The healthcare industry has witnessed an immense transition during the pandemic years. From providers to regulators and payers, all sectors have gone the extra mile to support members through the crisis. While digital healthcare experiences started as a necessity, they are a norm now. Despite this progress, health plans continue to deal with a negative outlook as consumers are still far from trusting them. Insurance providers are more than keen to change these long-held perceptions of their role and gain consumer faith.
But it is easier said than done because health plans have to deal with regulatory compliance and find ways to reduce care expenditure. The complex challenges sometimes create distrust through mismatched consumer expectations and poor experiences. Moreover, members often consider health plans as complex, impersonal, complex, and opaque, making it hard to trust them. Let us share some ways health plans can overcome these barriers and build member trust.
Ensure relevant products and services
Creating trust with your consumers starts by providing them with relevant products and services. It indicates your intention to address consumer expectations and passes a positive message to them. Conversely, lining up offerings that do not fulfill the needs and pain points of members is of no use. Talk to customers and prospects to better understand their problems and realign your health plans accordingly. Just doing your bit to rework your products and services enhances trust in your company. At the same time, it can increase your revenues and profits in the long run.
Create personalized experiences
Members have unique challenges and expectations, so health plans must acknowledge them and provide personalized experiences. Think beyond the conventional cost-of-care approach, and move to a member-focused to deliver to the expectations of consumers. Becoming member-focused means that a plan must know its customers deeply, understand their current needs, and provide them with a curated list of options accordingly. Moreover, you need to give them more control over their care with personalized solutions through tailored products and services.
Provide transparency in pricing
Lack of transparency in pricing is one of the biggest barriers to trust in payers and providers. You need to ensure that consumers understand the cost of a service or covered item before receiving care. The best way to get started on price transparency in healthcare is by implementing a patient estimation solution that lets the members access accurate estimates of prices directly from your website. Besides building consumer trust, the solution can also keep your business ahead on the compliance front because health plans have to provide pricing information as a part of regulations.
Meet members where they are
Convenience is the cornerstone of trust in the healthcare industry. Meeting members where they are is a surefire measure to make them stick. The pandemic has opened the opportunity for the digital transformation of health plans. It is easy to provide them with an omnichannel experience that ensures convenience and satisfaction. Ensure consistent interactions across all channels, whether they connect you via phone calls, emails, or messaging.
Align health goals and incentives
Payers and providers should create value-based goals for members instead of negotiating over price points on fees. Tying incentives to these goals is the next step, and it takes your business a long way to building consumer trust. Consider implementing creative incentive programs such as rewarding members for fewer unnecessary emergency room visits, more screenings for preventive health, and decreased readmissions. Aligning goals and incentives benefits patients, providers, and payers as everyone works toward the same objectives. People are more likely to trust businesses that care enough to drive improved outcomes.
Support more choice for consumers
Payers have a reputation for prioritizing reduced costs over member choice with health plans. However, consumers may feel that they have limited choices, which are dictated by price instead of their needs. The best way to overcome the barrier is by giving them information about low-cost and high-quality alternatives to make well-informed decisions. You can also help them anticipate additional costs and support them with payment options such as subscriptions or pay-later programs. When people trust you with the money, everything else follows.
Building member trust for your health plan can be a daunting challenge, but a consumer-centric approach can help you win the game. Understand their needs and align your offerings accordingly to become a reliable provider. Although it requires agility and flexibility, the effort is worthwhile. Trust translates into retention and long-term relationships with your members. They will likely recommend your brand to others once you build credibility.