from the state for FY12.
  5. RI Newspaper Group (association of 19 local newspapers): $58,266. No payments to RI Newspaper Group appear on the Center’s module.

Many if not all of HealthSource RI’s ads are still running as the deadline to sign up is today. Accordingly, $1,115,666 will almost certainly not be the final total of advertising time purchased by that agency.

* Total combined dollars paid to Providence Journal and providencejournal.com by HealthSource RI.



  • If you pay the extra $120 to Bitsy Card, you’ll get it paid off in 27 months. At that point, you’ll still have a balance of $7,068 on Costly Card. By the time you pay that off, at $400 a month, it will take you another 21 months, and you’ll have paid a total of $5,120 in interest.

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