Date of Award


Document Type



Public Policy and Management

First Advisor

Professor Elise Bolda


Consumer Oriented & Operated Plans, Health care options, Maine Community Health Options, Muskie School of Public Service


As envisioned by the federal policymakers who designed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2011 (ACA), and the state-based health leaders who are founding them, Consumer Oriented and Operated Plans (CO-OPs) are intended to be a different kind of insurer: non-profit partners in health and healthcare. While many Americans (including Mainers) should welcome this new model, CO-OPs face challenges in establishing brand recognition and capturing the hearts and minds of consumers. The purpose of this research project was to support CO-OPs, particularly Maine’s CO-OP, Maine Community Health Options (MCHO), in assessing and developing communications strategies that enable individuals and small business owners to make informed decisions about health insurance options.