Oxford Uses Humor in Mailings to Remind Men About Checkups

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Oxford Health Plans, Norwalk, CT, last month mailed three varieties of self-mailer, fold-out cards to more than 100,000 members reminding them to visit their doctor for a checkup.

The colorful, five-inch by nine-inch mailers use humor to reach each of three different age groups: 22-34, 35-49 and 50-64.

The mailings were part of Oxford's Active Partner program, which encourages early detection and treatment and supports Oxford's preventative guidelines. The program uses confidential analyses of claims data to create reminders that are mailed to members of the health plan based on their age and gender.

In addition to the checkup reminders, the company also mails preventative screen reminders for mammograms, Pap smears, diabetic retinal eye exams, immunizations and flu shots.

The recent mailings were sent to men who had not seen a doctor in the past 15 to 24 months. They each used a brief teaser on the outside that did not reveal the true nature of the message.

In the mailer targeting men aged 35-49, for example, the outside of the card said only "Do you remember…", followed by a series of flaps that recounted images from the 1960s and 1970s, with the final flap bearing the completed question "…the last time you had a physical?"

The mailers go on to explain the importance of having regular checkups, with the wording tailored to target each of the different age groups. In that same mailer targeting the middle-aged group, for example, part of the copy reads "Too young to have any health problems? So were Darryl Strawberry and Walter Payton."

The copy of each of the three mailers ends with a call to action: "Call your doctor today to schedule your physical."

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