Innovative Mechanisms for Marketing Health Insurance: An Experimental Field Test

Project Summary

The project team is exploring if new marketing of existing insurance offerings prompt uninsured individuals – with an emphasis on the young and healthy – to purchase health insurance. This would be the first empirical project to explore whether generosity framing could enhance insurance uptake.

Research Question(s)

  • Can new marketing of existing insurance offerings prompt uninsured individuals to purchase health insurance?


  • Inform new marketing strategies of existing policies by other insurance providers due to the early uptake by participating state partners (MD & RI); and
  • Inform policymakers renewing their focus on a universal coverage system.


Health insurance purchasing


Using a three-phase approach, the team will: 1) Conduct focus groups to understand consumer perspectives and optimize the presentation of these ideas. Three focus groups will be convened in each of the partner states (MD and RI), for a total of six groups with six uninsured participants in each (n=36); 2) Assess consumer engagement with digital marketing and advertisement across the continental US; and 3) Implement a field experiment, with two state partners (Health Benefit Exchange in Maryland and HealthSource RI in Rhode Island), to manipulate marketing materials and observe differences in actual health insurance purchasing behavior.

Image of a line of people holding hands - artistic rendering with shadowy figures.
Grantee and Partner organizations

DePaul University
The Policy Lab at Brown University
Boston University
HealthSource RI
Maryland Health Benefit Exchange

Grant status
In Progress
Principal investigators
Wendy Epstein, JD
Christopher Robertson, JD, PhD
David Yokum, JD, PhD
Start date
Award amount
24 months

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