Why your membership base isn't growing (and how to fix it)

November 18, 2021
Josie Livengood

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So you’ve done everything you can think of to grow your health plan’s or health cost sharing group’s membership base, and you’ve still seen little to no growth. Your sales team has been sending emails like crazy, your marketing or advertising team has been putting out ads, and still nothing. We can assure you, hope is not lost! In this blog, we’ll dive into some reasons why your membership base may not be growing and (most importantly) how to fix that.

So why aren’t my growth strategies working?

One of the biggest reasons your growth may be stalling is because you aren’t offering anything differently than your competitors. Not only that, but you also might not look very different from your competitors. If you don’t differentiate yourself, in big ways, from your competition, then you just blend into one big blob of options. 

Another reason your plan isn’t growing like you’d like could be that you’re not speaking to specific concerns of specific populations. Consumers increasingly expect personalization as a standard in whatever they purchase. So if you’re sending the same general message or offering the same general coverage to everyone, you’re going to entice no one.

Our final reason why your membership base isn’t growing is that your current members aren’t happy. Word of mouth advertising is powerful; people trust people they know. If your members are constantly complaining about your plan, whether publicly online or privately to friends and family, that’s hurting your efforts to grow your membership.

How can I start to see growth in membership?

Now that we’ve gotten the challenges to growth out of the way, let’s discuss how we can address each of those so you can start seeing real increases in your membership.

What can you offer that differentiates you from competitors, but is also affordable? Patient advocacy services, like healthcare navigation. Healthcare navigation sets you apart because it shows members that you care about their health and their experience when they have a healthcare event. It also shows that you want them to quickly and easily find the best option for their needs. If you have a network of providers, offering healthcare navigation makes it easy for members to identify who is in their network and who isn’t. If you don’t have a network, healthcare navigation is even more important to offer since it allows members to search-and-compare providers based on price and needs. This level of care and personalization will not go unnoticed by potential members.

The solution for the second challenge we pointed out, is to get specific about who you’re speaking to. Do research or even run a survey to identify what patient populations are being underserved, and then fill that gap. You don’t even have to create new offerings or plans to do this. Just identify what benefits you offer that would be especially useful to specific groups, and then create a marketing and advertising campaign around that. Do you offer better than average coverage for families and have a large network of pediatricians? Highlight that! Do you have exceptionally affordable prescription co-pays for chronic conditions? Run ads specifically on that.

Lastly, let’s discuss how you can improve member satisfaction so you won’t continue to be hurt by bad word of mouth (or online) reviews. Member satisfaction in and of itself has several solutions, but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll give you one that’s highly effective: self-service features. 57.5% of Americans surveyed believe it’s important for their health plan to have digital self-service features. 30% said the availability of digital services affects which health plan they choose. By meeting this demand, you can improve member satisfaction ratings. Some self-service features members want that you can add are:

Final thoughts.

There are many reasons why your membership may not be growing, and each group is going to have its own unique challenges. But generally, there are shared pain points among plans of all kinds when it comes to membership growth. By addressing them, you can move forward with one or all of the solutions mentioned in this blog. If you’d like to learn more about how to implement these strategies into your offerings to grow your membership base, click here.

Download How to Leverage Ambulatory Surgical Centers for Lower Costs and Higher Satisfaction

Discover how TPAs, health cost sharing groups, and limited benefit medical plans can benefit from the use of ASCs.

Is Your Health Plan a Tech Whiz or a Dinosaur?

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Download the Patient Advocacy 2.0 White Paper

Discover what health plan members had to say about the value of patient advocacy in our survey.

Download the Complete Guide to Retaining Health Plan Members.

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

Download the Complete Guide to Growing Your Health Plan Membership

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

Download the Complete Guide to Lowering Member Costs

Discover what health plan members had to say about the value of patient advocacy in our survey.

Download Healthcare Consumerism 101: A Playbook for Health Plans

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

Download Your Guide to the Transparency in Coverage Rule

Discover how the the new rule will affect TPAs and health plans and how you can start your journey to compliance.

Download Your Guide to Unique Benefit Offerings that Don't Break the Bank

Discover how to add value to your health offerings that delight clients and members but don’t cost a fortune.

Download the Complete Sedera Case Study

Discover what health plan members had to say about the value of patient advocacy in our survey.

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