Michigan Health and Hospital Association, Michigan Primary Care Association, Middle Cities Education Association

Insuring our children and our future 

Goal: Increase the number of children enrolled in Michigan’s free or low-cost Medicaid health insurance plans.

Notable Awards/Recognitions: 
  • 2012 PRSA East Central Diamond Award for Integrated Communications
  • 2012 CMPRSA PACE Award of Excellence for Integrated Communications

Using quantitative and qualitative (focus group) research conducted by a prominent national pollster with Medicaid enrollees to determine the best messaging, Martin Waymire sought to identify messaging that would speak to Medicaid-eligible families in Michigan. We also consulted state public health data that tracks the number of uninsured children by county in Michigan, as well as academic literature on barriers to enrollment to target the message to be most effective. We knew, for example, that families of hard-to-enroll children were best reached through radio, certain cable TV shows that appeal to the demographic, targeted outdoor billboards located as close as possible to public schools in targeted geographic areas, and transit ads (bus and shelter). We also knew social media and other Internet tools would not produce significant results because, relatively speaking, the target audiences are not active online.

Action Plan & Communication Overview:

To reach eligible families, a coalition between the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, Michigan Primary Care Association, Middle Cities Education Association partnered with Michigan’s county-based “2-1-1” system, through which people seeking information about human service programs like health insurance can call 2-1-1 to be connected to the service they need. Taking cues from the research findings, the messaging of these phone calls emphasized that enrolling was “fast and easy” and listed the health services covered by the insurance plans.

To gain earned media, we announced the ‘Enroll Michigan’ coalition at a news conference with Michigan Department of Community Health Director Olga Dazzo, Gov. Rick Snyder’s top health official. We supported the announcement with 32 radio interviews and several editorials in the state’s largest newspapers. We also placed ads where research showed they would be most effective, such as radio and TV ads, billboards near schools and hospitals, transit systems and bus shelters. Finally, we distributed more than 65,000 informational flyers to children and their families through public schools across the state and created a website, both of which pointed families in the direction of our 2-1-1 service.

  • After the campaign, 1,600 previously uninsured but eligible children enrolled in the state’s Medicaid health insurance plans for kids and teens.
  • The campaign was responsible for encouraging nearly 9 percent of MIChild enrollments in August (351 children) and more than 20 percent of enrollments in September (716 children).
  • Between July and August, the number of applications for the MIChild and Healthy Kids increased 20 percent overall statewide. That increase was largely sustained throughout September.
  • In August and September, the MPCA asked families who applied for health insurance through their agencies how they heard about the enrollment process. Of the 339 who responded to the question:  19% said they were referred by calling 2-1-1 (the call to action in all paid and earned media communications); 10% said radio ads; 20% said brochures distributed in schools and elsewhere; 4% said TV ads; and 3% said billboards. Each of the leading referral sources was part of our campaign.

We offer clients our commitment to Michigan, because our driving passion is making our home state a better place.