Leveraging Member Communications to Build Engagement

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 communication channels they are already receiving, reading, and responding to.

Clarity is on a mission to help health plans do just that. But 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.


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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 pharmacy 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 on it.

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

Defining “Enhanced”

A study conducted by J.D. 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. J.D. Power found that overall member satisfaction increased 209 points (on a 1,000-point scale) when plans meet these three key performance indicators related to information and communication:

  • Clear – Providing adequate and transparent information around out-of-pocket costs, copays, deductibles, and potential savings.
  • Helpful – Providing educational materials of value to help members understand and manage their health.
  • Proactive – Providing useful reminders related to preventive services.

The study also found that only 15% of Medicare Advantage plans included all three of those components in their communications and that consumers believed they were 3.3x more likely to receive helpful information from a bank than from a health plan.

Forrester also conducted a study that examined the longitudinal development of relationships and consumers’ perception of their health plan. A key finding was that members feeling appreciated by their health plan was a major indicator of retention. Members who felt appreciated were 66% more likely to stay with a plan and 83% more likely to renew. On the flip side, members who felt frustrated with their health plan were more likely to leave their plan.

Further data provided by Engagys, a leading healthcare consumer engagement consulting and research firm, shows that the Medicare population is 10-15% more likely to engage when communications include sources of information or voices of authority that they deem credible.

Crafting communications with the goal of fostering satisfaction, trust, and appreciation among your members allows you to pinpoint the factors influencing these outcomes. Analyzing trends across your membership reveals how diverse groups respond to various changes, ultimately providing a roadmap for enhancing engagement.


Accelerate Member Engagement

Optimize member correspondence by driving increased engagement around high-priority initiatives to deliver measurable results.


The Tenets of Effective Communication

There is a balance to strike between the art and science of optimizing member communications. For each, we apply the lens of opportunity to consider how to personalize the content based on age, gender, location, and other factors to make the correspondence as relevant and useful as possible. We then harness 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.


Understanding your audience is crucial. During the planning phase, we invest significant time collaborating with health plans to understand the data they have available about their membership. Utilizing this information, we can segment audiences to tailor messaging and tone accordingly. For instance:

  • A new member should receive different materials compared to a renewing member.
  • A member who has already signed up for the portal should not receive a message to “Register Now.”
  • A Commercial member responds better to scarcity and exclusivity language than other lines of business.

As we put together the framework for communications, we typically start with the behavior and focus on the actions needed to complete that behavior. However, when considering your audience, segmentation becomes key to guiding them toward the right behavior and actions.

In our work with over 100 health plans, we’ve explored diverse population segments and experimented with strategies to drive behaviors within these groups. The crucial aspect is aligning with consumers at their current stage to encourage the desired next best action.


If you want a certain percent of your membership to perform an action, such as registering for your portal or downloading your app by year’s end, you need to take every opportunity between January and December to nudge members in that direction. Our experience has shown that repeating a message across multiple touchpoints and multiple modes of communication is very effective in getting people to complete a call to action.

Establishing a commmunications relationship with members has ongoing dividends, including optimized engagement opportunities, reduced likelihood of attrition, and strengthened relationships.


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

For non-responders, we have found that employing a more vibrant, colorful, consumer-centric look and feel leads to greater engagement. 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-type tone and language works better to get to that same goal. That’s why segmentation and testing-and-learning are so important.

Barriers to Care

In addition to segmenting your audience, it is just as important to understand and address their barriers to care. For example, if someone can’t get to a clinic, can we offer them an in-home assessment? Helping members stay within their home and still receive the care and information they need can have a high value and impact for both the member and the health plan.

By addressing barriers and providing members with options to overcome them, we’ve helped plans see a 50% increase in colorectal screenings, a 25% increase in statin adherence, and a 30% increase in mammogram compliance.


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Enhance, Measure, Learn, Repeat

Clarity’s Accelerate Member Engagement solution is not a one-and-done approach. You can’t optimize 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 touchpoints throughout the year to build that relationship.

With each touchpoint, Clarity gathers data to measure which enhancements resonate with members. This process is key because although there’s no magic wand we 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 in your correspondence, even inadvertently. But in order to achieve the improvements in engagement you seek, you need to take an iterative approach 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 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 return on investment 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 initiatives. What if you had 10 additional touchpoints 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 reenrollment.