Getting Medicare Advantage members to enjoy plan benefits

There’s no denying that getting Medicare Advantage members to take action on their health gives them a better chance of improving their health outcomes, but getting there can be a significant challenge.

That said, there’s one thing all Medicare Advantage plans should be doing to keep their members healthy and their plan visible in an increasingly competitive market: Educate members about plan benefits they may not know about. even be that they have, and encourage them to use those benefits.

Here are several reasons why plans should educate plan members about plan benefits:

  • It connects members to services that can directly lead to better health. The overarching goal, of course, is to keep member populations as healthy as possible, which also leads to the benefit of better health plan financial performance.
  • This builds trust and appreciation among members. Learning about plan benefits and features that they might have otherwise overlooked can come as a pleasant surprise to members, ultimately leading to higher levels of satisfaction and retention.
  • It keeps health plans competitive by showcasing the breadth of services they offer. Communicating attractive benefits to members and encouraging trial of those benefits can also lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals, retention, and new sign-ups.
  • It offers members a positive way to engage with their health plan. Instead of using their insurance card at a doctor’s or provider’s office, members log into the health plan for a more positive experience to meet their specific needs.

Benefits MA Members May Not Know About

With this in mind, here is a non-exhaustive list of benefits offered by many plans, but which many members may not know they have available to them:

  • Free or reduced-rate high-speed Internet: Eighty percent of low-income households eligible for discounted broadband don’t realize it. Providing members with devices (computers or smartphones), education (visits and basic training), and support (technical assistance) increases digital access and literacy, giving members a new, easy way to take action on their health .
  • Transportation: A number of Medicare Advantage plans cover non-emergency transportation, including trips to a doctor’s office or clinic. Plans may also cover ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft for transportation to medical appointments or fitness centers.
  • Gym Memberships: Gym memberships are often available through Medicare Advantage plans, as is SilverSneakers, a health and fitness program for seniors. These programs can offer both online and in-person fitness classes, giving members an array of options to stay in shape.
  • Meal delivery: Meals on wheels delivery is an option with many Medicare Advantage plans, especially for members with chronic conditions. Some plans also cover healthy food options and transportation to and from grocery stores.
  • Caregiver and daycare services for adults: Sick or disabled adults are eligible for home care services that help them avoid having to move to a nursing home, while adult day care services are helpful in getting members out for the day. In addition, the All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Program provides some members with home and community care services, including adult child care.

How to get members to take action

It’s one thing to understand how important it is to educate members about the services they have available to them, but it’s another to do it effectively, leading to trial and error. adoption of these benefits. Top-tier plans not only give members an enticing list of benefits to use, but they also use smart engagement strategies to encourage members to take advantage of them.

Plans can keep members active in different ways, but there are three key things they need to keep in mind:

1. Show empathy to members. One thing that has become clear in the more than two years of the pandemic is that health plans need to fully understand and recognize what their members are going through in order to connect with them effectively.

Plans are a vital connection point between members and their well-being; showing members how a health plan can help meet their very specific needs is powerful. Plans must demonstrate to members that they are committed to more than their premiums by focusing on health and safety and giving them the tools and information they need to navigate these still uncertain times.

2. Optimize engagement with members. Optimizing communications with members involves a lot, but communication is not synonymous with action. One of the main ways to optimize engagement is to provide members with the most relevant information using the means of communication they prefer at the right time and with the right message.

Communication channels vary by member and include everything from text messages and emails to traditional mail, live agents and IVR. Entering a communication channel that respects member preferences goes a long way in creating and building trust and satisfaction.

3. Don’t assume that one size fits all. Plans that engage with every member in the same way—a mass text message or a physical direct mail, for example⁠—will see little ROI. Instead, predictive analytics and rules engines can be used to identify a member’s preferred channel (such as a phone call, text or email) and the frequency of communication with each individual to create the best chance of it happening.

Competition in the Medicare Advantage space is fierce. Attracting new members and keeping existing members enrolled are challenges that every plan faces. Informing members of services they may not know they can access and doing so with an effective engagement strategy is a winning combination that gives plans the best chance of success.

Photo: designer491, Getty Images

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