RICHMOND, Va., May 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Most U.S. consumers are very interested in receiving regular messages from their health plans – if those messages are highly relevant to them and can help them stay healthier and/or save money. That's the conclusion drawn from a new online Pollfish survey of 400 consumers conducted on behalf of RxEOB who are members of commercial and government- sponsored health plans.
Roughly two-thirds of respondents said they open messages from their health plans either always (40%, the leading answer) or most of the time. Much of that may have to do with the content of the messages, as nearly 45% said they receive reminders to make an appointment with their providers for a wellness checkup or immunization, and 35% noted that they are told about various services that are a part of their plan.
There is still room for improvement in the eyes of members, however, since only 18% said they receive suggestions to contact their providers to receive important tests such as colonoscopies or mammograms, or are proactively sent news or suggestions on how to manage their chronic condition or other health concerns. The result is that despite the emphasis on wellness and value-based care principles, fewer than one out of five members is currently receiving information on how to avoid, manage, or mitigate the effects of a serious, costly condition.
"American consumers are hungry for information on how to improve their health, especially since they are carrying more of the direct burden as a result of the increase in high-deductible health plans in recent years," said Dr. Howard Darvin, Chief Medical Officer, RxEOB. "This desire creates an opportunity for health plans. They have a financial stake in improving member health, and have the resources to create and deliver these messages. The key is to bring information their members actually want, through the channel they want it delivered in, in a timely and personal manner. Fulfill those requirements and health plans can build a much stronger and less price-sensitive relationship with their members."
When asked what types of messages they would like to receive:
85% said they want their health plans to tell them how to lower their costs for prescription medications through options such as generics or alternative therapies; the same number also wants to be notified of drug recalls based on their prescription histories
Nearly 60% said they would like to receive reminders to make appointments for wellness checkups or immunizations; only 45% currently receive them
More than 55% said they would like to receive reminders about various services versus the nearly 35% who do – a difference of 20%
41% said they would like to receive messages about scheduling regular tests, while just 18% said they do
28% would like to receive news or suggestions on managing their conditions, but only 18% currently do
Making messages work
The survey also looked at the reasons members give for not opening messages from their health plans when they receive them. The majority (44%) responded that they simply got too busy and forgot, and their health plans apparently never followed up. Additionally, more than one-fourth (28%) said the topic didn't look relevant or wasn't personalized to them.
These results point to a need for health plans to move away from generalized messages to large swaths of their member populations and toward more hyper-targeted messages that speak to specific sub-sections of a population.
"The more the message appears to speak to a specific member concern, the more urgency it will have and the more likely it will be to be opened," said Dr. Darvin. "Saying 'patients over 50 should get a colonoscopy' isn't nearly as powerful as saying 'now that you turned 50 on March 14, you should speak to your doctor about getting a colonoscopy when you go for your annual wellness check in August.' The more specific you make the message to the member, the more you increase the chances of it being opened and acted on, which is better for everyone."
One additional factor that must be taken into account is the channel used to deliver the message. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they prefer digital communications, such as email, text, or secure message. By factoring member preferences into message delivery, health plans can ensure that their member communication programs are enhancing, rather than interfering with, the relationship.
"We often hear how everyone is being bombarded with messages all day, so it's tempting for payers to not want to add to the noise," Dr. Darvin said. "But it's clear from the survey that their members actually value those communications – if they're done well. By hyper-targeting who gets which message, and ensuring messages are relevant and member-specific, health plans can add value to the relationship as well as member lives."
About RxEOB RxEOB helps health plans deliver better member health outcomes while lowering their internal costs by using its big data analytics platform to significantly improve member engagement. The company's more than 20 years' experience integrating clinical and claims data from internal and external sources eliminates the need for large-scale requirements gathering exercises while simplifying the process of cleaning data from disparate sources. As a result, payers can quickly and easily segment members based on multiple, detailed criteria, enabling them to direct highly targeted messages to very specific audiences at exactly the right time to create immediate actions. For more information please visit www.rxeob.com.