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Do Your Member Communications Send the Right Message?

BY Ed Worsfold

Consumers have a lot to grapple with when it comes to understanding their health care coverage.

From the overwhelming variety of plans to consider to industry specific jargon and standard regulated plan communications such as the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) that Medicare Advantage organizations must provide, it can be difficult at times for consumers to understand the health care information they receive. Of course, whether or not they do understand it will directly impact their customer experience.

Add today’s competitive health care environment in the mix and it becomes clear that health benefits companies can no longer afford to develop, manage and deploy customer facing documents in isolation from a bigger strategic picture. Yet, month after month, many companies continue to print and mail a host of customer communications, including letters, statements and summaries that are part of the member services life-cycle without considering the opportunities they present to act as powerful customer touch points, educating and strengthening the customer experience and brand loyalty.

It takes more than color

Companies in many industries that send out ongoing monthly documents recognize that color is one way to improve the look of these customer communications. And that is a good thing. In terms of the customer experience, adding color offers numerous advantages for getting your message across and advances in digital technologies are making it affordable to do so.

However, just adding color isn’t enough. Poorly written, unclear and cluttered letters and statements continue to drive frustrated calls into customer service centers, eroding the customer experience and increasing the cost of doing business. Therefore, each finished piece should not only be easy on the eye, but also easy to understand in order to fulfill its

Improving the design of communications to ensure they are an asset to your portfolio of customer touch points will ultimately deliver significant benefits to your health care company and your customers or members. For example, imagine sending monthly or quarterly plan statements to your members in addition to typical industry standard communications
that incorporate:

  1. Enhanced visual appeal with full color and active use of white space to reinforce the brand and draw the eye to key information
  2. Strong navigational elements and creative iconography, accompanied by a legend to help members understand information quickly and easily
  3. Educational messaging based on a members activities and purchases
  4. Plain language writing to ensure the document is clear and understandable
  5. Graphical representation of key information
  6. Images of each type of pill in a member’s prescriptions

Enabling targeted messaging

Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms are available that can enable business users to manage content and rules in the cloud while member personal health information (PHI) remains securely behind an insurer’s firewall. This hybrid-cloud approach can connect with existing PHI and other relevant customer data as well as composition and communications delivery technologies, enabling business users to author, proof and approve communications personalized to particular member needs.

These communications can be created using a simple web-based content editing tool. Business users can also track those messages to see if they got the desired response – for example, enrollment in a wellness program or shift from a brand to a generic prescription. Moreover, a solution of this kind can automate the creation of regulated communications such as the ANOC and EOC, saving time and reducing costs and errors.

It is worth the time to take a close look at the communications your health care organization sends to customers. What do they say about your company and the value you put on proactively communicating with your members?  With the substantial investments that organizations make to attract new customers and reach new markets, it simply doesn’t make good business sense to risk losing loyalty as a result of tired, routine customer communications that fail to grab attention, are difficult to understand and risk negatively affecting the customer experience once a member is on-board.

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