States are Harnessing the Benefits of Video to Boost Outreach and Enrollment

Have you ever watched an instructional video about how to cut an avocado? Or how to change a car tire? Even short, explanatory videos about some of the simplest tasks can garner thousands of views from individuals looking to learn a new skill. The complexities of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are no different. During our recent outreach and enrollment assistance scan, we found that about half the states are utilizing video to show in real time helpful concepts related to enrolling and renewing Medicaid and CHIP coverage.

Almost all states have an online portal where individuals can apply for and manage their Medicaid and CHIP benefits, and often other benefits such as food assistance, as well. In fact, the only way to apply online in any state is by first creating an account in order to complete the application. Given that the majority of states (41) have a YouTube channel, many have taken advantage of the platform to post videos that explain the online portal and/or how to create an account. As an example, Tennessee has an 8-minute video explaining their portal – TennCare Connect – and a 4-minute video about how to set up an online account.

Several states have created videos with step-by-step instructions on how to complete and submit Medicaid and CHIP applications. Medicaid and CHIP eligibility processes are often cumbersome and confusing, and these how-to videos help walk applicants and enrollees through various processes to enroll or retain coverage. Maine has a 3-part series narrated by a single mother with a 7-year-old son living in Lewiston who walks viewers through how to complete an online benefits application on My Maine Connection. Creating videos that showcase the online portal and walk through the necessary steps to apply are a great way to save families confusion and frustration when trying to figure out who’s eligible and how to enroll. Other online tutorials, such as this video from Delaware, describe the various ways someone can submit an application, including in-person, via mail, or via fax.

More than half of the states post how-to videos on renewals. This was the only aspect of the state outreach snapshot where we researched unwinding-related content because we wanted to assess whether states developed more content for unwinding renewals than annual renewals. We found that 11 states had videos for annual renewals, 27 states had videos for unwinding-specific renewals, 8 states had both, and 19 states had neither. The infusion of funding for unwinding-related activities and concern over the potential for significant coverage losses likely allowed for more content to be developed. States should repurpose these videos into evergreen content, focused on how to complete annual renewals.

Once created, how-to videos provide a long-lasting way for states to help individuals navigate online portals, benefit applications, and renewals. Longer how-to videos can be repurposed into short, bite-sized content pieces that work well on social media. Often instructional videos can encourage individuals to apply or renew coverage. These videos also simplify complicated processes and take some burden off state agencies by reducing manual data entry or time spent on the phone helping someone through the process. States without instructional videos would do well to take a play from other states’ playbooks by using the popularity and widespread reach of social media to reduce administrative burden for beneficiaries and state workers alike.