Direct-to-Member Household or Targeted Mailings: Incentivizing Medicaid Calls for Quitline Services

Eve Angeline Hood-Medland, Melanie S. Dove, Susan L. Stewart, Sharon E. Cummins, Carrie Kirby, Cynthia Vela, Neal D. Kohatsu, Elisa K. Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Innovative methods are needed to promote tobacco cessation services. The Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking project (2012–2015) promoted modest financial and medication incentives to encourage Medi-Cal smokers to utilize the California Smokers’ Helpline (Helpline). This article describes the implementation and impact of two different direct-to-member mailing approaches. Methods: Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking promotional materials were mailed directly to members using two approaches: (1) household mailings: households identified through centralized membership divisions and (2) individually targeted mailings: smokers identified by medical codes from Medi-Cal managed care plans. Mailings included messaging on incentives, such as gift cards or nicotine patches. Number of calls per month, calls per unit mailed, and associated printing costs per call were compared during and 1 month after mailings. Activated caller response was based on reporting a household mailing promotional code or based on requesting financial incentives for individually targeted mailings. Analyses were conducted in 2018. Results: Direct-to-member mailings, particularly with incentive messaging, demonstrated an increase in call volumes during and 1 month after mailing, and increased Medi-Cal calls to the Helpline per unit mailed. Mailings with only counseling messages had the lowest percentage of activated calls per unit mailed, whereas the incentive messaging mailings were consistently higher. Although household mailings demonstrated lower printing costs per call, individually targeted mailings had a higher percentage of activated calls per unit mailed. Conclusions: Household and individually targeted mailings are feasible approaches to increase Medi-Cal calls to the Helpline, particularly with incentive messaging. Choosing an approach and messaging depends on available resources, timing, and purpose. Supplement information: This article is part of a supplement entitled Advancing Smoking Cessation in California's Medicaid Population, which is sponsored by the California Department of Public Health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S178-S185
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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