The Obama administration will join the likes of Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and McDonald's as a television advertiser in next month's Winter Olympics Feb. 7-23.
Its ads, to be run in local markets rather than nationally, will be aimed at encouraging Americans to sign up for health insurance before the March 31 deadline.
Ads will run in markets with the highest rates of uninsured, focusing on families and young adults, according to an HHS official.
HHS officials declined to provide dollar amounts for the ad buys, but Olympic ad time ranks as some of the most expensive available, along with the Super Bowl and the annual Oscars telecasts. Indeed, NBC, which is televising the games, has garnered a record $800 million for its Olympic advertising, the broadcaster has announced. Buying local ads during the telecasts costs considerably less than buying national spots, but local rates also are higher than normal given the audience reach of the Olympics.