When making a decision about health insurance options, HDCs are price shoppers. Our survey shows that price is the number one factor when these consumers choose a new plan, and that they are far less concerned with network coverage, customer experience or other carrier interactions.
Price influences retention of HDCs too. Forty-eight percent of those who switched plans would have stayed if their insurer had offered a better price. The desire to keep a preferred doctor, poor member experiences, and a lack of digital solutions barely rank as reasons to leave. When they do stay, HDCs want to be rewarded. They are more likely than other consumers to stay with an insurer when they are recognized for doing business with them and offered preferential treatment.
In many ways, HDCs are not sophisticated shoppers. They have been lucky enough and healthy enough that they have not had to be. In fact, 28 percent of HDCs in our sample were first-time buyers whose last coverage was their parents’ plan. To them, health insurance is a commodity; the cheaper the better.
First move wins
HDCs are price sensitive, do not reach out on their own, and are easily influenced. In both private insurance and HIX markets, HDCs are more likely than other consumers to shop because of direct outreach from an HIX, insurer or community group.
The insurers and health insurance exchanges that win with this critical customer segment will be the ones who engage them first. There are some fundamentals to acquiring these consumers and keeping them satisfied:
Balance price and experience
Price clearly matters to these consumers, and insurers ignore this at their own risk. However, insurers cannot discount the importance of customer experience either.
Match messages and channels
There is a strong case for insurers and public exchanges to ramp up marketing and outreach efforts, with an emphasis on multichannel advertising and strengthening their social media presence.
Meet people where they are
Considering how effective community groups can be in influencing HDCs, it is in insurers’ best interest to partner with these groups to develop and implement creative, even unconventional, programs for these coveted consumers.
Stand out from the pack
Time is of the essence for insurers and health insurance exchanges to get HDCs to notice them. This rush to the finish line dynamic is real, and insurers must move first and fast.