Online Program

Enrolling College Students in ACA Plans: A case study in social marketing

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Chris Palmedo, PhD, MBA, City University of New York, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, New York, NY
Christina Zarcadoolas, PhD, CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, CUNY School of Public Health, New York, NY
The City University of New York is one of the largest most diverse institutions of higher education in the world – Its 480,000 students at 23 colleges come from more than 200 countries and speak nearly as many languages. Approximately 40 percent of CUNY students are immigrants or from immigrant families.

The CUNY School of Public Health is committed to serving the health of students throughout the CUNY system. Recognizing that many students remain uninsured, and knowing the multitudinous benefits of health insurance coverage for young people, the School of Public Health launched a campaign in 2014 to educate CUNY students about their options, and help get them enrolled. 

Due to limited resources, the “CoverCUNY” Campaign focused its efforts on the three CUNY colleges situated in the Bronx. These campuses have especially high enrollments of students from under-served communities, and the highest enrollments of Hispanic and African-American / African students in the CUNY System. At Hostos Community College, for example, approximately 63 percent of its students are reported as Hispanic, 30 percent Black, with only three percent White.

This discussion will analyze the campaign elements used to reach these students, highlighting research that emphasizes the importance of peer-to-peer communication (i.e. through social media). Best practices in social marketing techniques to reach college students will be analyzed, as will plans for improvement in subsequent  CoverCUNY campaigns, with implications shared for college campuses across the country.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe a social marketing campaign that communicates the value of national health insurance options to college students and assists them to enroll through state marketplace plans. Identify best practices and lessons learned, and discuss strategies and tactics for improvement in subsequent campaigns.

Keyword(s): College Students, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a communications professional and researcher for more than 20 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.