Article | Retention Strategy

3 Strategies to Boost Health Plan Retention

Joe Dahlkemper
Health Plan Conversion Rates Stat ARTICLE HERO IMAGE
Health Plan Conversion Rates Stat ARTICLE HERO IMAGE

Numerous health insurance companies have entered the Medicare Advantage market in recent years, creating new competition and new benefit offerings. Medicare members are influenced by the changes, with many of them shopping and switching during the 2022 Annual Enrollment Period. The significance of the changes is causing health plans to rethink their marketing strategies.

As a result of the increased competition, member retention becomes a more significant factor in marketing strategies, and plans may need to allocate more resources toward it.

How Can Health Plans Prioritize Member Retention in a Crowded Industry?

Competition in the healthcare industry has increased, so how can companies find their way to greater retention when customers have so many more options at their fingertips?

The key for health plans is to define their audience. While most marketing tactics have the ability to retain customers, what works for one demographic won’t work for another. Fortunately, segmenting the audience by generations could help provide insight into which tactics are most trustworthy, valued, and successful.

Take Baby Boomers, for instance. When this generation shops online, they’re willing to spend more time reading reviews, they’re especially motivated by good deals, and they value loyalty. Marketing strategies that will be particularly suitable for Baby Boomers are customer service improvements and clear, simple messaging through a mix of traditional and digital advertising channels.

Alternatively, the silent generation is looking for products and services that make life easier. This generation values family, community, and respect, so they expect the same courtesy when shopping for health plans. Defining an audience and their corresponding values can help determine the marketing mix and allow health plans to make strategic shifts to retain members.

Creative Campaigns: Using Hallmark Greeting Cards for Member Retention

The good news is the quest for health plan retention has unlocked some very creative approaches.

For example, health plans can partner with Hallmark to send out Thanksgiving cards to Medicare-eligible members. As a marketing tactic, sending a Hallmark card can positively impact direct mail campaigns, as the Hallmark brand is trusted and recognized by 85% of the population. A message of gratitude provides an authentic message of appreciation and is particularly effective during the Annual Enrollment Period when people are making their purchasing decisions.

Another example of a creative marketing campaign is sending Valentine's Day cards to members just before the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey.

This unexpected holiday message of appreciation reminds members just how valued they are to the business. According to health plans that have used this strategy, the results have been positive, with 85% of Hallmark card recipients feeling appreciated by their health plan.

3 Strategies to Help Health Plans Maximize Retention

Health plan member retention will be critical for companies to thrive amid rising competition in the healthcare industry. Here are some tactics that could give health plans a competitive edge:

1. Track and prioritize member satisfaction.

While health plans are responsible for providing benefits, many factors that improve member satisfaction will be out of the health plan’s control. Things like trouble making medical appointments, long wait times, and social determinants can greatly impact a member’s satisfaction with the plan. For that reason, health plans can prove themselves by taking responsibility for member satisfaction and helping to solve those external problems. Members will be grateful for them venturing the extra mile.

2. Stay in touch.

When it comes to health, clarity and transparency can mean the difference between confusion and comfort. Reach out frequently to members, new and old, with helpful information. Begin new relationships by engaging immediately. Support new members by sending welcome packets providing key information so they may take advantage of everything offered by their new plan.

Members are most engaged when first joining a plan, but support shouldn’t end after the welcome period. An easy and effective way to display continued support is the ability to efficiently, accurately, and personally answer questions and calm concerns when members contact the health plan.

3. Invest in Care.

When members call in with questions, make sure that your staff can get them answers in an efficient and personal manner. Take the opportunity to build an authentic connection and build your brand value. One of the key benefits of Hallmark's Care platform for contact center agents is the ability to create extended member interactions, which have been shown to deepen emotional connections with the brand and decrease attrition rates. By sending personalized Hallmark cards, health plans can provide unexpected moments of care and demonstrate their commitment to their members' well-being.

With Care, health plans are able to increase member loyalty and retention. The benefits of sending Hallmark greeting cards don't stop there, as client-reported results have shown that mailing Hallmark cards to potential leads can result in up to 70% higher conversion rates compared to not sending cards. Ultimately, the personalized touch of a Hallmark card can make a significant difference in attracting and retaining new members.

The benefits of customer loyalty in healthcare are self-evident, and amid rising competition creating a burden of choice for consumers, health plans need to be ready to support and incentivize that loyalty. Show up for customers, and they’ll show up for you.

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