Text Messaging is an Effective Outreach Strategy for Enrolling the Uninsured in Medicaid and Health Insurance

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Those in need of vital health services often don’t have access to the resources they need to make informed decisions. A recent issue brief published by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured explores the success of text messaging programs in increasing health insurance coverage for uninsured Americans.

The brief, titled Profiles of Medicaid Outreach and Enrollment Strategies: Using Text Messaging to Reach and Enroll Uninsured Individuals into Medicaid and CHIP, discusses how to best inform and enroll people who are difficult to reach, such as low-income families and previously uninsured individuals. Text4baby is a text messaging campaign that offers health and safety information to pregnant women and new mothers. In 2012, Text4baby partnered with the Connecting Kids to Coverage initiative of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to drive enrollment in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) via text messaging.

After surveying program participants, the Kaiser Commission found that the text messaging program was an effective tool in informing individuals about health insurance options and leading them to enroll in Medicaid of CHIP. Here are some of their key findings:

  • Cell phones are a key source of connection to the Internet for respondents
  • Most respondents had limited knowledge of Medicaid and CHIP when they signed up for Text4baby
  • Many respondents said they sought out additional information about Medicaid and CHIP after receiving Text4baby’s messages about health
  • A number of the respondents said they applied for Medicaid or CHIP for themselves or an uninsured child after receiving Text4baby’s messages about health coverage

The brief concludes that text messaging is a “useful vehicle to reach and communicate with uninsured individuals” and should be explored for its “potential uses in enrolling and maintaining health coverage”.

Experience with the Text4baby Medicaid module shows that individuals found text messages about health insurance to be useful and that the messages helped spur them to seek out additional information about health coverage and apply for coverage. Looking ahead, as outreach and enrollment efforts for the ACA coverage expansions continue, these findings suggest that text messaging could be an effective outreach and education tool. 

Expand health insurance coverage with a text messaging campaign

Text messaging is the most effective way to reach the largest demographic of Americans. When important healthcare resources are provided in the form of text messages, people are more likely to take action and engage in their own health.

Mobile Commons Enroll offers healthcare organizations a valuable and effective tool to expand health insurance coverage across different communities. Targeted text messaging outreach campaigns can help inform underserved populations of the available options and guide them through the enrollment process. To learn more about how you can get started on your mobile health campaign, visit our Mobile Commons Enroll for Navigators page or contact us at sales@mobilecommons.com.

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