Gateway Health PURL Campaign

Background Information

Gateway Health Plan®is one of the highest rated Medicaid plans in the nation providing services to more than 255,000 members eligible for Medical Assistance. Gateway Health Plan Medicare Assured®is one of the largest Special Needs Plans serving those with both Medical Assistance and Medicare.

Goals & Objectives

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) changed HIPAA regulations and marketing guidelines that restricted Special Needs Plans from marketing to prospective members via direct mail.

Mindful Kreative(then Lowers Communications) was charged with the task of developing a campaign that would indirectly recruit prospective members, increasing Gateway Health Plan Medicare Assured®membership, without directly reaching out to members. With the large amount of direct mail being sent out, we knew Gateway Health Plan®needed an alternative forward-thinking approach to reach prospective members.


Mindful Kreative and key personnel at Gateway realized the untapped resources in community referral sources, such as community agencies that often provide services to those eligible for the Medicare Assured®product. By working with these individuals on a daily basis, community agencies could benefit from referring their clients to the resources Gateway Health Plan®has to offer.

Now that untapped referral sources were identified, our next task was to outline how we could effectively reach out to community agency workers.


Gateway began developing a community repository with contacts throughout Gateway’s service area.  Since this database was fairly new, we obtained additional prospect lists to add to the already existing database.  We knew if we were going to initially reach out to community agencies by direct mail, our list of contacts needed to be larger so we could get a better return on our investment.

Once the database was completed, a direct mail piece was sent to a master list of 1,154 community agency contacts. The direct mail piece was customized with each recipient’s name, title, company, inside and outside sales rep for his or her region and a personalized URL (PURL) that linked the recipient to a survey. A Gateway Health Plan Medicare Assured®magnet was also sent with the piece.

The survey contained a list of nine questions that allowed Gateway to obtain valuable information from the community agency workers. Information like, what health plans they often recommend to their clients and what is the primary healthcare concerns or challenges their clients face, among other questions. Once the survey was completed, recipients were asked to verify their information or provide alternate information for someone at their organization.

When recipients visited their PURL for the first time, the web page was personalized with their names and the name of their agency. Recipients were also informed that upon completion of the survey they would be entered into a contest where they could win $500 for themselves and a Wii Fitness Package for their agency. The Wii Fitness Package included a flat screen tv, Wii game system and Wii Fitness.

One week after the survey was sent out, a postcard was sent out to remind non-responders to visit their PURLs.  Upon completion of the drawing, a responder letter and a non-responder letter were sent out to the master list.  Both letters announced the winner of the campaign and included statistics that were gathered from those that did respond.  The non-responder letter asked recipients to respond one last time, giving them the chance to still win a prize, an Apple®iPod Touch.  Those that responded, both on the first attempt and second attempt, were sent the Medicare Assured®quick reference guide – which included helpful information for those serving the dual eligible population, individuals with both Medicare and Medical Assistance.  Everyone was sent informational brochures regarding the Medicare Assured®product.


Gateway Health Plan®took advantage of the opportunity to present the winner with the prize and meet and greet with staff and potential members.  Pictures were taken and shared with internal staff in Gateway’s newsletter.

Overall the campaign created lots of buzz in the office, viewed by both internal and external audiences as creative and forward thinking. The elements of this project were unlike any other projects or campaigns that health plans serving the Medical Assistance population were participating in and served as a great way to reach out to referral sources in an unconventional way.

A total of:

  • 5.46 percent of the recipients visited the site.
  • 4.42 percent responded to the survey.

With a national average response rate of direct mail pieces at 1-2 percent, we were able to more than double response rates for the overall campaign and triple rates based on Gateway’s provided list. Conservatively speaking, we were able to produce a minimum potential of 67 times the initial investment.

It is quite apparent that Gateway’s list shielded the best referral sources, accounting for almost all of the responses.  Because of this effort the sales team at Gateway has developed stronger working relationships with community agency workers and continues to build the community repository for the next campaign.

List Source Breakdown:

Gateway Health Plan: 832 Sent, 62 Visits (7.45%) and 50 Responses (6.01%)

United Way: 25 Sent, 0 Visits or Responses

Purchased List: 150 Sent, 0 Visits or Responses

Supplemental Purchased List: 111 Sent, 1 Visit (.9%) and 1 Response (.9%)