November 2015: Health Plans Promoting Insurance Enrollment

We examine the utility of health insurance positioning across health plans during the period leading up to open enrollment (November 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016). Considering that each health plan is unique in the significance it places on insurance plans and services, we did not assign grades, we also did not include employer-sponsored or federal employee plans.

This report focuses on the following aspects of each organization’s positioning efforts:

  • Delivery method
  • Content type
  • Promotional focus

Twelve organizations are included in this report, however the depth and breadth of each health plans’ attention to promoting insurance enrollment greatly varies. The four most noteworthy organizations, position promotions on their public sites as well as on Facebook and Twitter in a manner that gain the most attention and on a reoccurring basis.

Public site homepage banners is the most prevalent promotional method for individual insurance enrollment, positioned by 75% of the firms. Medicare-specific microsites are the preferred delivery method for Medicare Annual Enrollment promotions – featured by 42% of the health plans. Only one firm sends email or text message promotions, and no firm promotes open enrollment on the private member website.

We found a wide discrepancy on the degree to which organizations used social media to discuss health plan enrollment, across the coverage group. Of the 12 firms included in this report, nine tweet content related to insurance enrollment – with increased activity generally observed in the month leading up to the open enrollment period. Facebook promotions are used by only one third of firms – a missed opportunity to incorporate embedded videos, GIFs or infographics to a wide audience.

We found that promotions typically focus on informing users of the open enrollment period for individual and Medicare plans, as 10 organizations employ this strategy. Information and details regarding insurance plans and plan types (bronze, silver, gold, etc.) are directly incorporated or accessible from insurance enrollment promotions from 58% of the firms, yet half of the firms miss the mark by not incorporating enrollment tips and advice into their promotions.

This report identifies several best practices for health plans. Open enrollment promotions and messages should be recurring, clear and timely so that individuals are given ample time to actively pursue suggested content. Social media and email communications are advisable, given their wide audiences. Finally, we recommend educating users on enrollment as well as things that may affect their plans, such as policy and Affordable Care Act subsidy requirements.

Among the coverage group:

  • Promoting on Medicare-specific microsites are featured on 33% of the firms
  • 33% promote health insurance terms as it pertains to individual insurance enrollment
  • 58% position plan information and details linked with enrollment promotions
  • Only two offer information regarding the insurance Marketplace
  • None position Affordable Care Act information with enrollment promotions