The Federal government and insurers opened the health insurance exchanges on November 1 for 2016. In its third year now, individuals and families are renewing or selecting new health insurance products. And what are hospitals and health systems doing in the lead up to and the reopening of the exchanges?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
Instead, hospitals and system are still engaged in interruptive outbound marketing with meaningless slogans and platitudes about our focus is on you, quality care, impressive facilities, technology and wellness programs that people have little interest. All the while the healthcare consumer is looking for information on being able to choose plans that may or may not include the hospital or health system.
It’s like going to Vegas and rolling the dice to see what happens. Ops threw snake eyes at the table. A group of newly insured and renewals went in a different direction, and the hospital is not in that plan or network.
I can sum it up with good…bye…revenue.
After all, the market in many ways is still to a great extent fee-for-service. Are hospitals and health systems paying attention to the needs of the healthcare consumer?
Providers have an enormous stake in participating actively and reaching out to the exchange marketplace buyers to choose plans that include you. So where is the marketing opportunity for hospitals because not everyone will be eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage?
In case, one thinks that all you have to do is sit back and deal with the new demand for care, how can one be sure that the newly insured healthcare consumer will choose plans inclusive of the provider? Right now one can't. Unless of course marketing starts an inbound marketing program that educates about insurance and the value brought to the healthcare consumer by the hospital as part of the choice of plans/networks. That also means giving them reason to choose based on price, experience, and outcome transparency.
One has a real opportunity to launch an effective inbound healthcare marketing campaign to influence choice at this point, which will have a direct bottom line impact. Wait and it will be too late to change the course of the healthcare consumer choosing the plan and network.
Now in my third year that I have been writing about this opportunity for hospitals and health systems, it would seem that hospitals and health systems still don’t get it.
Being customer focused means that you recognize the healthcare consumer’s needs and respond accordingly.
It’s not that hard. Really. It’s not.
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