Health insurers are highly incentivized to vaccinate their members. The cost of a COVID-19 infection greatly outweighs the cost of vaccination. As a result, insurers have invested significant resources into ensuring their members receive vaccines. Whether that’s public service announcements, sweepstakes, grants for mobile vaccination equipment, or free transportation to vaccine states, insurers are getting creative to increase vaccination rates among members.
Here’s a look at unique ways some health insurers have promoted vaccinations:
Centene tackled vaccinations in a few ways. In June, they announced a call campaign with network physicians. The plan incentivized providers to call health plan members, ask if they’ve been vaccinated, and if not, schedule an appointment. The company also pledged $500,000 to the top 100 providers with the highest vaccination rate increase. The health insurer made those grants in the form of $5,000 for medical equipment.
In June, the company also launched a public service announcement. The PSA focused on how a vaccination benefits the individual as well as their family and loved ones. A previous PSA featured members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Many health insurers have promoted vaccinations by focusing their efforts on subsidizing transportation to vaccination sites. For example, Cigna offered four one-way trips of up to 60 miles each to get vaccinated to members of its Medicare Advantage plans. The transportation also included an adult companion so caregivers could ride along. The company leveraged an existing relationship with Access2Care, a MA transportation vendor, to coordinate the free transportation.
Blue Cross Blue Shield
In March, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a national federation of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, partnered with Feeding America to share educational materials at a network of 200 food banks across America. The association aimed to reach underserved populations and improve the equity of the vaccine rollout.
Among locally owned Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations, Blue Shield of California launched a “Get It” campaign featuring television and radio commercials in the state of California. Blue Cross of Idaho delivered a $75,000 grant to Saint Alphonsus Health System. The health system used those funds to purchase and equip a van for a mobile vaccination effort.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana partnered with 100 Black Men, a national alliance of leading African American men of business, public affairs, and government, to advocate for equitable access to vaccination locations in underserved and minority locations as well as sponsoring a mass vaccination event.
Florida Blue’s Better Strides You online wellness program offered a $10 reward to non-Medicare consumers 18 or older who were vaccinated either through their monthly premium for individuals who buy their own insurance or a prepaid MasterCard for those who buy insurance through an employer.
Independence Blue Cross also invested in public service announcements, one of which featured ex-NFL head coach Dick Vermeil and football announcers Merrill Reese and Mike Quick.
Where Centene incentivized providers for outreach, Kaiser Permanente created an ImmUNITY Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes enabled vaccinated members or anyone Kaiser Permanente vaccinated by July 9 to enter to win over 1000 rewards. Those rewards included a family trip to Disneyland, a national park rewards pack, a wellness retreat, healthy meal delivery for a year, gym membership for a year, and personal fitness equipment.
Additionally, Kaiser Permanente focused on community-based organizations when awarding $35 million in community grants. Kaiser designed the grants to enable community-based organizations like churches and schools to promote vaccine confidence messages.
CVS also went the sweepstakes route, holding a #OneStepCloser sweepstakes that gave away things like a $5,000 gift for family reunions, cruises, a trip to the Super Bowl, and more. The sweepstakes ran from June 1 to July 10. Anyone who signed up for or received vaccination from CVS was eligible to win.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation also went the community grant route, giving $1 million to 42 organizations in the Northeast US to improve vaccine education and awareness. The grants went to statewide organizations as well as local community non-profits. Money awarded ranged from $10,000 to $50,000 per organization.
Like other insurers, UnitedHealthcare created a website to help anyone find a vaccine. The COVID-19 resource locator tool aggregated public information. The tool helped determine who could get vaccines in a given zip code, as well as where. In some locations, the site could also help schedule an appointment.
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