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Planning for Next Open Enrollment in Uncertain Times

It’s April. Normally at this time of year, you are assessing the performance of your last open enrollment campaign:

  • What was the cost per member? Cost per lead? Cost per response?
  • Which channel performed best?
  • Which channels are costing more?
  • What does your Media Mix Optimization model tell you about channels that work together to feed the lead funnel?
  • How did the tests perform?
But it’s 2017, and things are not normal. This is not an ordinary year. The future of individual health care in the market is an uncertain one. So how should marketers respond?

If one thing is certain, it's that the government is not going in to the business of selling insurance so payers should continue to conduct due diligence of deep dive analytics; reading campaign performance, assessing recent membership for future targeting efforts, and starting to think about their next product filing. Yes, things will change and that is certain. We don’t know if Americans will be required to have insurance or face tax penalties. We don’t know if Medicaid and Medicare will look the same in 2018. But the world will still need payers to manage individual coverage and process claims.

So begin preparing like you always do. Have an annual planning calendar with key milestones that lead to the open enrollment launch date (If you don’t already have one, ask Merkle for a copy of ours). And be informed.

Do you know where the market is in terms of delivering a personalized experience to both prospects and members? The financial services and retail categories are way ahead of healthcare in terms of delivering an experience and having a conversation with a prospective member. Most healthcare marketers are still pushing large campaigns at people and relying on static KPIs to measure success. Instead you should be creating a dialogue with prospects and delivering individualized experiences using content, channel, call-to-action, and more. Your brand is in control of the journey your prospects and members take. So be in control of the interactions you have with customers.

Plan, prepare, and do the hard work now. Research and explore the market for intelligence. Inform your marketing strategy for next open enrollment with new and exciting ways to convert new members. And always practice test-learn-apply to find new efficiencies that create better, stronger campaigns for next year.