The Importance of Being More Strategic in Attracting and Retaining Seniors

January 30, 2018

// By Paul Gauthier //

Paul GauthierThere are three unmistakable truths.

The first truth is that approximately 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, making Medicare recipients the fastest-growing segment of the American population. The confluence of aging baby boomers, better lifestyle habits, and incredible advances in pharmaceuticals has resulted in 41.5 million American seniors today. This number is projected to grow to 84 million by 2050.

The second truth is that health plans and insurance companies are obsessed with capturing the turning-65 market. “New seniors” find their mailboxes stuffed with direct mail solicitations from Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplemental plans, each promising extraordinary benefits and trying to “one-up” each other through price and value-added features. Open enrollment becomes a bonanza for television and radio stations airing commercials, social media advertising sees a dramatic spike in activity, and community forums, breakfasts, and seminars are almost unavoidable.

The third truth is that while all of this commotion takes place, many hospitals are sadly sitting on the sidelines and, in essence, have defaulted to the health plans the marketing to these “new seniors.” This is a strategic error of gargantuan proportions. Left to chance, patients run the risk of choosing a health plan the hospital is not contracted with. Such ill-advised and often ill-informed purchasing decisions can interrupt a patient’s continuum of care while denying the hospital the patient whose loyalty may have taken years to cultivate.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. Nor should it.

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