Case Study: ACA Subsidy Calculator – Marketing Tool

Private Marketing Firm and Several Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance Plans Chicago, IL

About The Project

We formed a partnership with a private marketing firm that was conducting market research on behalf of Health Insurance companies. The goal of the partnership was to develop a software application that would provide better prospective market data about members that were going to use the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health exchanges to purchase private insurance. A key component to the ACA was the Federal tax subsidy that the government provided to lower-income individuals to assist with their premium payments.

The actual exchange had not yet launched and the legislation about the tax subsidy was still in flux and very lengthy and complex. Insurance plans did not know how to calculate what the subsidy would be for a prospective member but lots of members were asking them about it. We contracted with the Blue Cross Association and some regional Co-Op plans to develop a customized experience that collected enough information from the prospective member to determine their federal subsidy, then showed our customers’ ACA exchange plan offerings, priced specifically for the member and showing what the price would be including the federal subsidy.

If the patient wanted to receive a copy of the results and the plan information, or to request a follow up call from the Insurance plan they could request it via email in the application. By consenting to receive the email they were consenting to being contacted by the Insurance Company marketing and member outreach. Although it was ultimately a marketing tool for qualified lead generation, it also served as an invaluable market research tool since the exchange plans were not yet live and plans had no way to know what the demographic and social makeup of the population that was going to sign up would be or what plans users would select to receive more information on. These insights at the infancy of the exchange allowed the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans to have a competitive advantage and get a “head-start” on their competition at a time when everyone wanted market data about these new exchanges.

We put together a very unique team for this project that required insights and a deep understanding of the health care laws, specifically but not limited to the ACA, as well as knowledge of the tax codes. Our subject matter experts worked with state governments and the federal government to create a “subsidy calculator” that accurately worked for all 50 states and D.C. Since the actual exchanges were not happening yet, we only had the legislation as it was written as a guide. We worked with their Plan Design and Member Outreach teams to create the plan line ups and load the rates. We worked with their Brand Marketing team to ensure continuity with their style guides so that the tool could be seamlessly embedded or linked from their existing member website.



The project was a success because of our expertise in the ACA legislation and the nuances of the tax codes written for the subsidy calculations. There was a lot of research that had to be done and outreach to the Federal and state governments to ensure the calculations were accurate.

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