In a recent post (http://payer-strategies.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-does-it-mean-to-become-consumer.html), I proposed that to embrace the direct-to-consumer marketing model, payers must become excellent on four dimensions: consumer insights, consumer engagement, simplicity/openness, and stakeholder alignment.
Once the consumer landscape has been well understood and mapped out, we need to make two important decisions: with which consumers do we want to build relationships, and how?
- The first group will join the market through the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act. This group is young and healthy, currently uninsured but with disposable income, i.e., they are “good risks” and potentially a very profitable segment. This group is also used to online stores that serve and simplify all their needs, and it is unlikely that they are very keen on paper applications or brokers. They are quick at making judgments, and vocal - sharing experiences (and griping about bad ones) in real-time with their friends.
- The second group will join the market through Medicaid expansion, the federal subsidies above the 133% FPL cut-off, the guaranteed issue provision of the law, or from smaller employers who stop offering coverage. This group is generally older, in worse health, with larger families but fewer resources. It can be expected that they are less internet savvy and tech-gadget oriented. Some of them, if they are near the 133% FPL threshold, may flip-flop between Medicaid eligibility and the exchanges because of income changes.
He is Managing Principal, Health Insurers and Payers at ZS Associates.
This post is the author’s own and does not necessarily represent ZS Associates’ positions, strategies or opinions.