Washington, D.C.'s health insurance exchange has awarded its communications account to Weber Shandwick after a competitive pitch process.

dc health exchangeThe DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, which hopes to serve as a model for state-run exchanges around the country under the Affordable Care Act, issued an RFP in June to plan and execute its integrated communications and marketing effort head of the Oct. 1 deadline to start enrollment.

Eight firms pitched for the account, said Richard Sorian, director of communications for the exchange and former assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services during President Obama's first term. He declined to provide a budget for the work.

Sorian was a chief advisor to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a key figure promoting the ACA.

Seventeen firms attended a pre-proposal conference in early June, including PR shops GolinHarris, Hager Sharp, MSLGroup, Vanguard Communications, Barrington Associates, New Partners, and Campbell and Company, among others.

The Washington exchange is the latest in a series of PR assignments for Weber Shandwick under the Affordable Care Act. The Interpublic-owned firm has worked with California, Maryland, Massachusetts and the federal government on insurance exchange-related assignments.