It’s a problem that health plan providers know all too well. Good commercial members hit that magical age of 65, and instead of converting to the same plan’s Medicare programs, they move on to a competitor. Many companies report extremely high attrition rates from this senior flight, leaving them scrambling to fill the void.

By applying data analytics and using this insight to better understand and personalize communication with this population, plans can stop the member hemorrhage and turn these numbers around.

Using Data to Understand Your Senior Population

Before you can effectively market to your nearing 65+ population, you have to understand who they are. Look at the data you’ve collected for this group, including their pharmacy claims and eligibility files. Then, separate them into three categories: low, medium and high risk—the latter being those projected to increase their healthcare spend by 20 percent-30 percent in the coming year.

Separate this population into four broad consumer personas:

  • Healthy
  • Healthy with one or more chronic conditions
  • Unhealthy with one or more chronic conditions
  • Cost-conscious

Then, look at the dominant geographic locations for each of these segments to understand where your members live. Chances are, you’ll start seeing some very valuable patterns that will help guide your outreach, retention and marketing.

Go Where Your Target Market Congregates

For example, let’s say eight of your 25 counties show a high concentration of older, healthy members. You can build focused marketing programs within that region and more effectively use marketing dollars—both for retention and acquisition campaigns—in those eight areas. Although your plan will be offered to all, by focusing more marketing dollars in a specific region where you know there is a high concentration of highly desirable members, you’ll likely find other people with similar income and demographic makeup.

Instead of a blanket campaign, start looking for socialization facilities, like health clubs, houses of worship, volunteer organizations and community centers where people congregate, and focus acquisition efforts around these. Not only do you funnel your marketing dollars where there’s the greatest opportunity to attract the people you want, but, you also can compound your efforts by getting people who socialize at the facility talking about your plan. A little word of mouth can go a long way.

Ensure Your Plan Measures Up to the Competition-and Provides What Members Really Want

If you have a high degree of turnover in your Medicare and Medicare Advantage populations, take a long, hard look at your existing programs. Compare it to your competition, and to the segments, and demographic makeup of the zip codes you’re targeting.

For example, an older, healthy, cost-conscious buyer might shy away from plans with high emergency room co-payments. If your target zip codes have high cultural populations of one kind, consider including fitness program benefits meeting cultural practices, like discounts on health clubs, bilingual exercise classes or fitness technology with the propensities of the specific demographics you’re targeting.

Many times, for seniors, the features are just as important as price. Use your data to make sure your plan measures up. If it does, your members will become your advocates.

Use Outreach to Make Your Members’ Lives Easier

Because your goal is to keep your population healthy and to get them to stick with your plan, the right outreach is critical to helping you achieve both. Instead of sending out a standard mailer or automated voice mail encouraging members to visit their primary care doctor, use intelligence from your data to better understand what your members want to hear and how they want to receive it. Then, create communications your members will engage with that make it easy for your senior members to comply.

For example, instead of a lengthy letter with instructions on how to choose a primary care physician, send a shorter piece that says, Here are the primary care physicians in your area. These three speak Spanish for those of Spanish speaking language, these two are female based on knowledge of past preferences, this one offers Saturday hours for members who are still working. Provide the phone numbers for each and the best time to call the office. Or, provide the number of a call center concierge where someone from your organization will book the appointment for them.

By making life easier for your members, you’ve made them less likely to leave, and you’ve also eliminated the reasons many people fail to follow through with booking their appointments.

Use Data to Identify and Respond to Need

Data analysis also helps plans identify barriers to compliance and can help align resources, programs and outreach based on unique member needs.

Consider members who may not have the ability to pay for their out-of-pocket expenses. If they are prescribed an expensive drug, they may not be able to afford it. If they have a condition that requires a doctor’s visit every six weeks, and they don’t have a vehicle or nearby public transportation, they may skip the required test or check up, and end up in the hospital.

By integrating analytics within case management programs, you can do a world of good for both improving member outcomes and reducing overall healthcare costs. The key is knowing who these at-risk members are and their key barriers to compliance.

The same is true for proactive and preventative programs designed to keep members with chronic conditions healthy. Targeted marketing campaign scan offer them tips or help them understand treatment or the side effects of their medications. You can even sponsor nutrition or cooking classes for diabetics or members with heart health conditions at local senior centers or other gathering places where the highest concentration of those members are located.

When In Doubt, Consult the Data

You wouldn’t make a strategic business decision without first consulting the data. The same is true for member acquisition, marketing and retention. By understanding who your nearing- senior members are and what they value, then tailoring your plans, marketing and outreach programs to their specific needs, you can reduce attrition, lower costs and create the types of relationships that turn your best members into customers for life.

To learn more about how EXL can help your organization reduce costs and improve Medicare Advantage conversions using data-driven marketing programs, contact us.

David Hom,
Chief Evangelist, EXL

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