#Ready4OE2: Providing Consumers With Information That’s Effective

By Ricky Gonzales

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!

Strategy for OE2: When developing consumer-facing materials, illustrate facts and resources with personal stories and provide detailed information about the fine for not having coverage.

Who can use this strategy: Organizations developing their own materials for outreach and enrollment.

Things to consider: Testing materials on outreach and enrollment can help organizations determine what is most effective for their audience, and help guarantee that resources dedicated to producing literature are well spent. When Enroll America started to design print brochures for the second enrollment period (OE2) we wanted to encourage consumers to explore their coverage options, but we faced several questions about what to emphasize in a short pamphlet:

  • Is it better to focus on key facts and information about the law, or should we provide directions to tools and resources consumers can use to learn more about the law?
  • Should we mention the fine for being uninsured?
  • Is it better to include more information, or focus on a few key concepts to avoid overwhelming consumers?

To help answer these questions, we designed and tested several different versions of a brochure. Before deciding on the final design below we surveyed 7,000 thousand consumers online (learn more about the survey by checking out our recent presentation on health insurance literacy).

Understanding that not all organizations have the capacity or time to test consumer-facing information in time for OE2, consider using these best practices learned from our recent survey as a starting point:

  • Messages about “Affordable Health Insurance Is Here” and “Get Covered. Stay Covered.” resonated with consumers the most. Survey respondents overwhelming preferred a version of the brochure that included these messages on the cover compared to a brochure with messages designed to address questions and confusion around the law (“You Have New Health Insurance Options” and “We’re Here to Help”).

Brochure Cover

  • Use stories to illustrate how the law affects consumers. While it is important to provide factual information about the law, respondents who viewed a version of the brochure that also included a story about a consumer who successfully enrolled were more likely to report knowing that financial help is available, and they were slightly more likely to say that they had enough information about the law and would likely buy health insurance in the marketplaces.
  • Emphasize that financial help is available and where to go for more information. Consumers who were shown a brochure that mentioned that financial help was available were nine percentage points more likely to say that they knew about financial help, suggesting that this information resonated strongly with consumers.
  • Consumers generally underestimate the fine unless they are told the details: The fine for 2015 is $325 or 2 percent of household income (whichever is greater). While most respondents knew there was a fine for not having health insurance, the vast majority (more than 85 percent) did not know that the fine was more than $300 in 2015. However, among respondents who were shown a brochure that explicitly mentioned the fine amount, 71 percent reported knowing that the fine was greater than $300. Providing consumers with the actual fine amount could potentially motivate some of them to enroll in coverage by making the cost of going without health insurance more explicit.

Brochure Back

Action Steps:

  • When developing consumer-facing materials, test different concepts with consumers to see what information actually resonates with them the most.
  • Even if you don’t have the resources to test multiple versions of literature yourself, you can use the best practices identified here and check out our Health Insurance Literacy Resource Hub for more examples of materials that have already been consumer tested.

To hear more about Enroll America’s survey methodology used to test literature for OE2 you can listen to the recording of Enroll America’s Health Insurance Literacy Webinar: Key Considerations for Enrollment Stakeholders. Also, see below for the full consumer-tested pamphlet (email inquiries [at] enrollamerica.org to be in touch about getting these brochures from your local Get Covered America campaign office).

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