Make marketing matter

Special report: 5 secrets to exchange enrollment success from CoOportunity Health

By Dina Overland

CoOportunity Health has limited capacity to advertise to the public as a CO-OP, since its federal funds can't be used for marketing purposes. So the insurer took out a $650,000 loan for limited paid advertising, including TV, radio, and transit and outdoor ads.

It also made use of social media. "We wanted to take advantage of the fact that some of these populations are very social media savvy and reaching out to them was a good opportunity," CoOportunity Health CEO David Lyons told FierceHealthPayer.

A key aspect to CoOportunity Health's marketing plan was its mobile marketplace. For example, the insurer outfitted a "huge, bright-pink RV with our label and pictures on it traveling around to every county in Nebraska," Lyons said. The RV served as a mobile enrollment marketplace allowing CoOportunity Health to get out into the community, answering questions and educating consumers about their plans.

The insurer also made a valuable decision to participate in community events. "We did literally hundreds of speaking events the year leading up to the open enrollment," Lyons said. "I would go to a town of 3,000 people and I'd have 300 people at the presentation. People were hungry for information."

Plus, CoOportunity Health partnered with credit unions to conduct outreach campaigns using the insurer's material that was provided to contacts, including development and chamber of commerce small business groups.

"We have limited marketing dollars, but the targeted work we do is still important," he told FierceHealthPayer.