4 creative ways to reach customers amid qualifying life events

Marketing must be clear, simple and targeted, RWJF says

Payers need to get creative in order to reach customers who need insurance outside of the typical open enrollment period, according to a recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The study analyzed the efforts of public insurance exchanges in four states, plus the District of Columbia, to assist those who become eligible for insurance as a result of a qualifying life event as defined by the Affordable Care Act. Under the ACA, consumers must enroll in a plan within 60 days of losing insurance, getting married, moving, turning 26 or undergoing a similar event.

The exchanges struggled to reach these customers, due in large part to the tremendous focus on marketing and outreach during open enrollment, the study said. However, the exchanges used a variety of "creative" marketing initiatives to reach the populations most likely to experience qualifying events--and insurers of all types could learn from their work:

  • Attend career fairs to reach those who have lost employer-sponsored insurance as well as those who are about to leave college and enroll in insurance for the first time.
  • Partner with bridal and maternity stores to reach customers who are about to get married or have a child, respectively.
  • Use social media to reach potential customers who are about to turn 26 or who own a small business and need to know how changes to income affect insurance status. Video marketing in particular boosts member engagement, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.
  • Set up information tables at courthouses and correctional facilities to target customers who are getting divorced and transitioning from incarceration.

The exchanges studied in the RWJF report indicated that it can be difficult to create "clear and simple messaging" for special enrollment, given the variety of qualifying events and the short time frame in which payers must reach customers.

Consumers also showed a lack of general awareness about the special enrollment period, the report found--though RWJF said that may change amid a "cultural shift" of greater health insurance, exchange marketplace and ACA awareness among the general public.

For more:
- here's the report

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