#Ready4OE2: Healthy Competition Helps

By Guest Blogger

As we count down to the start of the second open enrollment period (OE2) on November 15, Enroll America’s #Ready4OE2 blog series will feature a new entry every weekday in October sharing lessons learned from OE1 and strategies for OE2. For more tips and tools, check out the #Ready4OE2 webinar series!

This post was written by the Maine Primary Care Association.

Strategy for OE2: Organizing friendly, peer-to-peer competitions to support and energize health centers’ Certified Application Counselors (CACs).

Where and when it was used: Maine, March 2014 (last month of OE1).

Notable metrics from OE1: We had roughly 50 percent of health centers participating, averaging 73 assists and 13-15 enrollments a week per site.

How it worked:

The Maine Primary Care Association (MPCA) decided to set up a statewide “March Marketplace Madness” competition — for fun — for any health center CAC who wanted to participate. The goal was to promote creative thinking and to drum up excitement surrounding outreach and enrollment. CACs who participated in the competition were encouraged to come up with the most creative outreach event surrounding a particular day of action. For example, participants were tasked with coming up with creative ideas for Maine Maple Sunday, a well-known, family-friendly, annual extravaganza that draws tens of thousands of people to celebrations across the state. The timing (March 23) and popularity made it a perfect hook for outreach. The tagline for events that day was: “Everything is sweeter with health insurance.”

This “healthy competition” was possible, and effective, because we developed close-knit relationships with health center outreach and enrollment staff through regional meetings, peer-match ups between individual health centers, weekly email updates, regular conference calls, and a monthly Q&A check-in.

We announced the three champions at a face-to-face meeting in April after the close of open enrollment. Each of them shared their strategy for high achievement and helped inform MPCA’s Maine Field Guide to Open Enrollment.

March Marketplace Madness was not only productive and results driven, but gave us at the MPCA a chance to let staff at the different health centers know how much we appreciate and value their efforts — empathizing with the struggles and celebrating the successes together.

Best practices to replicate for OE2:

  • Use metrics that participants are already tracking: This avoids creating extra work.
  • Keep it light and non-threatening, follow state and federal regulations, and develop fun incentives: The competition was optional, and the grand prize was a trophy with Batman and Robin on it.
  • Encourage participants to get creative! This freed up outreach and enrollment staff to think “out of the box.”
  • Recognize the work of all participants: When we announced the winners in April, we put together small “spa in a jar” giveaways in mason jars for all attendees; they all more than deserved some time for self-care post-open enrollment!
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