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What a PPACA exchange learned about digital marketing

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For health insurance agents and brokers, one possible benefit from the existence of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) may be the vast sums of federal grant money on market research.

In some cases, the people and firms that received the outreach grants may have blown the money. In other cases, market researchers in states like California, Colorado and Maryland may have used the money to test ideas of interest to the commercial health insurance community.

See also: 4 marketing lessons from the new ‘Obamacare’ commercial

Some of those researchers have made their work available to the public, through documents included in exchange board meeting packets. In theory, in some cases, the results might be helpful to other organizations that are trying to reach moderate-income consumers and young consumers.

In Maryland, for example, a team of four managers at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the agency that runs the state-based Maryland Health Connection Exchange, gave board members a taste of what they’ve learned from past marketing efforts in a presentation on marketing services procurement.

For a look at what the managers said, read on.


1. Courting non-buyers dramatically increased the odds that those prospects would return to the exchange enrollment site.

Maryland exchange managers say the emphasized “digital retargeting”: efforts to reach out to Web users who visited the exchange site but failed to fill out an application.

Retargeting increased the percentage of prospects who came back to the site and filled out an application to rates three to four times higher than the insurance industry average, exchange managers said.

See also: Better Health Care Through Marketing

Video on laptop

2. Courting non-buyers tripled the odds that they would watch a promotional video to the end.

When the exchange retargeted consumers, 65 percent of the retargeted consumers who started watching an exchange promotional YouTube video kept watching until they got to the tag line at the end. That compares with a standard industry average of about 20 percent, exchange managers said.

See also: PPACA nap period: Can you get special?

Future highway

3. Pandora is a thing.

Critics of Pandora, a company that offers the modern equivalent of radio stations over the Web, often say that it will be doomed once it has to generate enough ad revenue to pay mature-company rates for music rights.

But Maryland exchange managers like Pandora just fine: When they ran an ad on Pandora, the number of Web conversions increased to 1,193 up from 228 the day before.

See also: Arkansas exchange outreach blitz is under way