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A Health Plan’s Guide To Understanding “Member Balance Seekers”

woman on phone with health insurance companyAsk a group of Americans, but especially those uninsured trying to find an insurance company in the wake of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to describe the kind of program they’d like to join, and you wouldn’t be surprised to find that each one has slightly different criteria as to what constitutes “good coverage” and what they’d be willing to pay for it.

Because of standardization of insurance plans on the Exchanges driven by the ACA, many insurance providers may practice a “one size fits all” model (or “four sizes fit all” with Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum level offerings) when it comes to developing their programs, offering cookie-cutter coverage that has only limited room for customization.

However, to differentiate among the plan choices, insurers must take into account how healthcare consumers make decisions within the healthcare ecosystem and what they prioritize in terms of plan offerings.

Toward a better understanding of the healthcare plan member

Effective healthcare market research starts with four key marketing questions.

  1. Who: Identifying consumer segments via how they approach health care in a health care reform environment.
  2. Why: Understanding deep-seated and often unarticulated motivations behind consumer behavior.
  3. What: Developing segment-specific propositions, messaging and products to influence health care consumer behavior.
  4. How: Reaching health care consumers with the most effective media vehicles and channels.

Years of experience at Procter & Gamble (P&G) developing and honing consumer psychographic segmentation models helped the experts at c2b solutions  accurately build five distinct psychographic segments based on consumer behaviors and approaches towards healthcare.

The c2b Consumer Diagnostic model identifies health consumers and separate them into five key segments.

  • Balance Seekers
  • Willfull Endurers
  • Priority Jugglers
  • Self Achievers
  • Direction Takers

For this article we’re going to focus on the one segment defined as “Balance Seekers.”

Key Characteristics “Balance Seekers”

  • Proactive
  • Wellness oriented
  • Self-reliant with health & wellness
  • Internet and tech savvy

Demographics and Socioeconomics “Balance Seekers”

  • 62% are female.
  • Average age of Balance Seekers is 43.6.
  • Over half are college graduates and 1 in 5 have post-graduate degrees
  • Likely to be employed by a small company and have an average income of $65,849/yr

Health Status and Attitudes

  • ·         Although 72% of Balance Seekers have a primary care physician, they tend not to visit a healthcare professional unless they are extremely ill.
  • Balance Seekers adopt alternative medicine in addition to standard medicine, exercise frequently (about 3 days a week), and look for other, natural ways to manage their health.

Health Insurance

  • More likely than other segments to want wellness programs from a health insurance company.
  • Trust and brand equity important.
  • Negative reaction to the Exchanges

How to Utilize In-depth Market Research

After gaining a more complete understanding of the Balance Seeker, insurance companies can optimize their messaging in order to achieve goals in member retention and recruitment.

In order to engage the Balance Seeker, health insurance companies should consider the following messaging strategies:

  • Providing digital and print materials that offer valuable health care information and insights
  • Use a vocabulary that focuses on how members can remain in control of their healthcare choices.
  • Emphasize how your company helps members manage the cost of care by pursuing alternative care options.

Note: Balance Seekers are receptive to getting health information in general but prefer to search for it on their own, relying on health websites and magazines.

When your messaging speaks to the needs, attitudes and behaviors of potential members, you get the results you’re looking for: a robust drive in member acquisition and increased member loyalty.

Image credit: lisafx / 123RF Stock Photo

Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change

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