Use of Medicare Summary Notice Inserts to Generate Interest in the Medicare Stop Smoking Program

Published in: American Journal of Health Promotion, v. 21, no. 5, May/June 2007, p. 422-425

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2006

by Margaret A. Maglione, Carrie Larson, Tierney Gianotti, Pauline Lapin

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PURPOSE: Evaluations of outreach strategies that effectively and efficiently reach the senior population often go unreported. The Medicare Stop Smoking Program (MSSP) was a seven-state demonstration project funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The 1-year recruitment plan for MSSP included a multifaceted paid media campaign; however, enrollment was slower than anticipated. The purpose of this substudy was to test the effects of including envelope-sized advertisement inserts with Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs) as a supplemental recruitment strategy. METHODS: Information obtained from enrollees on where they had learned about the program as well as overall enrollment rates were analyzed and compared with the time periods during which the inserts were included in MSN mailings. RESULTS: Average call volume to the enrollment center increased by 65.7% in Alabama, the pilot state, and by more than 200% in the subsequent demonstration states. Despite the introduction of the MSN inserts late in the recruitment period, 32.2% of the 7354 total enrollees stated that they learned about the project through the inserts. CONCLUSIONS: This recruitment method is highly recommended as a cost-effective way to reach the senior population.

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