More tools are not the answer. More personal guidance is.

November 16, 2015 Ray Catudal

Are you relying too much on decision support tools to engage with consumers?

Not more tools. The right tools.

Open enrollment for Medicare has started and carriers are looking to find ways to make their plans stand out from the crowd. There are plan ratings, TV commercials, flyers, meetings and tools to help one identify the best plan. In addition, people will be enrolling, re-enrolling or changing their health insurance coverage.

So with all of this activity how are you engaging your current and prospective members? Are you leaving it up to them to sort through the myriad of plans and benefits that are available? Or do you hope that your decision support tools will do the job? Or maybe you are relying on call centers, brokers, navigators and assistors to help people navigate enrollment.

More Personal Guidance

CodeBaby Kate avatarEveryone recognizes that finding the right plan can be a daunting task. While most carriers, platforms and employers have been solving for the challenge of educating consumers by throwing more and more decision support tools at them, utilization of these tools are sub-par. Despite the abundance of drug calculators, provider finders, surgery calculators and subsidy calculators, it comes to no surprise that many consumers still prefer the guidance of a human, even Millennials, who just delay the inevitable by doing more research up front. Unless you know exactly what you want, who would frequent a store that has nothing but self-checkout counters and security guards? Carriers are not opening up brick and mortar stores without assistants to help with enrollment. So, more tools are not the answer; more engaging personal guidance is.

Two Methods

To me, there are two methods that engage consumers successfully: texting and avatars.

Sending text messages has proven to be successful for Kaiser and providing virtual assistants has been successful for Aetna and other big carriers.

So, I challenge you to think of other ways to engage with your prospects or members rather than by throwing more tools at them. The global market for intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) is expected to reach USD 3,071.9 million by 2020. We just joined other industry leaders at the Opus Research Intelligent Assistants conference to demonstrate solutions and discuss innovative ways to increase engagement with consumers.

Do you have a roadmap for cognitive technologies, artificial intelligence and virtual assistants?

Thanks for reading. Check out the eHealth radio interview between our own Paul Smith and Eric Michaels or take look at some of our recent news here.

About the Author

Ray Catudal

As Director of Healthcare Consulting, Ray is focused on CodeBaby’s healthcare specific customers and delivering on CodeBaby’s mission of customer centricity. With over 20 years of experience in medical devices, healthcare and technology, specifically: ehealth, health insurance, and software, Ray is a subject matter expert who contributes to industry articles, and speaks at trade shows and events.

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