Article | Retention Strategy

How Health Plans Can Improve Experience and Satisfaction With Medicare Advantage Members

Joe Dahlkemper
Call center representative smiling ARTICLE HERO IMAGE
Call center representative smiling ARTICLE HERO IMAGE

There's no debate that member experience and satisfaction are crucial for attaining higher CAHPS scores and boosting member retention. One measure of customer satisfaction is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which gauges a member's inclination to refer and attract new business to a plan.

Recent data found that the NPS for the health insurance industry is near the bottom, only slightly above cable TV companies, and this could be a key factor in declining member loyalty or retention. Fortunately, there are several tactics you can utilize to boost your NPS rating, attract new members, and increase health plan member retention.

How an Improved Direct Mail Marketing Strategy Can Help Boost Customer Retention During AEP

Just before AEP begins in mid-September is an optimal time to connect directly with your Medicare Advantage (MA) members. Most health plans have strong internal analytics and are able to segment MA members into several categories, each requiring different messaging.

Detractors: This segment is usually defined as members who are dissatisfied with their health plan and likely to give a low score on a satisfaction survey or likely to attrite. AEP is the time when most members are assessing their current plans, shopping the competition, and making important decisions about which health plan to select for their MA coverage. By reaching members at this time, you can invite them to have a conversation with you to express their concerns and allow you an opportunity to clarify issues or questions around benefits.

Advocates: This segment of members, also referred to as "promoters," are happy with their health plan. They're more likely to give high scores on member satisfaction surveys and less likely to shop and switch. These members could receive a simple message soon after the ANOC letter is mailed, letting them know they don’t have to do anything during AEP and they will be automatically renewed with you.

To nurture relationships with your existing MA members, it's essential to monitor key indicators that reveal which members are advocates and which members are detractors or likely to attrite. These indicators could include but are not limited to members with lower income, those who have been with the plan for less than five years, and members between the ages of 65-75.

For example, according to Deft Research, seniors aged 65-66 were found to be 5% more likely to switch insurance than those over age 75. Additionally, seniors earning over $75,000 per year were more likely to remain loyal, while those earning less than $35,000 were more likely to shop for a new plan. However, the most notable finding was that 30% of health plan members who had their plan for less than six months switched or dropped, whereas only 12% switched or dropped when they had been plan members for one to five years.

These statistics demonstrate that health plan providers must pay attention to various demographic and behavioral factors when monitoring MA membership and loyalty. Specifically, lower-income members and those who are new to the plan may require additional support and resources to ensure their satisfaction and retention.

Fortunately, health plans can proactively engage with these members through personalized outreach and education to address their concerns and improve their overall experience. Additionally, health plans can use these indicators to identify members who may be more likely to switch plans and target retention efforts accordingly, such as offering personalized care plans or incentives for loyalty. By monitoring these key indicators and taking proactive steps to address them, health plan providers can build stronger relationships with their MA members and improve member satisfaction and retention.

For instance, one effective method to strengthen emotional connections with members is through the use of Hallmark greeting cards. These cards can be personalized and mailed to members on special occasions such as birthdays and holidays or to thank them for their loyalty. This combination of personalized outreach and emotional connection strategies through greeting cards can help health plans build stronger relationships with MA members and ultimately improve member satisfaction and retention.

How to Build Member Loyalty Through the Use of Hallmark Cards

The best health insurance companies all have one thing in common — they're emotion-based. A Forrester study revealed that emotion, defined as how people feel about a given experience, was the most influential factor affecting customer loyalty in 17 out of 18 industries. Few industries are more influenced by emotion than healthcare. When emotion is a building block of the member experience and purchase decision process, you must engage using emotional intelligence.

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Forrester study revealed that emotion, defined as how people feel about a given experience, was the most influential factor affecting customer loyalty in 17 out of 18 industries.

If you're looking to improve member experience, satisfaction, and retention, consider the power of personalized Hallmark cards to enhance your direct mail marketing strategy.

Given the significant weight that CAHPS scores have on overall Star Ratings, health plan clients typically have three sending occasions during the year: CAHPS preconditioning, during AEP, and for members' birthdays. Some recent client-reported results of utilizing Hallmark cards for driving member loyalty include:

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89% of Hallmark card recipients give the highest satisfaction rating on our surveys.

SOURCE: Client-report results
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From our five-year study, we proved that recipients of Hallmark cards have a 10% higher retention rate than non-Hallmark card recipients.

SOURCE: Client-reported results

Right after we mailed Hallmark cards to members as part of our CAHPS preconditioning strategy, we conducted a survey and found that 85% of members said they felt their health plan appreciated them!

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By sending personalized Hallmark cards that highlight your genuine care and commitment to your members' well-being, you build lasting relationships with your MA members. Here's how to get started:

1. Use Hallmark's Care platform.

One of the best ways to extend customer contact is by using our print-on-demand Care platform. When a member calls with a question or needs information, the call center representative can send a personalized Hallmark card to that member. This gesture is a pleasant surprise and a personal way to build a relationship with the member while improving their overall satisfaction.

2. Send greetings before the annual CAHPS survey and during AEP.

Health plans can send Hallmark cards right before the CAHPS survey begins in March. One of our clients reported that 89% of Hallmark card recipients give the highest possible rating on customer satisfaction surveys. This emotional connection plays a significant role in the member's overall satisfaction with their health plan. For example, consider sending a Hallmark card before Thanksgiving to remind members how much they are appreciated. This will help members remain loyal and deter potential plan shopping during AEP.

3. Provide personalized messaging.

Segment your members and allow Hallmark to craft the perfect message for each of your member groups. Personalized messages are a powerful tool to enhance member satisfaction. For instance, a plan can send a message to a member with a chronic condition, highlighting the plan's care management programs and resources. By tailoring communication to the member's specific needs, healthcare plans can enhance their personalized messaging and improve satisfaction.

Let's Build Customer Loyalty Together

At Hallmark Business Connections, we understand the importance of prioritizing member experience and satisfaction.

That's why we offer powerful direct mail marketing strategies, including personalized Hallmark cards, to enhance member satisfaction, improve NPS, and increase CAHPS scores and Star Ratings. By using our Care platform to deliver personalized member messaging, you can show your members that you truly care about them and their well-being, which ultimately leads to increased member retention.

Clearly, the health insurance industry is competitive. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of health plans offering MA has nearly doubled in the last five years. Retaining members can be a challenge. Fortunately, by prioritizing member experience and satisfaction and utilizing Hallmark's healthcare direct mail marketing strategies, you can make a real difference in the lives of your members and your bottom line.

If you need more information or assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us here. We're always happy to help.