For many Americans, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the first time in which inexpensive, comprehensive health care coverage has become available. In particular, younger Americans searching for their first health insurance plan will benefit from ACA coverage. But the ACA marketing has fallen flat as the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services failed to connect with Millennials, leading to some shaking-your-head moments like this truly awful attempt to co-opt “doge.”
Enter Oscar, New York state’s first new health insurer in 15 years. Set up specifically to guide customers through purchasing the health care coverage provided by the ACA in a high-tech, high-engagement way, Oscar hopes to take health insurance into the 21st century in a big way. And true to their mission, Oscar has launched one of the most successful promotional campaigns for ACA coverage yet — targeted at New Yorkers, by New Yorkers, without diluting their message with memes or distractions.
Oscar accomplished this by profiling real New Yorkers who were living without insurance as well as those who have gotten health care coverage for the first time under the ACA, with the help of well-known local photographers, including Katerina Irlin, Tamara Peterson, Jacob Santiago, and others. It enlisted fellow New York start-up Niche — which tags itself the world’s biggest marketer on Vine and Instagram — to help it target the young, uninsured crowd a new insurance company competing in the ACA market needs to find. According to Niche’s Rob Fishman, the result was over 150,000 engagements and 500% growth on Oscar’s social channels.
The lesson? Millennials don’t need to be pandered to with keggers, “brosurance,” or poorly-executed doge memes. That won’t get young people to sign up for insurance any more than ignoring their health needs prevented a dangerously imbalanced health industry in the first place. What we need is for policy-markers and industry leaders to take us and our concerns seriously and engage us on the platforms we use to connect with each other and learn about the world every day.