Communication is a crucial component in today’s COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it be the current surge in enrollment in Medicaid, promoting telemedicine access, or distributing your Summary of Material Modification communication, the need for concise, effective communication with your members is more critical than ever to protect members, save on costs, and increase day-to-day operating efficiency.
As part of their communication strategy, States also seek to partner with their managed care plans to share rapidly evolving information with their members and providers. With the increase in frequency and types of outreach, urgency and effectiveness can be potentially impacted by an improper communication strategy.
As you combat the increase in communications, here are a few things to keep in mind as your communication strategy continues to evolve.
- Electronic and SMS messages are often the best way for Plans to deliver urgent and frequent communications. However, it is vital to stay compliant with regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act and delivery consent management. While Eighty-six percent of Medicaid beneficiaries and 94 percent of employer-sponsored health plan members own smartphones, their preferred form of communication varies on how they want to receive and digest information. Some members prefer traditional direct mail, while others prefer SMS messages. Providing members the choice of a delivery channel by communication type increases member satisfaction and the likelihood that they will consume the information.
- As the COVID-19 pandemic delivers an array of Cybersecurity challenges, your members must know and recognize your communications. It is essential to include appropriate branding and disclaimers as well as following some simple best practice guidelines to help your contacts distinguish between legit and malicious emails. First, use a custom ‘from’ address, which will not only build your online brand and trust to improve your open rates but can also improve deliverability. Second, use a consistent, friendly ‘from’ name across all of your email communications so that member recipients will become accustomed to your messages.
- Social media is a crucial way to raise public awareness about new and emerging health concerns. Sometimes raising awareness is as simple as reminding followers about common sense health practices or addressing common healthy living concerns. However, when things are changing fast, social media can ensure the public is aware of the latest issues, guidelines, and advisories. One way to get the information out there is to share information directly in your social posts. Another good option is to use social media to direct followers to credible sources of current information. This could mean pointing them to your website or public health social accounts. Raising awareness about credible sources makes it easier for your followers to counter inappropriate healthcare social media claims they see in posts from their social connections. Live video on social platforms can also be useful in a crisis. It’s a way for those who don’t have access to local TV programming to access announcements in real-time.
- Offer specific guidance and education on COVID-19 prevention, treatment, and coverage as an essential way to interact with members and providers during this time. Create libraries that are easy to access on plan websites or microsites specific to COVID-19. Ensure members reach information within three clicks. Here are some ideas for interactive tools to engage with your members.
- Find a COVID-19 testing facility
- Self-guided “Symptom Assessment” survey to help determine qualifying symptoms and whether to seek care.
- Information on how to identify and avoid scams
- Who may qualify for enrollment due to COVID-19 hardships.
- Benefit updates for Medicare, Medicaid and Employers
- Mental health resources
- Provider network mobile app
Don’t let communicating with your members strain your already overwhelmed teams. Toppan Merrill can help! With the combination of our Member Communication Consultants and secure, forward-thinking technology, we can help you with all your complex communication needs without putting an undue burden on your IT or marketing departments. Contact us today to find out more.