In the midst of Health Reform continues to unfold, The speed of change is increasing up speed as new models for reimbursement access, care delivery, and reimbursement are beginning to take form.
The shifts in the healthcare provider side are an improvement for the many Americans who require better care by the healthcare system, especially as a large portion of patients suffering from chronic illness aren’t receiving the care they require. Add to that the fact that a majority of patients don’t adhere to their medications and treatment regimens or follow the recommended lifestyle and change in their health habits, and it’s easy for one to recognize some of the issues that lie ahead.
This is the area where the payer and health insurance plans, in particular, can be of great help.
Health plans have easy access to data on claims as well as other pertinent clinical information as well as a direct line to their members to provide targeted communications and medical interventions. Although not a typical strategic necessity, health plans offer a unique opportunity to drive behavior change, lower risks, and create positive results for the health of their customers.
Many plans already offer members with portals for members and other valuable sources, and a lot of plans have started to concentrate on expanding these services and initiatives to increase their effectiveness and value. However, in order to be competitive in this ever-changing market, they’ll have to shift their thinking and approach to be more oriented towards consumers.
After an entire decade of slow expansion, Healthcare Consumerism has begun to grow. The number of people who are enrolled in high-deductible insurance policies (HDHPs) has reached an all-time high and 23% of employees with insurance through their employers enrolling with an HDHP. Other new factors, such as price comparison tools, high-quality reviews, and retail health options, will continue to place more power in the hands of the consumer.
Health plans have to adapt to this trend and create strategies or collaborate with the best service providers to serve their member population. This places greater demands on outreach to members in order to ensure that interactions are constructive, meaningful, relevant, and build trust.
This isn’t going to be simple. Recent studies reveal a colossal distrust between insurers and clients. According to the KMB Group survey of 34,000 customers, shows that just 22% of the members have their health insurance as a “trusted company.” This is in contrast to 80% of doctors.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) report shows that customers’ satisfaction with health plans decreased in 2013 and 2014. saying, “There is no area that health insurance providers can’t provide outstanding customer service.”
Engagement with members is an emerging area for many health plans, and in light of Medicaid expansion and the surge of older Medicare members as well as the newly insured, it’s more important to offer consumer-oriented communications, as well as interventions.
In the future, as Star Ratings and other quality metrics become more prominent and brand preferences and loyalty become crucial aspects, health plans will soon find themselves striving to provide the best customer experience and member engagement.
We can identify a range of areas that require to be considered when the development of a member engagement strategy.
1. Learn the way consumers think and behave in their personal health and health care world.
Health plans should undertake a thorough and transparent examination of the outreach they provide to members, as well as any and all ongoing interactions, customer service aspects, and the related functions. This is the most crucial beginning point to make meaningful changes and could help reveal insights about the process used by consumers. Furthermore, fields like behavioral economics can provide a wealth of insights and could be an excellent guideline for developing an effective communication strategy for members.
2. Implement a member-centric marketing strategy built around their needs and preferences.
Utilizing a mindset of marketing to consumers when establishing the communication strategy and determining measurable actions, health plans must become a trusted partner. Strategic messaging must be integrated into all touchpoints with members and other aspects of outreach. A lot of health plans depend on old correspondence from their chief medical Officers as the introduction to various health enhancement initiatives. Get rid of them and look for ways to make the information relevant, helpful, and acceptable to the person who receives it.
3. Integrate and align all health improvement offerings.
A majority of health insurance plans are able to tick all the boxes with regard to their services in health as well as managing care, disease management, coordination of pharmacy, as well as a variety of other options; however, bringing them all together into a single solution is what customers really desire and require. By providing an additional layer of assessment and feedback, plans can ensure members get the best services relevant for them.
There are a variety of ways health plans could think about expanding their capabilities to become engaged and focused on members. There’s plenty they can do to influence member behaviors, reduce risk, and improve overall health outcomes. All of which can result in better margins and higher returns.
Health plans are able to learn and apply a number of consumer-oriented marketing techniques from other sectors, and all of them can help create positive experiences for patients in the healthcare industry. When it comes to a health insurance consumer market, the top performers are likely to be those that are able to achieve the highest levels of participation of the members.