In the last 50 or so years of Medicaid, member engagement has been never been so critical to affecting individual and public health. Why? Member engagement—especially among hard-to-reach populations—is crucial for motivating healthy, high-value activities that can improve outcomes and drive costs down.

So how can you effectively foster health engagement, encouraging members to take vital actions such as attending recommended care appointments?

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We can learn a lot by looking at seven strategies used by successful, real-world Medicaid engagement programs:

  1. Understand the Medicaid populations you serve
    When a plan understands its members—their health status, risks for chronic disease, and socio-economic challenges (i.e. social determinants of health)—it can better understand how to motivate those members to close care gaps and make changes for better health.
  1. Offer incentives that members value
    Programs offering incentives, such as gift cards, can serve to better engage Medicaid members, encouraging them to participate in productive health interactions, or change unhealthy behaviors.
  1. Use mobile technology and text messaging
    Smart phones are increasingly the proxy for “home address.” If you want to improve Medicaid participation and engagement, send text messages. Case in point: In a clinical trial at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, text messaging by one Medicaid health plan helped enrollees take medications as prescribed and keep appointments with health care providers.1
  1. Be more visible in the lives of members
    Medicaid members may not be visiting your website, calling, or reading your direct mail for health information. That’s why it’s important to reach out to members in the channel of their choice, such as outbound IVR, instead of waiting for them to come to you. 
  1. Create community partnerships
    Partnering with community health workers and non-profit organizations in the community builds trust, relationships and channels to deliver information about Medicaid services to vulnerable populations.
  1. Accommodate and respect low health literacy
    Only 12 percent of U.S. adults have proficient health literacy. Many states have moved to creating content for Medicaid enrollees with a third- to eighth-grade reading level. Make use of readability tools, such as Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, to ensure your communications can be understood.   
  1. Continuously find and test creative engagement solutions for win/win outcomes
    When you consider the underlying issues keeping your Medicaid population from engaging with you, you may need creative solutions to overcome them. A lack of transportation or childcare, perhaps? Look for ways to reduce barriers like these to engage more Medicaid beneficiaries, improve health and reduce costs.

For more Medicaid insights and engagement best practices, download our e-book: The guide to Medicaid member engagement: Proven strategies and best practices from real-world programs.

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Looking for more? Contact us to learn more about how we tailor rewards and engagement solutions to your member population using the latest in behavioral health science and healthcare data analytics.


About NovuHealth
NovuHealth is the leading healthcare consumer engagement company, offering rewards and incentive programs that improve consumer health and plan performance. NovuHealth applies proven loyalty and data science strategies and leverages its deep industry and regulatory expertise to motivate high-value consumer activities. Headquartered in Minneapolis, NovuHealth has worked with nearly 40 health plans and served more than 15 million consumers across all 50 states. Learn more at

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