Insurer touts high-star rating to boost enrollment


UCare, a not-for-profit plan in Minnesota, is taking steps to market its high-star quality rating, hoping its communication outreach to consumers will help boost enrollment and preventive services, reported AIS Health.

UCare's Medicare Advantage plan, UCare for Seniors, has received 4.5 stars from the Medicare Advantage 5-Star Quality Rating System. With such a high rating, UCare has begun to market the achievement to potential enrollees and tout the importance of the program to existing members.

Medicare Advantage plans have been gaining interest among insurers looking to take advantage of the burgeoning market, which has grown 10 percent to a record high of 13.1 million enrollees this year, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

"The average consumer isn't really looking for or understanding star ratings yet," Ghita Worcester, senior vice president od public affairs and marketing for UCare, told AIS Health. So UCare's "communication strategy" helps educate consumers about the star rating program and draw a "connection between quality service and quality health outcomes."

UCare integrates this quality message across all of its communication channels. The insurer discusses the star ratings program with members in its newsletter articles, messages from the CEO and annual reports. When reaching out to potential enrollees, UCare uses direct-mail brochures and sales-presentation materials to promote its high-star rating. It also posts general star-rating information on its website's home and product pages and uses star-related data as a "core talking point" during sales and customer-service calls, AIS Health noted.

Additionally, UCare bought morning radio drive-time ads and holds community meetings throughout the year to address Medicare and its star ratings program.

After all these outreach efforts, Worcester said UCare is seeing "a little more savvy consumer" in terms of understanding star ratings, but it will take numerous ratings cycles for members and potential enrollees to fully understand the importance of a high-quality rating. "We're in that period of time when the eligible beneficiaries are still learning what is involved in star ratings," she added.

To learn more: 
- read the AIS Health article