Connecting the Dots: Leveraging Member Communications to Build Engagement

There’s an old fisherman’s maxim: fish where the fish are. As health plans elevate member engagement to a top priority, we’d like to suggest a new take on that maxim: engage members where they are already engaged, in other words, through the communications channels they are already receiving, and reading, and responding to with actions.

Clarity is on a mission to help health plans do just that. Why is Clarity, my printer, talking about engagement?

Because we’ve recognized the huge opportunity to test, learn, and optimize how you engage with your membership through the print channel. Let’s face it: the ID card packages, member guides, and EOBs you already mail to members could be doing so much more.

Additional Member Engagement. Zero Additional Effort.

The concept is simple: Plans have existing correspondence that’s actually touching their members multiple times a year. At the same time, plans want to drive increased participation in high priority member activities and benefits like portal registrations, chronic condition management programs, telehealth visits, mail order Rx enrollment, and more.

Health plans are asking how to maximize member engagement with their available resources. Clarity has a communication, correspondence, and engagement platform that allows health plans to leverage their correspondence to drive engagement with individual members.

So, we connected the dots with our Accelerate Member Engagement solution. Plans can use our SaaS technology and consultative services to enhance ID cards, EOBs, Member Guides, and other welcome and plan lifecycle correspondence to achieve better engagement and the strategic goals that depend upon it.

Here’s what that enhancement looks like and why it works.

Defining “Enhanced”

A study conducted by JD Power looked at the important elements of communications from health plans. They found that clear, helpful, and proactive information increased customer satisfaction and consumer perception of trust. JD Power found that overall member satisfaction increases 209 points (on a 1,000-point scale) when plans meet these three key performance indicators related to information and communication:

  • Clear – Clearly communicating to the member their out-of-pocket costs, deductibles, and providing adequate information and transparency around costs and savings.
  • Helpful – Providing educational materials of value to members in understanding and managing their health.
  • Proactive – Providing useful reminders related to preventive-based services.

The study also found that only 15% of Medicare Advantage plans were including all three of those components in communications, and that consumers believed they were 3.3 times more likely to get helpful information from a bank over a health plan.

Forrester also conducted a study that examined the longitudinal development of relationship and the consumers’ perception of their health plan. A key finding was that a member feeling appreciated, versus having a negative association or frustration with their plan, was a more accurate indicator of whether the member stayed with that plan. 66% of members were more likely to stay with a plan when they felt appreciated and 83% were more likely to renew. The inverse is also possible; If you cause frustration or negativity, those members are more likely to leave you.

Data provided by Engagys, a leading healthcare consumer engagement consulting and research firm, shows that if you included a source of information the member deems credible, or a voice of authority, the Medicare population was 10-15% more likely to engage.

If you craft a communication with the intention of engendering satisfaction, trust, and appreciation among your members, you can identify the elements that move the needle in those directions. Across a membership, trends will become evident that identify how different populations respond to each change and a roadmap for improved engagement becomes evident.

The Tenets of Effective Communication

There is a balance that needs to be struck between the art and science of optimizing member communications. For each, we apply the lens of opportunity to consider how can we further personalize a communication’s content based on age, demographics, and location, and other factors to make the information included in that letter more relevant and useful.

We apply best practices of behavior change principles to motivate members to take action. These tenets of effective engagement are how Clarity learns what works and with whom.

Segmentation

We spend a lot of time in the planning of stage understanding what data we have available about your membership and examining the population file that you are sending us. Using that information, we can segment audiences for appropriate messaging and tone:

  • Speaking to a Millennial is going to be a very different interaction than speaking to a Baby Boomer.
  • A new member should receive a different message that a renewing one.
  • Print can have more impact on members that are not digitally-engaged.

As we put together the framework for communications, segmentation into cohorts by past behavior helps us identify the best way to guide members to the desired future behavior:

As we examine certain groups and experiment with ways of driving behaviors within those groups, we’ve found that an Achiever is going to need a different type of nudge than a Distracted or Disengaged member.

We’ve also learned there are differences within population segments in how people respond to urgency language. In an experiment we ran last year, we tested urgency language versus value-based language and found differences in how that resonated with each group.

Repetition

If you want X percent of our membership to perform an action, like registering for your portal or downloading your app by year’s end, you need to take every opportunity between January and December to nudge the member in that direction along the way.

After a year of testing, our experience has shown that when we repeat a message across multiple touchpoints, the percentage of people taking the desired action grows each time.

Design

We’re passionate about print; how it looks, what makes it engaging, and how can we use design to help the reader digest the information quickly.

For non-responders, we’re utilizing a more vibrant, colorful, consumer-centric look and feel; the reality is that there are some people who only respond to a message in big red type with an exclamation mark. For others, a more somber, final notice tone and language helps that person get to that same goal.

Barriers to Care

In addition to segmenting your audience it is just as important to understand and address any barriers they face to care. For example, if someone can’t get to the clinic, can we offer them an Uber or Lyft? Or an in-home assessment? Helping members stay within their home and still receive the care and information they need can be high value, high impact, and remove barriers.

By addressing barriers and providing members with options to overcome them, Engagys shows that plans can see a 50% increase in colo-rectal screenings, a 25% increase in statin adherence, and a 30% increase in mammogram compliance.

Enhance, Measure, Learn, Repeat

Clarity’s Accelerated Member Engagement is not a one-and-done approach. You can’t spruce up one touchpoint in advance of open enrollment and expect to win over members still on the fence about renewal. Plans need to start the journey now and maximize the impact of touch points throughout the year to build that relationship.

With each touchpoint, Clarity gathers data to measure which enhancements resonate with members. That process is key because while there is no magic wand any plan can wave to instantly generate emotional equity; our process has proven to identify the elements of your print communications program that will.

You may already be applying some of these best practices within your correspondence; perhaps inadvertently. But in order to achieve the improvements in engagement you seek, you need to take an iterative process that continually builds on lessons learned.

Measurement allows us to quantify which enhancements work for which audience, and apply those insights to lift the results for all communications we send thereafter. Clarity’s AME Insights Dashboard is a visual feedback loop, providing real-time analytics on what communications drive the most action for every individual in every cohort.

Monitoring and analyzing the strategic performance of correspondence versions provides an immediate ROI as the ‘best’ versions of letters, stickers, and Member Guides can be identified and utilized across the membership.

What Does the Future of Member Correspondence Look Like?

You’re charged with getting members to accomplish specific calls to action as your contribution to your health plan’s strategic objectives. What if you had ten additional touch points throughout the year and proven techniques to encourage members to complete those calls to action? The reality is, you do.

You have an unbelievable level of access to your membership within the Clarity product suite. Last year, Clarity mailed over 72 million ID cards alone. That’s 72 million opportunities we can offer plans to interact with members, boost engagement and build the kind of emotional equity that secures re-enrollment.

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