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Reinventing the Health Plan: Truly Putting the Consumer at the Center

Senior Vice President, Health Care Value, BCBSM
Chief Strategy Officer, BCBS of Massachusetts
Key Takeaway
Magnetic #payer offering delivers great functionality, great emotional appeal, great economics #AHIPInstitute

Oliver Wyman's Todd Van Tol and Sukanya Soderland will be speaking at the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) 2016 Institute on Wednesday, June 15, from 4:15 – 5:15 PT in Las Vegas. During their presentation, they will detail the design elements of a magnetic offering and highlight key success factors. A preview:

In early-June, an article about healthcare hassles started making the social media rounds. The subject of consumer frustration in healthcare is not new. But this article, titled “Unpaid, stressed, and confused: patients are the health care system’s free labor,” challenged industry players to reconsider consumer-centric strategies and rethink what it takes to create satisfying and ultimately magnetic experiences—the kind that people encounter in other areas of their life.

Many of the innovations being applied today are focused on greater integration and improved care coordination, the author said; not so many are designed specifically for consumer experience. And so while a number of current strategies fall under the umbrella of consumer-centric care, they don’t actually put the consumer at the center.

“There is significant work involved in being a patient,” said one physician quoted in the article. “We … need to become obsessed with how we provide the best outcomes for patients while having the smallest possible footprints on their lives.”  

The article really hit home for us, and its viral spread indicates we were not the only ones. We don’t encounter the same levels of frustration in other aspects of our lives, and the performance gap between healthcare and other industries is becoming increasingly apparent. (Imagine having an appointment at a bank and being made to wait 60 minutes with no explanation or apology.) For payers, the challenge is amplified by the continued growth of markets where consumers, not an employer or plan sponsor, are the ultimate decision maker.

Focusing on consumer experience is no longer a marketing maybe for payers; it is increasingly a business imperative.

We have spent a lot of time studying and thinking about how health companies can crack the nut of consumer experience. At the upcoming AHIP Institute & Expo, we will be tackling this subject in a session titled “Reinventing the Health Plan: How Creating a Magnetic Offering is the Path Forward.” We will draw on lessons from other industries and our work with companies on the front lines of health transformation to help payers understand how they can adapt business designs to deliver improved consumer experience.

Here, we share some of those insights and provide an overview of the key components of a magnetic offering:

Magnetic offering is the path forward
(What’s a magnetic offering?)

The healthcare industry is very good at providing sick care. It is less adapt at delivering a personalized, user friendly, transparent, and shoppable experience. The current system is complex and provides a one-size-fits-all, fend-for-yourself experience. In contrast, companies like USAA and Southwest Airlines, are champions at consumer experience. They are designed to eliminate consumer’s main pain points. They deliver an end-to-end experience with cultures of service and “delight.”

While healthcare is extraordinarily complex, consumer experience is arguably even more important to companies that deal in goods as personal and significant as health and wellness. That is why the USAAs and Southwests of the world offer valuable lessons to health insurers. And that is why their mastery of something we call a magnetic offering is so relevant.

A magnetic offering solves for consumers’ needs and delivers across three areas:

  • Great functionality
  • Great emotional appeal
  • Great economics

F x E X $ = Magnetic

Apple and Amazon have mastered the magnetic experience, and their market dominance is leading consumers to expect the quality of experience they get from these cross-category leaders. Payers can draw on these analogs to infuse those solutions into healthcare.

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