Continually improving member engagement, care, and health outcomes are vital for the success of healthcare providers’ programs. Engaged members lead to reduced hospitalizations, readmissions, and improved Star Ratings. When members do not utilize plan benefits, miss appointments, and are unengaged, Star Ratings plummet resulting in a direct impact on the funding providers are able to receive. Low Star Ratings can also cause members to switch to higher star-scored healthcare plans.
Medicare Interactive states that Medicare Advantage Plans are rated on how well they perform in these five categories:
- Staying healthy: screenings, tests, and vaccines
- Managing chronic (long-term) conditions
- Plan responsiveness and care
- Member complaints
- Health plan customer service
In this article, we will go over five strategies providers can use to ensure high scores in all categories listed above and strengthen member engagement.
How to re-engage members
1. Provide transportation: Make getting to appointments easy
According to the Well App, missed doctor’s appointments can increase the risk of hospitalization by +400% and the average cost of an ER visit is $2,100. With that being said, ensuring Medicare members have access to transportation to doctors’ visits can result in large cost savings in the long term. By increasing access to transportation, providers will see a decrease in no-shows, improved flow in emergency rooms and outpatient follow-ups, which subsequently improve star rating success.
An effective way to provide members with transportation is with a ride service gift card like Uber, or a gas card to reduce transportation costs from Sheetz, or an Amtrak gift card for train transportation. Providing members with a physical or digital gift card before appointments is a powerful way to get members to attend appointments and feel cared for by their providers. The average cost of a ride to the doctor is $34, which pales in comparison to an ambulance ride.
2. Implement clear communication
Communicating in plain language is one of the most critical ways to build trust with members. However, many insurers are using complicated language, long sentences, and complex word density to communicate with the Medicare audience. Make sure you aren’t one of them!
Using language that does not effectively communicate the advantages of Medicare plan benefits is a costly mistake many healthcare providers continually fall into. These communication barriers often lead to missed doctor appointments and unused plan benefits which can result in poor member health and subsequently, low member satisfaction and survey results.
Communicating plan benefits in a way that is accessible and easily understandable is a challenge for this industry but it is vital if providers want to see success in their healthcare programs.
3. Incorporate incentives for completing healthy actions
Whether you want to promote preventative screening attendance or healthy behaviors, incentivizing members with gift cards is a powerful motivator. In a study done by the Society of Incentive and Travel Executive, they found that incentives drove participation up by 27%. Giving members a choice of healthy activities to complete in combination with gift card rewards and delivery preferences (email, text, mail) guarantees a simple process for both the provider and member.
Our incentive suite, Engage2Reward™, makes it easy for healthcare providers to incentivize patients. The suite gives providers a way to instantly send their gift card selection with a customized message to a member list to reward healthy behaviors or incentivize visits.
4. Send appointment reminders
Make sure to follow up with members via text, phone call, and email about upcoming appointments. Doing so will raise the likelihood of members remembering to attend their visits, especially for the elderly Medicare audience.
5. Educate members on plan benefits
Members will not be able to take advantage of or engage with plan benefits they don’t know are available to them. Proactive outreach and education around plan benefits can prevent adverse events by encouraging members to engage in what their plan has to offer such as preventive screenings. Make sure all plan options are highly visible and easy to access, and never assume that members already know about them.
From providing members with transportation gift cards, to working on clear communication, incorporating incentives, appointment reminders, and education around plan benefits, there are a myriad of tactics providers can implement to keep their members engaged. By incorporating at least a few of the ideas listed above your program is sure to increase its ratings and member engagement.
Register for an account on the Engage2Reward™ platform to access over 300 gift cards to get the best incentives for engaging Medicare members. Engage2Reward’s robust functionality will also help make your engagement programs easier to implement.