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Get Ready…ACA Superbowl

By Lindsay Resnick, January 23, 2013

Bring your A-game to both sides of the ball, it’s time to play game winning offense and defense. As ACA’s October 2013 open enrollment gets closer, winning health plans are focused on honing their direct-to-consumer marketing skills around retaining and acquiring membership.  It means getting into the Affordable Care Act game by protecting your base with tough defense, and preparing to put points on the board (aka new members) with aggressive offense.

DEFENSE: Retain the members you already have. Prioritize those that are the most valuable and create customized engagement strategies to keep them. Take a data-driven approach to understanding your most vulnerable “at risk” population within your Individual and Small Group businesses that can soon make individual choices.

Core objectives for health plan retention:

  1. Maximize retention of existing membership in both on and off Exchange products by minimizing the potential to lose Individual and Small Group customers to competitors.
  2. Leverage membership data and third-party intelligence to improve understanding of current Individual and Small Group customers.
  3. Communicate a timely and relevant message to existing membership, employers, and distributors to support retention by improving member engagement and building brand loyalty.
  4. Emerge as a trusted source for information regarding what health care reform is and what is means to those most impacted…Who’s eligible for what? What’s in it for ME?

OFFENSE: Get your share of the open enrollment “land grab”. Understand needs and attributes of various segments of new market entrants to optimize acquisition campaigns. Create on/off Exchange strategies to generate new leads and sales from individuals most likely to enter the market as a result of ACA’s disruptive events. Switching will be at an all-time high... make sure they switch to you!

Core objectives health plan acquisition:

  1. Increase sales opportunities to enroll a larger percentage of the individuals across all segments likely to purchase through public/private Exchanges and, small businesses SHOP Exchanges (e.g., uninsured, disenfranchised small group employees, subsidy eligibles, new Individual shoppers).
  2. Optimize and increase the use of database management and segmentation tools to improve targeting capabilities and gain a better understanding of the marketplace than your competitors.
  3. Work in tandem with your product development team to identify various product acquisition paths, mapping current portfolio to a post reform products. These product acquisition paths will be the basis for determining messaging and sales strategies.
  4. Deploy a new business direct response marketing tactics that blends push-based education with pull-based entry into your selling cycle. 

The future of health insurance belongs to the prepared.To achieve and sustain profitable growth, marketing strategies need to look very different going forward. They need to move from product-centric…see who buys it; to consumer-centric…understand how they engage.

Tomorrow’s health insurance consumer needs to be at the center of everything marketers do throughout the customer lifecycle.  An engaged consumer means connecting early and often, nurturing them into the sales cycle, keeping them involved through purchase, and delivering a superior customer experience. A balanced approach to customer retention and acquisition, supported by data-based intelligence and strong consumer engagement, will determine ACA winners.

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