Website content strategists and copywriters use proven writing, style, and structural techniques that make for compelling and user-friendly online content. Being concise, creating scan-able content, breaking up text with subheads, and placing important information at the top of your pages (the inverted pyramid) are just some of many tried and true web writing techniques
However, while all these certainly apply to health insurance websites, every industry has some unique challenges when it comes to content generation. As I see it, some of these challenges include:
- Confusion over terms like deductible, coinsurance, copayments, and many more
- More recent confusion as a result of Healthcare Reform
- Longstanding general distrust of all things insurance
Of course, you have to start from the lens of the user. In this case, if the user is a typical consumer, you’re starting from a deficit. So how do you create content that addresses these issues most effectively?
In working extensively on many health insurance websites, here are my quick thoughts on what works well to improve the experience for users, communicate key facts, and help improve results.
Provide clarity through telling stories and examples
You can define a deductible until you’re blue in the face, but users must be able to experience what it means in engaging, real-life ways. Providing personas they can relate to and telling their stories, and using simple step-by-step examples of how a deductible worked in a common claims scenario are tactics you can use to help clear up confusion.
Avoid industry jargon and overuse of terms
There’s simply no way to entirely avoid using common industry terms, and, of course, there are many legal reasons health insurers must include them. Unfortunately, when it comes to trying to meet a reasonable grade-level readability, these terms can derail your efforts. However, whenever possible, limit their use to improve readability. If certain terms are mandatory, make sure to provide an explanation or a glossary help option.
Use visuals and videos to educate
Simple visuals or even more robust ones, such as infographics, can be highly effective tools to educate users about health insurance terms, or changes as a result of Health Care Reform. Videos, particularly with the use of some engaging animation, can also communicate complex topics in a straightforward way. Keep these short, simple, conversational, and entertaining.
Provide a clear path to the right plan
Besides a well-thought-out navigation strategy in the plan section, it’s vital to work with user experience experts to develop a content strategy that reflects the typical user journey through the buying process. An interactive option with plenty of visuals for an engaging shopper experience is also a great approach. Make sure that you allow for help to be readily available throughout the journey as short side trips—you don’t want to completely bump them off the path.
Present policy information in relatable content buckets
Ultimately, the goal is to get users to a point where they will be face to face with a few plans that might be right for them. Are you presenting that content clearly and simply? Can they easily determine what’s covered, what’s not, and what the costs will be without downloading complicated PDFs? Of course, this is a big challenge for us content experts, and it’s fraught with legal requirements, but do your best to work within these confines to break down plan specifics into real-world categories.
Every website is going to present unique content obstacles to overcome. For health insurers, it’s important to develop a clear-cut strategy using best practices to address any confusion or uncertainty that might impede the user experience, and prevent you from getting the results you want.