Why It Makes Sense — and a Big Difference — for Women’s Magazines to Spread the Word about Enrollment

By William Tomasko

Specialized outreach, whether from a folk-song ad on TV in Oregon or from a booth at a Bourbon festival in Kentucky, can have magnified impact by reaching audiences with influence. One of the best ways to get the word out about open enrollment starting October 1 will be to reach consumers where they already are and through sources that are already familiar and trusted, from their community health centers to their local farmers markets — and their favorite magazines.

In fact, the next tip you might see in Cosmo is that you should sign up for health insurance through a marketplace.

The Washington Post recently reported that Cosmopolitan and Elle Magazines will help spread the word to their readers that affordable, high-quality plans will begin to be available this fall. Cosmo’s editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles, also told Reuters that the magazine will promote enrollment as “an integral part of its regular health coverage this fall and in 2014” and through its Facebook and Twitter accounts as well.

Highlighting the new coverage options available to women and their families will fit right in with how the magazines already promote healthy behaviors. For example, Elle includes articles about treating breast cancer and depression. Cosmo promotes free HIV tests and tells its readers the most effective ways to put on sunscreen.

And our research demonstrates why their outreach will be particularly significant; they are targeting a crucial, influential audience: women.

As Cosmo‘s Coles said to Reuters, “The Affordable Care Act probably disproportionately benefits our readers, because they’re women between 17 and 38, who may be thinking of having children or who want contraception and regular checkups with their doctors.”

In addition, women are particularly influential when it comes to making health care decisions, as we’ve covered before on this blog. Women have been found to make 80 percent of the health care decisions for families. And research reveals that while many young adults may initially be skeptical about coverage, they will tend to turn to women in their lives for advice, including moms, wives, and girlfriends. For young men, for example, mom is the most effective messenger.

Getting the word out to women will be a win-win by reaching people who will get concrete benefits – and who can effectively encourage those close to them to get covered as well.

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