Draw Millennial Healthcare Consumers to Your Insurance Plan in 3 Ways
The percentage of uninsured Millennials declined from 23 percent in 2013 to 11 percent in 2016, according to research by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies. Good news—except, the research also found that 16 percent of Millennials expect to go without health insurance plans in 2017.
Why are health insurance companies losing ground with this crucial audience? The value proposition of health insurance may not be convincing for younger, healthier Millennials despite the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Another answer could lie in their approach to health insurance marketing.
Attracting—and Keeping—Millennial Healthcare Consumers
Targeting Millennials with insurance requires a better understanding of them—and not just in terms of broad generalizations, which inevitably result in less effective marketing campaigns. Instead, focus on answering some key questions:
▶ What are Millennials’ defining health characteristics?
Our research found that Millennials worry about the cost of healthcare—not surprising given that many carry debt from school loans and credit cards. In addition, they’re struggling in a competitive job market because many older adults have put off retirement because of economic concerns.
"If they can compare product features, prices and user reviews in just a few clicks on Amazon, then why can’t they do the same for their healthcare purchases?"
At the same time, Millennials see the transformation in healthcare—with a renewed focus on prevention and wellness—as a step in the right direction. As a result, they are more likely than other generations to prioritize spending to stay healthy. But they expect a lot in return. Having grown up with always-on internet, they’re impatient. They want healthcare services that rival their favorite brands—personalized, convenient and fast.
In addition, they expect greater price and quality transparency to support comparison shopping. If they can compare product features, prices and user reviews in just a few clicks on Amazon, then why can’t they do the same for their healthcare purchases?
▶ What do Millennials want from a health insurance company?
The c2b Consumer Diagnostic, a national study of healthcare consumer attitudes, behaviors and needs, had respondents rate the importance of more than 30 attributes of health insurance companies. The following table lists the top five attributes of health insurance companies, by generation, based on the percentage of respondents rating each attribute as Extremely/Very Important:
Reinforcing the notion that the value proposition for health insurance is not as strong among Millennials, this generation places a lower importance on related attributes relative to other generations. Interestingly, the most important attribute is whether Millennials can trust the health insurance company, underscoring the need for these companies to develop and maintain a strong, differentiated brand image. Like the Greatest/Silent generation, Millennials also prioritize communication and effective provider engagement.
▶ How do their attitudes and beliefs about health and wellness vary?
Our analysis of Millennials using the c2b solutions’ psychographic segmentation model finds significant variations, both compared to the general population and among their peers. Psychographics pertain to people’s attitudes, values and personalities and are the key to their motivations, purchase decisions and communication preferences. Most tellingly, 43 percent of Millennials identify as Willful Endurers, the segment that is the least proactive about health and wellness, while 35 percent identify as Self Achievers or Balance Seekers, both segments that are proactive and wellness oriented.
"Millennials want to be able to go online—via the device of their choosing—and have equally smooth, fast experiences."
Interestingly, these different segments all prefer guidance that is less directive, relying instead on multiple sources—WebMD, “Dr. Mom” and friends, for example—to gather information or advice on health and wellness.
▶ Where do they want to connect with health insurers?
As digital natives, Millennials are comfortable—even prefer—mHealth options. As we note in our whitepaper, Millennials and the New Healthcare Climate, mHealth empowers patients to “… gather, evaluate and use information that will enable smarter, faster delivery of care.”
The rise of retail clinics represents one way that healthcare is transforming to meet these expectations. Millennials want to be able to go online—via the device of their choosing—and have equally smooth, fast experiences, regardless of whether they’re googling symptoms, comparing insurance plans or doctors, making appointments or paying bills.
And it’s not just when they need care that Millennials are using mHealth. Millennials are statistically more likely than other generations to use health and wellness apps like Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker, MapMyRun, Nike+ Running and Lumosity, among others.
Three Approaches to Boost Millennial Health Plan Enrollments
Health insurance companies need to develop marketing plans that balance some of the more universal expectations—affordability, accessibility and convenience—with personalization to improve relevance based on their beliefs about health and wellness.
1. Use current members as advocates to Millennials.
Since the majority of Millennials look to a variety of sources, including friends and family, for advice on healthcare concerns, tapping into their trusted circle can help you grow Millennial membership. Fierce Healthcare suggests offering incentives to current members for referrals for millennial relatives or friends.
2. Revisit your mHealth tools.
Does your website offer a smooth, user-friendly experience across computers, tablets and smartphones? Millennials like the ability to move from one device to another seamlessly. Can users compare health insurance plan features and prices, manage accounts, make payments and access policy information with ease? If there are gaps in the user experience, you’ll lose impatient Millennials pretty quickly. Is the content you push out in your health plan marketing dynamic and interesting? For example, short videos—rather than lengthy brochures—allow Millennials to explore and learn independently.
3. Reimagine the customer experience.
This year, Zoom+, which has retail clinics in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, is entering the insurance market through Oregon’s health exchange. The brand targets Millennials, offering the price transparency and convenience they want in a hip environment. And it focuses on wellness in addition to healthcare services. For example, primary care clinics may also offer fitness coaching or cooking classes. With insurance, they’re focused on competitive pricing and building on brand loyalty.
With insights into the attitudes, motivations and expectations among different segments of Millennials—and use of innovative engagement tactics—health insurers can start to customize health plan marketing campaigns to engage these desirable customers more effectively.