AHIP Conference Takeaways: 3 Areas of Change in Health Plan Sales and Marketing


Our VUE Software representatives attended AHIP’s Institute 2011, held in San Diego June 15-17th.  The conference had a broad focus on improving America’s healthcare through intelligent insurance information technology. The conference illuminated many areas of focus for today’s health insurance IT.

Several sessions stressed improving the efficiency of data exchange between carriers and healthcare providers. Insurers can help by sharing actionable information with providers, allowing doctors to reduce costs and offer more effective care. Additionally, IT investments are being pursued to continue quality improvements for claims and service activities.

Since VUE Software partners with insurers on marketing, service, and sales, we naturally gravitated toward sessions that focused on issues related to insurance distribution. Throughout AHIP’s distribution-focused sessions, we noticed the following three areas mentioned consistently as areas of flux.

  1. Segmentation: Health insurance companies have historically focused less on the individual market in favor of more profitable groups. But with the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance mandate taking effect soon, insurers will do well to invest in capturing share of the growing opportunity in the individual market.  Demographics of both potential policy-holders and agents are also changing. With a younger pool to draw from, insurers will need to meet potential customers and agent recruits where they are, including social platforms, for effective marketing, sales, and recruiting. And with the proliferation of games in popular culture, forward looking insurance companies are also brainstorming ways to gain traction with America’s i-crowd through gaming.
  2. Distribution: In addition to progressive social marketing strategies, the changing marketplace also demands that health plans redesign and invest in their distribution processes. Although there are still questions about the role of the agent post-reform, the agent role will not vanish. Instead, insurers must devise how to keep agent-related costs low by streamlining on-boarding, self-service, quoting and individual enrollment. VUE Software partner Microsoft reported an increased demand for a health plan sales solution tied to CRM, which, when combined with partner systems, can extend these capabilities to agents and increase automation in these areas.
  3. Service: The traditional approach to health insurance customer service has centered on addressing policy and claims needs. The modern approach focuses on quality, including training customer service reps in marketing and sales skills. This approach can increase the odds of cross selling, upselling, and obtaining renewals, which will be increasingly important as the competition for the growing individual market increases. Systems for customer relationship management (CRM) become crucial to organizing customer data and allowing service reps to gain immediate insight into a customer’s records.

Did you attend this year’s AHIP conference? Share your takeaways as comments to this post.


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