With millions of previously uninsured healthcare consumers entering the marketplace, a dramatic shift from group to individual sales, and the impending launch of public Health Insurance Exchanges, the competitive landscape of healthcare is in the midst of a seismic shift. This represents a jump ball for health plans – with millions of members and billions of dollars up for grabs. How effectively health plans attract and retain those members will determine their success.
This creates a significant opportunity for the health plans that can turn this changing environment into a competitive advantage. The most successful healthcare businesses are the ones that influence clinical, financial, and patient experience outcomes, versus analyzing them after they occur, then mapping a response. In marketing, that means enabling contextual customer management – having the ability to respond more quickly with the right offer to a targeted individual or a group, based on multiple factors that determine the optimal mix of product, channel, pricing, and promotion. The prize for plans that embrace this approach is increased market share at a lower cost of acquisition.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Optimize Lead Conversion
By shining light on the benefit plan application process through increased visibility and automated real-time response, health plans can monitor prospect behavior and facilitate proactive marketing of the optimal product for the individual consumer, based on a contextual, multi-dimensional profile. And by tracking each new membership application, representatives can be prompted to take action on leads that have abandoned the process… very similar to today’s most web-based retailers.
This improves close rates and facilitates the shift from more expensive acquisition channels to cost-effective direct sales.
2. Facilitate Recapture / Retention
In marketing, it’s an age-old adage that it costs less to keep an existing customer than to attract a new one. This is about to become much more important in healthcare, due to the elimination of pre-existing condition barriers and the shift to a more consumer-driven purchase process.
By identifying the common behaviors of the members you’ve lost in the past, then targeting members who display a combination of those factors before they get to the point of attrition, you can take action proactively to stem any dissatisfaction before the member decides to leave. And members who have already left your plan can be stratified, qualified, and targeted with offers for more cost-effective recapture programs.
3. Adjust the Marketing Mix in Real Time
As in any marketing strategy, the faster you can measure results and adjust the offer mix, the more effective a campaign will be. Health plans with the ability to test, measure, and adjust all factors associated with the member acquisition programs more quickly are able to ensure they are using the optimal mix of member targeting, channel, message, product, and pricing. In the past, this would have required weeks of testing, followed by months of analysis. Now, results can be measured in real time, and offers adjusted on-the-fly.
4. Influence Behavior with Loyalty Programs
Using real-time information and proactive response to influence healthy behaviors is highly effective.
Imagine using a retail-style loyalty program, but instead of rewarding a customer for buying your brand of butter, you’re providing incentives for members to follow through with a smoking cessation program, to maintain a target weight over time, or to complete all sessions of a physical therapy program after injury. This isn’t just an academic exercise. It influences your members to lead a more healthy lifestyle. It can actually improve individual and population health.
5. Embrace the Exchange
As states scramble to establish their federally-mandated Health Insurance Exchanges, the health plans with advanced technical infrastructure and the ability to provide real-time, actionable insights will be best situated to compete for the opportunity to run the exchange. The very toolset required for this event-enabled marketing approach and contextual customer marketing will position a health plan for implementing and leveraging a public Health Insurance Exchange, which can be a tremendous revenue opportunity.
The Future is Now
Regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on the fate of the Affordable Care Act, expected in the coming days, one aspect of the future is clear – increased competition is here to stay.
Health plans that follow the prescription of using real-time information and proactive response to their advantage will be best positioned to reap the benefits of increased market share at a lower cost of member acquisition – with the positive side effects of improved population health and lower cost of care.
To learn more or speak with Ted DellaVecchia and Gary Ferguson, Chief Healthcare Strategists for TIBCO, stop by our booth at AHIP today, tomorrow or Thursday!