MDX Hawai‘i Develops Effective Marketing Campaign to Target Untapped Market
According to the latest figures published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, over 45% of Medicare beneficiaries in Hawaii are already enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans – meaning that Hawaii has the second highest enrollment of any state in the U.S. The mature Medicare Advantage market prompted the marketing team to look for a creative way to target a new audience in order to grow the MDX Hawai’i Medicare Advantage membership.
Through online research, networking with local Medicare Advantage independent licensed insurance brokers, and engagement with primary care physician leaders serving ethnic MDX Hawai’i members, the marketing and communications team identified an untapped market: non-English speaking residents who are Japanese or Filipino. According to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau report, there are 326,893 people comprising 25.4% of Hawaii’s population who speak a language other than English at home. The report also indicates that Japanese, Ilocano, and Tagalog are the three most common languages spoken by non-English speaking Hawaiians. (Ilocano and Tagalog are the native languages for Filipinos). In addition, research shows that 20% of the Hawaiian population is Japanese and the Ilocano-speaking population in Hawaii tripled over the last 30 years.
With a growing number of select ethnicities, an overall issue with language barriers, and a rising number of Hawaii seniors reaching Medicare age, it was determined that more resources were needed to educate this population about their Medicare coverage options.
Highlighting this need for resources for non-English speaking residents, Keiichi Kobayashi, MD, a prominent primary care physician in the MDX Hawai’i network, specifically requested Japanese-written educational materials about Medicare Advantage for his office.
Because of these statistics and outreach from our physician partners, Adrienne Yi, Senior Director of Marketing Strategies, developed an ethnic-specific marketing campaign to address the Oahu-based Medicare-age patients who speak Ilocano or Japanese. The campaigns involved several strategies, including partnering with local independent insurance agents who cater to the Filipino and Japanese markets; developing an advertising campaign in the ethnic media; partnering with physicians who serve these populations; and hosting a series of Medicare 101 educational seminars targeting this market.
• Independent licensed insurance agents who are deeply engaged in the Filipino and Japanese communities were selected as key sales channel partners. The communications team collaborated to produce culturally sensitive educational and promotional materials written in both Ilocano and Japanese.
Ethnic Media Marketing Campaign
• Team members also developed radio ads that run on KNDI Radio, an Ilocano station in Honolulu. The radio ads focus on the benefits of Medicare Advantage plans as well as the low-income subsidy (LIS) program which is designed to aid seniors with prescription drug costs. The ads promote the availability of Ilocano-speaking independent sales agents to assist Medicare-eligible beneficiaries with their coverage decisions.
Partnering with Primary Care Physicians
• Bilingual (Ilocano/Tagalog) educational flyers which underscore the radio advertisement messaging were developed and distributed to primary care physicians of Filipino descent who are currently accepting new patients.
• Because of the strong relationship cultivated by Florence Amian, MDX Hawai’i Healthcare Quality Specialist, Dr. Keiichi Kobayashi who currently cares for more than 250 MDX patients, allowed us to mail invitations about Japanese language Medicare 101 events to over 90 of his patients who will be turning 65 in the next three months. In addition, he now has Medicare Advantage materials written in Japanese available in the waiting room of his practice. As part of this pilot, ads have also been placed in the local Japanese newspaper to promote the events.
“Even though this campaign is in its infancy, I am very excited about the early results,” says Adrienne Yi. “Since the start of the Ilocano radio advertisement in November 2018, the campaign has generated over 100 sales leads with approximately 15% of those electing to enroll in a Humana or United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plan. With this success, plans are underway for additional culturally sensitive campaigns in the marketplace. Our research showed us the majority of Koreans in Hawaii do not speak fluent English. So, we are planning to roll out a campaign targeting seniors of Korean descent within the next few months.”