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    Four priorities your health plan must embrace to thrive in the future


    Priority #4: Personal touch

    Paul Keckley, PhD, an independent health researcher and policy analyst, agrees that successful health plans will embrace consumerism. But he cautions that the market is not homogenous. “Needs and preferences vary by health and socioeconomic status, preferences for approaches to medicine, et al. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to consumerism,” he says.

    He predicts a growing number of “customized health plans” whereby individuals, families and employers can choose levels of coverage, clinical care options, and value-added services—i.e., health coaches and access to medical records. “The notion is that insurers will offer a cafeteria approach to their products, allowing customers to package what they want,” he says.

    Beyond offering more consumer choice, successful plans of the future will better tailor member outreach based on individual attributes and preferences.

    For example, when HealthPartners wanted to encourage more women who were overdue for mammogram to get screenings, it used micro-segmentation data to develop a campaign with three different types of messages. One focused on convenience and affordability, one on the fact that screening was doctor-recommended, and a third on the need to get the screening based on best practice for women turning age 50. “Through that campaign, 551 additional members got their mammograms in a two-month period,” says Walsh.

    Another campaign focused on reducing the stigma around chlamydia by increasing awareness of the need for screening for women ages 18 to 24. The plan first tested on Facebook to see what messages would most resonate. Then, it used these messages in a broader campaign that achieved a 1.8% increase in screening rates.  

    It used this same technique to help members make more informed choices when deciding where to get care, empowering them to choose urgent care over the emergency room when appropriate, according to Walsh.

    “Our informatics team identified common behaviors of members who had used the emergency room when urgent care would have been more appropriate—and less costly,” she says. “We then used different content and images to best resonate with those specific audiences. Through this social media and direct-mail campaign, we saw an 18% reduction in unnecessary emergency room use. In fact, six out of 10 households actually used the urgent care location suggested.”


    Tracey Walker is content manager for Managed Healthcare Executive.


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