How to Communicate Effectively with Medicaid Beneficiaries

Notifications can greatly reduce the rate of no-shows, cancellations or wait-times. For operators to receive the maximum benefit from notifications, their clients need to embrace its use. This means ensuring that messages capture and keep their attention (and don’t annoy them).

How do you influence clients to buy-in and use a service like notifications? Choose the right mode for your messaging and share content that captures their attention and drives action.

When to use SMS, IVR or Emails

Mobile phones have surpassed landlines as the most popular type of telephone service among Medicaid beneficiaries. In a study conducted by HealthCrowd, consistent observation of Medicaid enrollment files showed that over 50% of registered contact numbers are mobile. So is it worthwhile to send SMS messages? The research says “yes!”

A HealthCrowd study found that SMS messages were 7x more effective at driving member actions than IVR and 3x more effective than email.

The research suggests that using SMS messaging as a primary mode of communication is likely to yield the best results, but providers should also consider email communications for sharing visual content like photos and infographics. Email or IVR can also be used for messages that are too long or complex to express via text.

Call-takers should encourage clients to sign up for SMS notifications whenever possible, but to ensure all clients have equal access, IVR messages should also be made available.

Messaging Tips

The HealthCrowd study found that there are several factors that influence if clients accept and embrace messages. Here are some messaging tips inspired by the study’s findings:

How Many Messages are too Many? – Call or text too often, and you’ll get a reputation as an annoying “robocaller”, but clients may need a few reminders to take action. How many reminders? That depends on the client! To ensure you’re not over-messaging or under messaging, ask each client how frequently they would like to receive trip reminders and set your notifications system to only send messages at those intervals.

Shorter is Better – Hold your “pleases’” and “thank yous’”. Clients don’t care about polite formalities; they would rather you get right down to the point. Superfluous messages like “your health plan cares for you” have little impact.

Be Targeted – It only takes one untargeted message to drive mass opt-outs. Show clients that you know them. Only send relevant messages.

Include a Call to Action – Clients prefer specific, actionable suggestions over general messages. Ensure you give clients clear instructions on how to take action.

Clients appreciate the ability to receive service updates and manage their own trips, but they will only opt-in to notifications if they can see the value. Get maximum buy-in by focusing on targeted SMS messages, and avoid alienating clients with too many messages or messages that are long-winded or irrelevant.

Kris Lyon

Kris, VP, Business Development, specializes in adapting the operational needs of customers to Momentm's NEMT software platforms. With a strong 30+ year history working in the Health and Human Services field, Kris provides insight into the health care industry and its relation to medical transportation.

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