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Top 8 channels for payer-member communication

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Jun 02, 2021

Highlights


How do members prefer to reach out to healthcare payers? There isn’t just one answer. Today’s members prefer the freedom of omnichannel member experiences, and payers do well to choose technologies that enable them to create a better member experience on the members’ preferred channels.

The omnichannel member journey: An illustrated guide for healthcare payers

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The state of member-payer communications

Between 2016 and 2018, McKinsey researchers saw a marked increase in members’ desire to interact with payers through digital channels. In 2016, only 32% of members preferred to pay their insurance bills online; two years later, that number rose to 46%.

Member preferences about communicating with payers have changed over the years. Those preferences are deeply connected to changes in technology.

For years, members had no choice as to how they communicated with payers. The only option available was by phone. As technology improved, member preferences changed.

Why communication channels matter

In times past, payers were accustomed to operating with limited choices. If a member didn’t like the experience with a payer, the member just had to put up with it.

Today, that is no longer the case. There’s a greater choice in healthcare payers. Payers who don’t offer an excellent member experience will find themselves losing members.

What does an excellent member experience look like?

There are a number of factors that go into an excellent member experience, but one of the most important things you can do to provide a great member experience is to provide multiple communication channels to meet member demands. Which channels are those?

The top payer-member communication channels

McKinsey has identified eight best-in-class channels for member-payer communication:

To attract new members, retain existing members, and offer a superior member experience, payers can increase the number of communication channels they offer. The good news is that doing so does not have to be overly complicated.

Cloud communications platforms improve the member experience

Cloud communications platforms are integrated suites of tools including messaging, video, and phone solutions. They offer a number of communication channels (including the ones McKinsey analysts have identified as the top channels for member-payer communication).

How do they improve the member experience? Cloud communications platforms give members the freedom to reach out to payers through whichever channel they want.

Moreover, cloud communications platforms allow employees at payer organizations to work together to solve member problems. We’ll illustrate with an example: Janet is a member of a major healthcare payer. She has a billing issue that she wants to resolve.

RingCentral for healthcare payers

Janet calls the payer organization and talks to Marsha in Member Services. Marsha sees Janet’s bill, but she doesn’t understand why the bill is incorrect. With a collaborative cloud communications platform, Marsha can easily reach out to her colleague Jim in the billing department.

Marsha loops Jim into the call with Janet. Jim looks at Janet’s file and quickly figures out what the discrepancy is. He’s able to fix it for Janet while she’s on the phone. As a result, Janet has a better member experience because the payer was able to solve her problem quickly and easily through employee collaboration.

 

RingCentral’s cloud communications platform improves the member experience

RingCentral’s cloud communications platform improves the member experience by: 

Payers can offer multiple channels to members

Today’s healthcare plan members expect to communicate how they want, when they want. They use social media to chat with friends and brands, call family members, and speak to coworkers through video conferencing platforms.

RingCentral’s cloud communications platform enables members to reach out to payers through phone calls, chat, and video conference. There’s a channel for every customer preference.

Payers can speed up the member onboarding process

Healthcare plan members want a fast, efficient onboarding process. They don’t want to talk to several contact center agents until someone finally figures out how to help them.

RingCentral’s cloud communications platform features built-in intelligent routing. When a member calls the contact center about onboarding to the healthcare plan, her call is automatically routed to a dedicated onboarding specialist. This cuts down on wait time and speeds up the onboarding process for a better member experience.

Payers can reduce the number of denials with improved collaboration tools

One of the things that sour the member experience is claim denial. No one wants to find out that the claim they thought would be covered isn’t.

With RingCentral, payers can reduce denials through enhanced collaboration. We’ll use another example: Matt sends an instant message to his healthcare payer about a denied claim. The contact center agent looks up Matt’s claim and contacts his colleague in the claims department to learn more about the issue.

The claims department employee is able to quickly determine what the issue is while chatting with Matt and the contact center agent. Thanks to collaboration tools such as instant messaging, payers can reduce claim denials and improve the member experience.

Payers can provide self-service options

Consumers prefer self-service channels; they’re easy, fast, and convenient. Research from Forrester shows that a customer would rather use a knowledge base to look up information than talk to a person.

RingCentral’s cloud communications platform enables self-service capabilities so members can find the answers to their questions on their own. Self-service increases member engagement because members can get the information they need, faster.

Offer an omnichannel member experience with RingCentral

With RingCentral’s cloud communications platform, you can offer an omnichannel experience to your members. They can connect with you through the channel of their choice, improving the member experience. Features such as intelligent routing, self-service, and robust collaboration tools make payers more efficient. To learn more, request a demo.

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