The Retention Race: Three Ways to Redefine the Member Onboarding Experience

Stay Connected

Blog updates via Email

Open enrollment is almost over. As consumers sign up with healthcare plans as new members, it’s the perfect opportunity for payers to make them feel welcomed, empowered, and supported.

Here are three ways to successfully onboard new members within the first 90 days of enrollment:

1. Segment and personalize member interactions. 

Capturing important information is the solution to many health payers’ messaging woes. Collect the right data, and messaging will likely be more relevant and engaging. By thoroughly analyzing and segmenting the right data, payers can prioritize which members to contact with personalized messages. Data that helps companies understand the presence of chronic conditions or high-risk factors, for instance, should trigger a specific health risk assessment and allow members to engage with medical management opportunities. Having sophisticated analysis and segmentation in place can also help payers identify red flags like non-compliance with evidence-based guidelines or non-adherence with medications.

Next, identify which channels a member would prefer to use for communication and decipher which ones could resonate with different members. For members who are already engaged, remind them of additional ways they can optimize their membership, such as by sending wellness tips and reminders for preventive screenings. This segmentation doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact keeping it simple will likely deliver consistent messaging and fortify the engagement strategy.

2. Send a robust and cohesive welcome guide.

First impressions are important. Members tend to leave a plan because of a lack of engagement with their payer or with the plan’s features. Signs of an unengaged member include frequent physician switching, limited physician interactions, high out-of-network usage, and more. Avoid situations like this by getting off to a good start with a welcome campaign that relies on omnichannel communication strategies.

Set the expectation for the relationship by advising prospects of what they can expect during the first month and year of being a new member. Messaging should be consistent and coordinated across channels and ideally would be based on channel preferences established during the enrollment. 
Finally, highlight common questions new members have about their plans or create a checklist of the plan’s offerings that are helpful but not overwhelming. Here are three questions to consider when making the checklist:
  • How do I manage my health? What programs are available for me to manage my health? This may open the door for a health risk assessment or engagement in medical management programs for chronic conditions.
  • How do I manage my money? What are the cost-sharing implications for my new relationship? Members want to know if there are strategies to save money (in network, preferred tiers etc.), for instance, the difference between an urgent care center and an emergency room could be significant for the wallet. Additionally, most members aren’t licensed insurance associates and often don’t understand the relationship between co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance. This is a great opportunity to educate members and drive health literacy.  
  • How do I manage my plan? Understanding how to navigate the health plan’s website and customer service environment is critical to keeping the member engaged. A plan can reduce frustration by educating new members on how to best accomplish what they need.
3. Provide real-time support.

The first few months of the member onboarding process is an opportunity to set the tone for a payer’s relationship with its members and create the bonds that will turn them into loyal customers and brand advocates. The last thing customers want is to be placed on hold or go through a complicated process to find answers to their questions.

Having associates on hand to quickly answer questions through multiple channels is important. Savvy payers enable members to find answers to their questions in real time through live chat, self-service portals, email, and the phone. They also respond promptly to complaints on social media and participate in online conversations about their brand or services.

A robust onboarding process starts at the sales and enrollment process and informs customers and allows them to take control of their options. And with only a few weeks left in the open enrollment period, now is a great time to reach out and begin setting the stage for building loyalty among new and existing members during the coming year. Also, remember that to sustain member retention year over year, payers’ engagement strategies must touch members on an ongoing basis. Only then will new members will become healthy and loyal ones.

Like this? Subscribe to our blog here.

Also, check out the most recent issue of our eNewsletter.