by Vipul Vyas, Senior Vice President, Strategic Consulting
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The Changing Shape of the Health Insurance Customer Journey During and After COVID-19

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, health insurance payers will need to evaluate new risks and opportunities:

Risks

Declines in payrolls will result in a retrenchment in the commercial insurance space. Declines in small business and 1099 resiliency will also lead to a decline in individual policies and exchange-sourced acquisitions. 

Opportunities

The growing number of potential Medicare Advantage members who are entering the market (roughly 20,000 people per day) represents an attractive opportunity, even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Those aging into Medicare are looking for robust coverage in an environment where health risk is top of mind and robust coverage is more attractive than ever. States will have heightened awareness of having adequate servicing and coverage for their Medicaid populations.  

Consumer behavior will change

As the COVID-19 crisis drives the shifts described above, consumers will also adopt new offerings, including tele-health for convenience and safety, online pharmacies for reliable supply, and wellness programs to improve personal resiliency. Ensuring this crisis-driven adoption translates into enduring habits will also be important.   

As payers navigate the crisis, presenting the right messaging and right language at the right time will be critical to realizing the opportunities the crisis has presented and help consumers navigate the healthcare insurance marketplace during this sensitive and anxiety-ridden period.

Leadership mindsets need to adapt

Leaders in the insurance space will need to take a mindful and data-driven approach to nurturing, preserving where possible, and even expanding these consumer relationships. These relationships may be substantially altered, but with the right messaging and language at the right point in time in the crisis, these relationships can endure.  

The framework outlined in this discussion document can help you engage customers in a compelling way as we all navigate from the acute crisis to a new business-as-usual and as customers navigate their own journey with your organization. The exact approach will differ by company and by stage.

Identify how the customer journey may change at each stage of the crisis

To make the four phases toward a new normal actionable and practical, outline the specific challenges (problems to be solved), desired outcomes, and key use cases that need to be addressed at each moment in the customer journey in each stage of the crisis. Take the time to clearly articulate what the challenges, outcomes and actions look like in that context for your business.

For example, during the crisis phase for an insurance sub-sector like health insurance, consider the challenges, outcomes, and communication use cases for the following journey moments:

Acquisition:

Onboarding:

Servicing:

Retention:

Note: This framework is part of a set of guiding principles for communicating effectively with customers on the path to a new normal.