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What Different Psychographic Segments Want From Health Insurance Plans


Is today’s healthcare the new “Wild West”? As transformation continues across the entire healthcare landscape, it certainly feels like we’re moving into uncharted territories for providers, payors and patients alike.

Some healthcare providers have embraced the idea, adopting the “pioneer” label as they experiment with new approaches to care and reimbursement. Health insurance companies could use some of that trailblazing attitude as well, given the changing expectations of healthcare consumers.

"Consumers visit 12 online resources on average before choosing a health insurance plan, spending a month or longer on the decision."

With open enrollment just around the corner, you need to map out a health insurance marketing plan that will attract and keep customers—and psychographic segmentation can help. How?


Why Health Insurance Marketing Needs to Change

Marketers—and indeed, companies—across retail, financial, entertainment and travel industries have shifted to a more customer-centric approach. The reason? Digitally-empowered consumers have much higher expectations for companies to engage with them with the right message, on the right channel, at the right moment.

What’s more, they’re much less brand loyal than in the past. If a brand misses the mark on price, on products or on messaging, customers are more than willing to move on to greener pastures.  

And those expectations don’t stop at Amazon’s door—consumers want personalization and relevance on their journeys into healthcare too. In fact, a marketing blog cites several interesting facts about healthcare consumers:

• Google research found that consumers visit 12 online resources on average before choosing a health insurance plan, spending a month or longer on the decision.

• Twenty-five percent of healthcare consumers would consider buying insurance through Amazon because the brand delivers a superior shopping experience.

• One-third of health insurance searches take place on mobile, particularly among Millennials.

These days, you definitely need to know more about your healthcare consumers to engage with them.



Gain Insights into Different Types of Healthcare Consumers

As a result, health insurance companies need to step up to these new expectations. As we noted in a previous blog, we already have some insights into what healthcare consumers need: education on how health insurance works and decision-making tools to help them make informed choices.

But given their expectations, a one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t suffice. Psychographic segmentation classifies consumers into distinct groups based on their motivations, attitudes and beliefs. This allows one to tailor messaging — marketing and education — to resonate with healthcare consumers’ priorities and behavior triggers.

The proprietary model developed by c2b solutions goes even further, looking specifically at how healthcare consumers think and feel about health and wellness to identify five unique psychographic segments. Healthcare consumers fall into one of the following five segments:

1. Self Achievers (24%):

The most proactive and wellness-oriented group, Self Achievers are in the driver’s seat, but seek directive guidance from healthcare professionals and credentialed experts. They are the most willing to “spend whatever it takes to be healthy”; consequently, they are less price sensitive than other segments as it pertains to monthly insurance premiums.

2. Balance Seekers (18%):

Balance Seekers are also proactive and wellness-oriented, but they downplay the role of healthcare professionals. They prefer having options, rather than being given a route to wellness already mapped out. A directive healthcare professional can be a turnoff for Balance Seekers — they prefer more suggestive approaches. While Balance Seekers are among the most wellness-oriented segments, they are also one of the most likely segments to not have health insurance, needing to understand (and be aligned with) the personal value of it before paying for it.

3. Priority Jugglers (18%):

Priority Jugglers tend to be less proactive and less engaged because they put other concerns ahead of personal health (e.g., job, family). They may require a higher level of interaction to keep them focused on healthy behaviors, but they are most willing to invest in health insurance for their families as the least price sensitive of the segments regarding monthly insurance premiums.

4. Willful Endurers (27%):

Willful Endurers are very independent and the least proactive about health and wellness. The challenge is to find ways to motivate them toward healthy living. This segment is the least likely to have health insurance and is over-developed in Medicaid.

5. Direction Takers (13%):

As the name suggests, Direction Takers do not actively pursue wellness and preventive behaviors, reacting only when necessary and seeking directive guidance from a trusted authority. Direction Takers are also the least likely to understand the deductible/premium/copay mix they prefer when making health insurance choices.  


The c2b Consumer Diagnostic, a national study of healthcare consumers, includes many data points and insights on the five psychographic segments.  For example, we know that Self Achievers and Willful Endurers tend to view the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the resulting health insurance marketplace in a positive light, while Priority Jugglers and Balance Seekers are more skeptical.

Segmentation_active.jpgLikewise, these Self Achievers and Willful Endurers think that the ACA will reduce out-of-pocket expenses, while Priority Jugglers and Balance Seekers expect the opposite. Direction Takers fall somewhere in the middle on both fronts. We also know that Direction Takers and Self Achievers look to doctors as their primary source of health information, while other segments look to other sources such as consumer ratings publications or health organization websites.

Psychographic segmentation also helps you answer questions such as: How should we position our health insurance plans to address Priority Jugglers’ and Balance Seekers’ mistrust of the ACA? Or what consumer types are ripe to switch health insurance plans during open enrollment?

When you capture a clearer picture of customers’ perceptions about health insurance, trusted sources and preferred communication channels, you can engage healthcare consumers and compete more effectively, blazing new trails toward success.

In the coming months, we’ll be drilling deeper into the attitudes, behaviors and motivations of each psychographic segment to help health insurance companies anticipate their needs and more successfully market to them.

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


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