Article | Business Relationships

Hallmark Cards are the Best Way to Engage MA Members to Improve Stars, CAHPS, Retention and to Close Gaps

Joe Dahlkemper
MA Member-aged Person with a Hallmark Card
MA Member-aged Person with a Hallmark Card

Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported that the number of health plans offering Medicare Advantage (MA) to eligibles has nearly doubled in the past 5 years. This increase in competition has made it more important than ever for health plans to get the most out of their outreach campaigns. So, when looking to increase CAHPS scores, improve Star ratings and retain members, what is the best way to communicate? For the Medicare Advantage audience, the answer is clear: direct mail.

One reason is that printed pieces, more so than digital posts, confer credibility and improve the chances a message is taken seriously. Royal Mail Research Report found that recipients associate direct mail with being “official, formal, reliable, important and personal.” With this trust, direct mail is best positioned to actually influence the decision-making process for MA eligibles.

Another strong advantage direct mail holds over digital communication: life span.

Average Life Span

From USPS Mail Data

17 Seconds Email Lifespan Icon
17 Days Greeting Card Lifespan Icon

Digital communication is on the rise, but it would be a mistake to write-off direct mail. Many health plans still consider direct mail to be the workhorse for member communication. Organizations that take advantage of this format can see great successes.

Direct mail boasts significantly larger response rates when compared to online and digital marketing efforts. A direct mail campaign is considerably more effective at generating visibility, awareness, and engagement than its digital counterparts.

Lbox Communication

The Best Direct Mail Format: Hallmark Greeting Cards

Greeting cards offer a unique opportunity to deliver important professional messages in a format that cuts through the clutter. It’s the personal nature of a greeting card that makes people pause and take notice—especially when you send a Hallmark card.

STAT 72 percent

72% of consumers prefer Hallmark greeting cards over other greeting cards.

SOURCE: HBC Quantitative Consumer Direct Marketing Communications Study
89 Percent Purple Icon

89% of Hallmark card recipients give the highest satisfaction rating on surveys.

SOURCE: Health Plan-reported results

Our products leverage the iconic and trusted Hallmark name. Signature details and strong brand equity stand out and ensure Hallmark cards are opened, read, understood and acted up better than any other direct mail format.

One of the Most Trusted Brands of All Time

Number 1 Icon

#1 Greeting Card Brand

SOURCE: 2022 Harris Poll Equitrend Study
85 Percent Icon

85% Brand Recognition

SOURCE: 2022 Harris Poll Equitrend Study
13 Percent Icon

Top 13% of All Trusted Brands

SOURCE: 2022 Harris Poll Equitrend Study

After all, when was the last time you didn’t open a Hallmark card you received?

Real Results from Real Clients

A large regional health plan was attaining a 5% mammogram completion rate by mailing a traditional letter with a $25 incentive. After switching the letter to a Hallmark card, their mammogram completion rate jumped to 44%! This enabled better health outcomes for patients, greater use of health plan resources and a fuller member experience.

Open Blue Greeting Card Icon

44% of women completed their mammograms vs. 5% of women completed their mammograms.

SOURCE: Health plan-reported results

Other Hallmark clients see similar improvements. To coincide with CAPHS surveys in March, we advise health plan clients to reach out to members with an early spring greeting. One client reported that after HBC’s support on a February mailing, their health plan improved in 8 of 9 measures on the CAHPS survey. Another client shared that 85% of their members felt their health plan appreciated them after they received a Hallmark card mailing.

How Your Business Can Succeed with Hallmark Cards

An experienced partner to health plans, Hallmark Business Connections has developed a five-step process for developing and evaluating direct mail greeting card campaigns.

  1. Identify an objective. Whether you hope to increase CAHPS scores, improve star ratings, close gaps, acquire new members, retain existing members or see some other result, having a clear goal in mind guides the campaign.

  2. Set a target audience. It is imperative to evaluate your data and use those findings to segment your lists. Then you can determine which members should be reached when and with what messages.

  3. Craft a greeting card touchpoint. Our team will help you design and personalize the perfect Hallmark card that considers relevant details such as the sending occasion, tone, call-to-action and time of the mailing.

  4. Test and measure. By taking advantage of technologies like QR and UTM codes to track engagement, you can see how members interact with new initiatives.

  5. Learn. After evaluating what was and was not successful, Hallmark can help you determine go-forward tactics that are best for your health plan and members.

If you are interested in seeing case studies or learning how Hallmark Business Connections can support your organization, contact Joe Dahlkemper, MA Member Engagement Strategy Lead, at