Overcoming the Challenges of Limited Healthcare Coverage
In the first year of enrollment on healthcare.gov and with just over a dozen state-run health insurance exchanges, many consumers opted for the more moderately-priced plans, not realizing that those pared down plans offered less coverage than they may have been expecting.
The insufficient coverage is leading to delays in care, and under those circumstances, even the best patient engagement strategies are challenged to improve health outcomes. Providers, then, have a vested interest in making sure that patients have the right coverage.
How do you start this conversation with a patient — and, more importantly, make sure that consumers are listening and understand?
Helping Patients Make Sense of Insurance Plans
Recently, Kaiser Health News highlighted a number of stories in the media covering a surge in funding for ‘insurance navigators’ that can help patients identify the best plans to meet their healthcare needs. The $60 million subsidy — which was announced by the Department of Health and Human Services on September 8 — will be shared by 90 nonprofit groups across the country.
The 2014 Navigator Grant recipients include:
- Ascension Health, the largest Catholic, nonprofit health system in the country, is receiving a grant for the second year in a row. The project helps both individual consumers and small businesses.
- The Michigan Consumers for Healthcare (MCH) is another two-time recipient of the grant. The MCH network both state-wide and local organizations already familiar with outreach to vulnerable populations, such as Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.
- The University of South Florida is receiving $1.2 million more than the $4.2 million grant it received last year, based on its past success in helping uninsured consumers during the first enrollment period. Florida had the highest healthcare.gov enrollment numbers in the nation last year.
- Among the recipients new to the grants this year is Community Health Works in Macon, Georgia. The cooperative group includes six regional cancer coalitions along with other organizations and focuses on both uninsured and under-insured consumers.
- Across Texas, six nonprofit groups and one municipal agency will again receiving grants to fund navigator positions. In a written statement, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell noted, “We are committed to helping Texans get covered and stay covered with in-person assistance in their own communities.”
In all, grants will be going out to organizations in each of the 34 states that rely on the federal insurance exchange. According to a HHS news release, states that operate their own exchanges will receive separate funding.
Five Steps to Building Effective Patient Engagement Strategies
Whether you are a Navigator Grant recipient, a hospital or a physician practice, any attempt to educate and guide consumers without a solid strategy will be as effective as shouting from a rooftop.
A “one size fits all” approach will be limited in its effectiveness, because consumers vary significantly in their motivations, priorities and needs. You need meaningful consumer insights to establish a plan of attack.
c2b solutions conducts extensive market research that drills down to the needs and attitudes of healthcare consumers. When used in combination with our proprietary psychographic segmentation model of consumers’ healthcare motivations (with 91.1% predictability), organizations are able to devise more targeted campaigns.
- Define your goal. In this case, the goal is to engage uninsured and under-insured consumers to better evaluate needs and choose appropriate coverages from among the available insurance plans.
- Determine your consumer targets. All uninsured consumers are not alike, despite their shared circumstances. In addition to demographic differences, they bring different motivations to the table. You can increase the likelihood of a successful campaign by adapting your messages and approach based on the psychographic segment they fall into.
- Set the focus of your message. Again, for the purposes of this example, the focus is on selecting appropriate insurance coverages that meet both a consumer’s budget and his or her healthcare needs.
- Create your consumer message. Equipped with deeper insights into your consumers, you are better positioned to craft meaningful messages that resonate with your different audiences.
- Share your message via the appropriate channels. Market research helps you identify how to target your audience — whether by traditional advertising venues, social media or email. Each psychographic segment prefers different communication vehicles.
By structuring your patient engagement strategies through this process, you can ensure that the right message touches the right people at the right time. This is one step toward ensuring patients prioritize and choose healthcare coverage that meets their needs.