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Effective Steps for Health Insurance Marketing, Consumer Engagement

Optimizing the health insurance marketing process and consumer engagement experience can help payers improve satisfaction.

Optimizing health insurance marketing requires customer-first approach

Source: Thinkstock

By Thomas Beaton

- Creating and deploying effective health insurance marketing and consumer engagement plans can be difficult for payers in today’s complex purchasing landscape.  

Payers must focus on building strong brands, clear messaging, and effective customer outreach that make a company’s offerings stand out in a market filled with competition.

How can payers follow best practices from some of the largest, most successful insurance companies to develop meaningful marketing campaigns and encourage consumers to meet their clinical and financial responsibilities in a positive, collaborative way?

Profile consumers to build strong buyer personas

Developing a clear understanding of the geographic, demographic, and lifestyle factors of beneficiaries is a powerful marketing tactic for payers.

Consumer profiles allow payers to target affordable products to a consumer base that is willing to purchase their health plans. For example, for patients living in very rural areas without convenient access to a major hospital, an insurance plan with a telehealth option may significantly improve care.

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Meaningful consumer profiles include an analysis of as many possible buyer challenges as possible.

Once payers finish profiling ideal buyers, they should build messaging and communication materials that reflect the lifestyle improvements their potential consumers are looking for. That can range from high quality chronic care, provider options for specific services, wellness, and cosmetic improvements.

Humana targets much of its marketing to an important part of its consumer base: younger families looking to purchase family health plans, but who may not fully understand the insurance landscape. Their product page demonstrates this by educating younger families with FAQs and related guides on insurance definitions and guidelines.

Use metrics to communicate health product benefits

Outside of pricing, metrics that display strong patient outcomes give consumers a sense of security that a plan is an effective solution to their healthcare needs. These facts and figures can help payers highlight the number of consumers who bought their plan as well as the resulting satisfaction rates.

Presenting numbers and statistics in a clear, encouraging manner assists in creating compelling content and thought leadership, making a health plan’s brand even more appealing to new consumers.

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For example, Aetna uses numbers regularly throughout their content feed which helps consumers understand the wait times and satisfaction rates for teledermatology visits.

Cigna also provides website visitors a snapshot brochure, that highlights their customer service capabilities, and details the vast number of healthcare facilities available in their global care networks.

Invest in technology to improve product navigation and point of sale

Purchasing a new plan, changing coverage options, or even renewing an existing policy can be confusing and challenging for many consumers.  Payers who make the enrollment and renewal process as simple and streamlined as possible are likely to see higher satisfaction scores from their customers.

Enrollment technology solutions can not only improve the productivity of health plan employees, but can also make the buying experience easier and more enjoyable for consumers. A good enrollment platform gives buyers transparency and ease of use when searching for a health plan.

Other digital marketing best practices include improving website navigation, enabling mobile device purchasing, and creating clear call-to-action features that guide users through the necessary buying steps.

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On the Anthem home page, large, simple buttons like “Get Quote” and “Shop Plans” make it clear how to proceed so customers on the website aren’t struggling to navigate the process.

Reach out to patients, excel in customer service to build “product champions”

In any business, “the customer is always right.” Payers that are creating marketing campaigns for their products have to emphasize this line of thinking.

Forums and other feedback options allow active customers to communicate with health plan employees. When executed correctly, these tools can help payers collect data that allows them to turn customer feedback into positive health plan adjustments.

Providing multiple support lines such as chat, call, email for insurance products helps to get the right product into the hands of the right consumers.

This involves having health plan employees guide consumers through purchasing, authorizing, and ultimately building trust with a customer over time. The five payers with the largest revenues in the US all have these buyer navigation services through several lines of communication.

Once that trust is built, payers should reach out through social channels and other means to build testimonial marketing.

Having customers “champion” a health plan through positive reviews can promote it to incoming customers without the use of other resources. Responsive customer service is the fastest, and one of the most effective ways, to increase a health plan’s competitive value in the healthcare market.

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