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Telemarketing Boosts Health Insurance Signups: Study

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What You Need to Know

  • The researchers based the study on people who had applied for coverage through Covered California but had not selected a plan.
  • Live service center reps made the calls.
  • Prospect age and language preference had a big effect on how well telemarketing worked.

Researchers have published a scientific paper showing that telemarketing can boost a health insurance enrollment website’s sales.

Rebecca Myerson, a population health sciences researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently led a team that measured the impact of telemarketing on the health insurance sales conversion rate at Covered California — California’s Affordable Care Act public exchange program, or web-based health insurance supermarket for health insurance

Myerson’s team conducting the study by Covered California’s efforts to handle what amounted to highly qualified web leads: people who had applied for 2019 health coverage through Covered California in 2018 but who had not actually selected plans.

Covered California had live-human service center reps call 27,123 of those households and assigned another 24,003 households that had applied for coverage but not selected plans in a control group, according to the Myerson’s team paper, which appeared in Health Affairs, an academic journal.

The outbound calls increased the overall odds that a household would get covered to 14.7%, from 12% for the control group.

But the researchers found that the impact of telemarketing was much bigger for lower-income prospects, older prospects and those who preferred to speak Spanish.


Telemarketing had the biggest effect on health insurance plan selection rates for prospects with household income below 150% of the federal poverty level.

Personalized calls increased their signup rate to 12.4%, from 8.4%.

The effect was lower for higher-income prospects, but, even in the highest-income group, which included people in households with income over 400% of the federal poverty level, telemarketing increased the signup rate to 15.7%, from 14%.


The researchers looked at the impact of telemarketing on prospects under 30, prospects ages 30 through 50, and prospects over 50.

The impact of telemarketing increased with age.

Personalized calls increased the signup rate for the youngest prospects to 15.1%, from 13.4% for the controls.

For prospects over age 50, telemarketing boosted the signup rate to 20%, from 14.9%.


For prospects who prefer to speak Spanish, personalized calls increased the signup rate to 7.5%, from 4.3%.

(Photo: bbernard/Shutterstock)


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