University of South Florida


Woman signing health insurance forms.

The FPRC and FL-CK&F team up to create more accessible health insurance messaging

Two USF College of Public Health (COPH) groups—Florida Covering Kids & Families (FL-CKF) and the Florida Prevention Research Center (FPRC)--recently teamed up to create clearer, more effective health insurance marketing messages during the Medicaid unwinding process.

Florida Covering Kids & Families works to make health insurance more accessible to families while the FPRC uses community-based prevention marketing to design, implement and evaluate health promotion materials.

“The partnership emerged from a shared goal of enhancing health care access and Medicaid enrollment in Florida,” Dr. Xonjenese Jacobs, director of FL-CKF and an alum of the college, said. “Our collaboration ascended from a mutual recognition of each organization's strengths and the potential for synergy in addressing FL-CKF’s goal of reaching out to thousands of individuals in Florida who would be kicked off their insurance at the end of Public Health Emergency Period. We decided to develop a comprehensive survey and distributed it to a robust and representative sample of 300 Florida residents enrolled in Medicaid.”

The aim of the survey was to identify and tailor messaging for specific priority target audiences, such as people with lower English proficiency or health literacy and those residing in rural parts of the state.

“Tailoring messages to the unique characteristics of audience segments increases the probability that they will pay more attention to what you have to say,” Dr. Claudia Parvanta, director of the FPRC and an expert on social marketing, said. “Effective messaging ensures that those affected by the unwinding process are adequately informed about their eligibility, how to maintain coverage and where to seek assistance. This is particularly important for reaching vulnerable populations who may face barriers to accessing information and services.”

Man looking at phone and computer

                                Photo from Canva.

And what was the outcome?

After evaluating the survey results, the team identified three distinct audiences in need of tailored messaging: “John” represented adult white males aged 30-40, “Maria” represented non-white females aged 20-30 and “Laura” represented white females, aged 38-58.

Based on the research, tailored messages for John would emphasize direct, trustworthy information from health care providers, supplemented with support for navigating insurance options and accessing Navigator services. (Navigators are specially trained individuals who help people, free of charge, sign-up for health insurance.) For Maria, messages would focus on clear instructions for things like online account creation and renewals. Laura's messages would highlight increased awareness of insurance changes and detailed explanations of plan benefits while also offering diverse assistance methods, such as phone calls, websites and printed forms. 

“The use of advanced clustering techniques and statistical tools represent a new frontier in our approach to health care communications,” said Vijay Prajapati, a neuromarketing research manager with the COPH who was also involved with the survey. “While still under exploration, they show immense promise in crafting more nuanced and convincing messaging strategies tailored to diverse audience needs.”

Jacobs said FL-CKF will be revamping their messaging to better align with the survey’s findings.

“We're taking targeted steps to enhance our presence across digital platforms, optimizing our advertising efforts and strengthening our enrollment and community outreach initiatives,” Jacobs said. “It's a comprehensive effort to ensure our Navigators are supported to do their best work and our communication is as effective and impactful as possible."

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