Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health plans have had to go beyond typical consumer behavior data to assess the impact of consumerism on the industry. Retail and health care are converging, with consumerism the primary intersection. Organizations like the International Data Corporation encourage health plans to look to the retail industry as a best practice for evaluating the evolving dynamics of consumer behaviors and expectations.
With this year’s enrollment period just around the corner, health plans face new competition as employer-based coverage gives way to government-based and individual health plans. Many health plans have cost-per-acquisition concerns that are requiring them to develop new, more cost-effective approaches in order to remain competitive. In addition, some innovative plans are exploring ways to unlock the value of existing assets, like contact center interactions, to take a more consumer-centric approach to attract, engage, and retain members.
Review recommendations on consumer engagement here.
Approaches for attracting, engaging and retaining members
As health plan competition heats up, so too are consumers’ demands for convenience and value. Innovative health plans are therefore focusing on the consumer experience to keep costs low and differentiate themselves in the marketplace with these types of strategies:
- Leverage marketing to drive positive consumer experiences. Are you reaching the right consumers with the right message through the right channels? How well are your campaigns and website driving consumers to engage with you? Evaluate budget-spend against ROI as you strategize future marketing efforts.
- Assess best practices to alleviate costs. Make it easier for consumers to do business with you by making resources readily available, promoting self-service, and streamlining processes to reduce costs.
- Strengthen proactive retention efforts for easier renewals. It’s important to understand who’s leaving your plan and why in order to develop proactive retention strategies that allow you to intervene before a member decides to cancel.
- Get to know your customer. Consider each interaction a relationship-building opportunity that provides valuable insights about your customers. Use this data to define communication strategies that are specific to each member, highly actionable and successful in attracting, engaging and creating loyal members.
Meeting members where they are, and in the way they prefer, is key to successful communications. Contact center interactions can offer a personal, proactive way to communicate with members and assist with enrolling or re-enrolling in a plan. Mobile, web and email, as well as live chats, can offer a plan a multitude of avenues for reaching consumers during the critical enrollment period and supporting them throughout their plan membership.
Optum has developed an award-winning consumer-centric, patent pending approach to consumer interactions and provides high-value contact center sales, service and retention. We help consumers navigate the complexities of health care through exceptional consumer experiences grounded in executional excellence and a continuous focus on innovation. Learn about it here.
12016 Optum payer research, small sample size.
About the author:
Senior Vice President of Consumer Sales and Service
Linda is responsible for the product development and direction of Optum Distribution’s call centers. She designs the contact center solutions and capabilities offered to clients to drive customer acquisition, loyalty and retention. Linda and her team drive contact center solutions across the continuum of people, process and technology in the health care arena based on industry best practices, client strategies and Optum innovations.