The Importance of Strategizing Your Open Enrollment Outreach

Paid Media Outreach Strategies are VITAL this Year… Why? 

This year is set to be arguably one of the largest years for open enrollment in history for several reasons, chief among them being the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted the normal order of things for over a year now.  Individuals are therefore likely to be allowed to apply for an extension if the effects of the pandemic make it impossible for them to sign up during open enrollment. New insurers have also entered the different marketplaces—a development that has sparked a drop in premiums in many areas, meaning that more people can now have access.  The social-distancing element of the pandemic also birthed a variety of virtual care options, which individuals and employers are quickly adopting. An increased focus on mental health has also led many to explore coverage to cater to their behavioral health.  These developments have made outreach for open enrollment perhaps even more important now for those providing coverage for them to remain relevant in what will undoubtedly be a highly competitive market.   

Paid Media Outreach Avenues for Open Enrollment are Allowable Use of Funds for FQHCs, Look-Alikes, & RHCs 

There are currently many ways for coverage providers to remain visible to their intended audiences. The most common avenues include display advertising, search advertising, creation of educational content, and more conventional mediums such as Email and SMS.   Each of these avenues offers specific advantages and can, with some creativity, be used in tandem with each other to make the most of advertising. Of the various avenues available, display advertising is arguably the most widely used. These outreach strategies are an allowable use of funds for patient education and outreach. If you have any questions be sure to get in touch with our team of experts to help discuss your cost report.   

New Advertising Avenues 

The expected boom in open enrollment has also made advertising partners evolve to accommodate the market’s ever-changing needs. Sensing the recent trends, one such partner (Microsoft) recently disclosed that it intends to allow health insurers to have access to vertical-specific advertising, which may be defined as advertising targeted at people in a specific industry.  Microsoft’s actions will enable insurers to run ad campaigns beside general Medicare search results on the tech giant’s web search engine, Bing. Vertical-specific advertising was previously only made available to other industries.   

Display Advertising 

Display advertising can be defined as advertising conducted through graphics such as images, text, video, and audio to a specific audience. This advertising utilizes platforms such as social media, websites, and even apps to provide individuals with access to what they need, when they need it.  Display advertising allows you to control your message and ensure that your enrollment assistance services properly get into the hands that vitally depend on FQHC support.  However, this avenue is a broader/umbrella term that can be further subdivided to include new mover targeting, geo-targeting, and demographic targeting.   

New Mover Targeting 

With over 20% more people moving from one area to another in the United States in 2021, more revenue is up for grabs than ever before. Moving is two-dimensional for new movers seeking coverage and is thus the same for those looking to advertise to them.   


Geo-targeting delivers advertisements to individuals depending on their geographical location. Put differently, geo-targeting allows advertisers to pick a location or a group of locations where they wish to show ads about their products.  This avenue uses devices such as mobile phones, computers, tablets, and even gaming devices with access to the internet to identify trends in foot traffic in designated areas and couples it with criteria such as behaviors, demographics, and interests to single out the specific individuals who are the intended targets of ads.  Geo-targeting should not be confused with geo-fencing, which offers ads to everyone within a demarcated geographical location. The only criterion that needs to be satisfied in geo-targeting is for intended targets to enter the geofenced area.   

Demographic Targeting 

On the other hand, demographic targeting looks to provide advertisements for individuals or groups of individuals with common characteristics. The characteristics include but are not limited to age, race or nationality, gender, status (marital or parental), and income.  When applied correctly and within the confines of governing legislation like HIPAA, this avenue is likely to benefit coverage providers by helping them specifically zero in on their target audiences, which increases the likelihood that the products they’re advertising will be purchased.   

Search Advertising 

Search advertising is arguably one of the most effective advertising avenues. It is tailored to cater to the specific needs of the target audience by directly offering them what they need, as opposed to more general advertising that offers what they might need.  Search engines such as Google, Microsoft (Bing), Baidu, and Yahoo offer search advertising. As the bigger provider of search ads, Google works with brands offering specific products and services by allowing them to have their ads appear alongside relevant organic/primary results on a user’s results pages.   

Educational Content Creation 

Educational content is material created to educate individuals on pertinent issues or solutions that affect them, such as open enrollment. It is by definition helpful and meant to bridge patient’s problems with an informed solution.  This avenue capitalizes on human natureindividuals have an inherent thirst for knowledge that always needs to be quenched. Value first content is often regarded highly by those it seeks to help, making it a great outreach tool for FQHCs  Brands that do not prioritize publishing educational content usually fail to retain their clients since they are likely to look for solutions wherever they find convenient. Often, that includes getting solutions from the brand’s competitors and in the case for FQHCs it often means their community doesn’t receive the assistance they vitally need.   

Email and SMS 

When combined, emails and SMS become great marketing avenues since they provide advertisers with a tried and tested way to build and maintain client-provider relationships. Emails are best suited for long-form communication aimed at fostering relationships.  They also help brands identify trends and preferences that they can then use to conceptualize more concise, personalized material and deploy it via SMS to elicit quicker responses and commitments from their advertising targets.   

Best Messaging Advice for Open Enrollment 

There are several strategies coverage providers can utilize to make the most out of open enrollment. For FQHCs to stay ahead of the curve, they need to adopt the necessary messaging to existing and prospective clients.    Educate, Educate, Educate!  Coming from a place of care is essential these days especially with the at-risk populations FQHCs are typically focused on. At risk and underserved populations sometimes simply don’t know there is help they can receive for free! Educating their community is vital. These can help keep enrollment assistance in the minds of their community and supply valuable data that can be used to build more suitable advertising campaigns.  With open enrollment around the corner on November 1, it is vital to get open enrollment integrated into your strategy well ahead of time. We have the expertise to help you do just that.   Contact your Target Continuum team today if you are looking to get an enrollment assistance campaign launched.   

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