Two of the biggest steps for keeping health plan members

February 11, 2021
Josie Rasberry

For health plans of all types and sizes, member retention is a significant measure of success. Growing membership is of course important, but you want to keep your members once you get them. Sometimes members leave for reasons you can’t control, such as lifestyle changes or changes in employment. But, there are easy and low-cost strategies you as a health plan can utilize to keep the members who leave for reasons that you can control. There are of course several ways to do this, but we’re going to look at just two of the most substantial ways you can keep members. These two steps alone are so influential, that just using #2 could help you retain 27% of members who might have otherwise switched.

Offer easy-to-understand resources.

We all know confusion and misunderstanding information are two of the reasons people dislike healthcare so much. Members are already stressed out about their medical situation, so when they go to their health plan for information and help but are met with even more confusion…well, it’s not good.

A study by VisibleThread found that 56.6% of insurance companies communicate in an academic tone with excessive use of passive voice, and 66% of insurers produce content more difficult to read than Moby Dick. When members can’t understand their coverage, they’re left frustrated with your health plan and may be tempted to leave. Especially if this confusion leads to them making a poor or costly healthcare decision.

Analyze your member resources, health plan documents, and even your website by using software that tells you the readability and clarity of all these resources. Since you’re covering healthcare there are some terms and phrases that are inherently complex and can’t be avoided. But the language you can make clearer, absolutely do. Not only will this help your members to better understand their coverage, but it will also set you apart from competitors by giving your plan a friendly, modern voice. Using language that the average person can understand will help them trust you more, and will make members want to stay with your health plan.

Digital experiences.

It’s clear we live in a digital age (understatement of the year.) Online shopping, food delivery, social media, and so much more has created a culture that expects convenience, quickness, and simplicity. People are also more and more preferring to have various experiences through digital channels, rather than in-person. And COVID-19 has only accelerated this preference. Healthcare is no exception. In fact, a McKinsey & Company report found that consumers strongly prefer to have healthcare services through digital and online channels. For example, in 2018 41% of people strongly prefer to search for doctor ratings and reviews online.

There’s no question health plans need to adopt digital tools to make their members happy. A 2018 Cognizant report found that health plans offering digital capabilities outperformed others in overall member satisfaction and retention by nearly 5%. Also, satisfaction levels for online and digital self-service features increased from 57% to 74% in 2018. Not to mention that 27% of people surveyed said they switched health plans in 2018 because their new payer had better/more self-service options.

Based on consumer expectations, a few digital capabilities you could easily implement for little cost are platforms that allow members to search and compare medical services. Bonus points if you offer a platform that allows them to also manage their health and pay medical bills on top of being able to shop for medical services.

When looking to retain your members, you don’t have to do a complete overhaul of your organization. Just a few meaningful actions can make a world of difference. As reported throughout this blog, two of the biggest (and easiest) steps you can take as a health plan to retain members is using easy-to-understand language for members and offering digital capabilities for better healthcare experiences.

Download the Complete Guide to Retaining Health Plan Members.

Learn the best strategies and tips for retaining your members while keeping costs low.

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