#Ready4OE2: How To Engage Young Adults About Health Coverage in Two Steps

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 guest post was written by Erin Hemlin, Health Care Campaign Director, Young Invincibles.

Strategy for OE2: Engage young adults through large-scale “awareness” events coupled with intimate direct enrollment opportunities.

Where and when it was used:

We used this strategy across the country, most notably in Texas, Florida, Illinois, California, and Virginia during the initial open enrollment period (OE1).

Notable metrics from OE1:

Metrics for a typical large-scale awareness event:

  • 6-10 local partners
  • 150-500 attendees/direct consumers reached
  • 10,000+ engaged online

How it worked: It wasn’t easy to reach young adults who needed health insurance during OE1, but we found reliable ways to pique their interest — and our strategies proved effective.

Our approach was two-fold: We held large-scale “awareness” events to give young adults the critical information they needed to start the enrollment process — such as how the marketplace works, and how to calculate their potential tax credits. We followed these events with smaller, more intimate direct enrollment events, where they completed the process.

For example, we partnered with local health organizations, food trucks, professional athletes, public officials, and of course, in-person assisters to host “Rock Enroll Houston” — a large-scale awareness event that we threw on “National Youth Enrollment Day.” The goal of this event was to attract attention to the Affordable Care Act with earned media, and to generate a broad reach into diverse communities throughout Houston. “Rock Enroll Houston” drew top local media; nearly 300 people attended, and we booked more than 60 enrollment appointments to follow this initial interaction.

Best practices to replicate:

  • Get the right partners: Partner with several traditional and nontraditional partners to create a holistic event that provides health coverage information and entertainment. Nonprofit organizations can offer information to promote health insurance literacy, while local bands, radio personalities, and food vendors can provide entertainment to help draw a crowd.
  • Advertise: Contact local radio stations, local news stations, and newspapers to spread the word about your event. Radio DJs can especially help draw a young adult crowd.
  • Who’s going to pay for this? Big events will inevitably cost money, if you’re not careful. Many businesses offer a “nonprofit discount,” and many entertainers, especially local bands and start-up radio personalities, will donate their services to a good cause.

Alright, I know what I need. When should I do this during the next open enrollment?

  • November 15 – 22: Awareness kick-off events

Young Invincibles will partner with several national and local stakeholders to organize large-scale awareness events in mid-November as open enrollment begins. If you would like to partner with us, contact Erin Hemlin, Health Care Campaign Director, at erin.hemlin [at] younginvincibles.org.

  • January 26 – 30: End of open enrollment/last call events

There was a huge surge of young adult enrollment in March 2014, and we expect a similar pattern this year. We’re planning another National Youth Enrollment Day around the end of January. Let us know if you would like us to help plan an event in your community, and here’s to another successful open enrollment season!

For more information on best practices, check us out here: http://younginvincibles.org/reaching-young-adults-effective-tactics-and-strategies-to-engage-and-enroll/.

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