Article | Marketing

The Best Health Insurance Companies Have One Thing in Common: They’re Emotion-based

Joe Dahlkemper
L female smiling on phone at desk
L female smiling on phone at desk

Are people more emotional—and less rational—than we like to think? 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.

There is no industry more influenced by emotion than health insurance.

When emotion is a building block of the customer experience and purchase decision process, you have to engage using emotional intelligence. Although we can’t solve everything related to health care and health insurance here at Hallmark, we can do our part to help companies create a competitive advantage by clearly articulating their emotion, their caring, their compassion and their hopes for better health for their members in a genuine and authentic way.

Our clients use us as part of their business strategies, not just because it feels good, but because it works. Our solutions impact quality scores, Medicare open enrollment success, member satisfaction and engagement, direct marketing response rates and the ability to assess the risk of a population—all by breaking through with a Hallmark card that conveys your emotional investment in their health. With Hallmark cards, your message will get opened, read, understood and acted on better than other format.

Every aspect of the health insurance purchase, use and repurchase decision is highly emotive:

“If I go to the doctor, I don’t know what will happen. I’m not sure I want to know.”
“If I don’t have that test, will it reduce my quality of life? What will happen to my family?”
“I know I should manage my diabetes better, but I just can’t seem to do it.”
“Which plan should I pick this year? I might as well pick a new one or the cheapest one, as the last one didn’t really do anything for me.”

Need more proof? Consider these three big ideas that demonstrate how the health insurance industry is highly influenced by emotion.

1. Health insurance is among the lowest-rated industries for customer satisfaction.

The health insurance industry is a highly demanding marketplace. From an uncertain regulatory environment to intense data security requirements and increasingly unhealthy populations, there is greater demand for services than supply. This impacts health insurers’ ability to be perceived as being in touch with how customers feel and leaves customers feeling like their health insurer just doesn’t care.

2. Population management requires trust between the health insurer and their members.

The early detection of disease and the management of unhealthy populations are at the heart of what health insurance is intended to do. In my work with Hallmark Business Connections’ health insurer clients, I am certain that health plans are passionate, determined and focused on improving the overall health of their members. The problem is that in doing so, they often look “big brotherish.” By the very nature of what they do, it is difficult, and often impossible, to build enough trust between the health insurance company and the members to influence healthy behaviors.

3. Maintaining loyalty and acquiring new members require differentiation in the marketplace.

Not all health insurance markets allow for members to pick their plan, but more and more are. In the Medicare market specifically, enrolling members for the first time, and then making sure they continue to pick your plan, is vital to overall net member growth. Being perceived as different (and better) than other health insurance plans is the only way to get someone to say yes to you and no to someone else.

If you’d like to learn more about applying emotional intelligence in member engagement, contact us.