Sunday, September 29, 2013

How do you market to the newly insured?

Here comes the newly insured. They are not in ACOs.  Some will have chosen high deductible plans.  Some have even chosen narrow networks to limit their premium cost.  Some of the newly insured will be in the expanded Medicaid program.  What we do know is that it will be a potpourri of ages, sex, income, health status, relationship status and education.  We know that there will be a lot of people who never had access to health insurance.

So how do you market to the newly insured, knowing that the probably haven’t seen a doctor in a few years? They most likely don’t have a primary care physician. And when they needed care as the uninsured, they most likely used Emergency Rooms as their primary source for medical care considering themselves to be ER frequent flyers.  They will be less healthy and in need of navigation though your healthcare system.   They can be a financial godsend to your hospital or a drain depending on their medical condition and source of payment.   
Because you waited until now to start marketing, the chance to establish a relationship with the newly insured prior to the opening of the HIX and that insurance purchase has been lost.  Now you have to compete. And telling the newly insured you have the best doctors and most caring staff is right out of the nineties and meaningless.

The healthcare market is changing and these people are paying out of pocket and they will be paying attention to price, quality and experience. So it is really along these three dimensions that you need to focus your integrated strategic marketing efforts.
Push the newly insured to the primary care doctor.  Pull the primary care doctor to the hospital.

Push the newly insured from the emergency room to free standing clinics and other less costly settings.
Engage the newly insured in meaningful ways along price, experience and quality.

Look out for Walgreens and CVS Caremark, Rite Aid and others whose retail clinic strategy is perfect for the newly insured, and will limit their out of pocket expenses better than you can.  Look out for the hospital or health system that will be the first in your market to engage the newly insured in meaningful ways along price, experience and quality.
The age of semi-retail healthcare is now beginning.  That means the healthcare consumer, aka the newly insured, have some leverage and bargaining power.  Meet their needs and establish a meaningful relationship on their terms, or keep doing what you have always done in marketing and watch them walk away.

Michael J. Krivich, MHA, FACHE, PCM, is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views read in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. These views are my own. He is founder of the michael J group, a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.  Like us on facebook at the michael J group, and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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