Starting very soon, a chorus will break out across the nation, as health insurers prepare for open enrollment:
Babe / I love you so
I want you to know that I’m gonna miss your love
The minute you walk out that door / So please don’t go
I’m down on my knees / Beggin’ you please / Please / Please!
Don’t go! Don’t ya hear me baby?
Don’t ya leave me now.
Oh! No! No / Don’t go!
Please don’t go.
I want your love babe
While not everyone will take their inspiration from the great Eighties band Double You, the message will be the same. After spending a king’s ransom attracting members during the last open enrollment period, payers aren’t about to let those folks just dance out the door. For insurers, it’s critical to have a renewals strategy – and a plan.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
The biggest risk is not the competitor down the street, or the big national plan looming overhead. The biggest risk is that members go back to being uninsured. In the last year, we saw a botched rollout of healthcare.gov, less than flattering headlines, and payers struggling to properly onboard new members. And while all this was going on, members continued to write their premium checks.
This open enrollment, members will take a look at the money they spent over the last year and ask, “was it worth it?” As an insurer, have you answered that question for them? Have you taken advantage of every opportunity to show your members the value of what they purchased? A renewals program is much more than a marketing campaign. A renewals program consists of building dependable tools and resources for your members – and instilling confidence that they will work when they need them. Member portals and transparency tools are valued by members even if they never process a claim. It shows them that you are there and ready to help 24/7. As you create or review your existing retention strategy, ask yourself how your tools help or hurt your cause.
Apples & Oranges (and maybe a Grape)
If only things were simple. This year’s open enrollment will bring a myriad of shoppers to your front door. The uninsured shopper who didn’t buy last time around. Your member who is just window shopping and will most likely stay with their current plan. And let’s not forgot customers with grandfathered plans, and those with 12/1 effective date plans… we need to figure out what to do with those people as well.
How well can your online shopping tools support these scenarios? It was tough enough to get things up and running for the last open enrollment, and now it feels like complexity has reached an all-time high. Luckily, many forward thinking payers (including some that we work with) have developed shopping tools flexible enough to support most of these scenarios. In many cases, these savvy insurers are leveraging their member portals to support renewal situations – and in doing so, providing their members with a controlled shopping experience free from competitive temptation.
So as you prepare for the fall (and warm up your singing voice), don’t underestimate the importance of your online tools. They are a critical piece of your renewals and retention strategy.