How to Combat Inflationary Pressure With SMS

Drips’ Vertical Marketing Director Paul Spiegler has been pretty active at healthcare events this year. He’s talked about where AI fits in the healthcare industry, how to optimize health plan member outcomes, best practices for Medicare Advantage outreach, and even how to increase clinical trial recruitment efficiency. But in his most recent presentation, he talked about something that’s impacting the healthcare industry significantly: the inflationary pressures on people’s affordability of health insurance.

In 2022, members are 5% more likely to switch Medicare plans or find new providers (2022 Medicare OEP and Disenrollment Prevention Study), giving healthcare companies a new challenge to overcome: retaining their existing policyholders. Fortunately, Drips has helped multiple clients achieve positive retention results including helping a top-five health insurer triple their retention rate, and we wanted to share our learnings.



One of the most essential aspects of a personalized missed payment message is actually something that’s often overlooked. But this one thing sets the stage for the entire conversation: the opening line. While it might be entirely appropriate to start a message with “Hey Ron,” in an ordinary circumstance, you might want to change it for a missed payment reminder. Why? Because first names are often informal (not to mention the familiarity of “hey” versus “hello”).

Changing the phrasing from “Hey Ron” to “Hello, Mr. Swanson” sets the tone for the following conversation. It lets the audience know that this is a more serious message and establishes appropriate boundaries and roles.


Creating a Judgment-Free Zone

The fact that a payment reminder message is being sent over SMS does something unique — it allows the audience to experience a judgment-free engagement comfortably. Here’s what we mean by that: a phone call can be uncomfortable even if call center employees are heavily scripted. Not only is the subject matter extremely personal, but there’s a fear of being judged via verbal tones and inflections that can create anxiety (and even shame) in some people. But over text, that fear is alleviated to an extent. There are no changes in tone of voice or nonverbal signs of judgment over text (when it’s done the right way). Instead, the audience gets to explain the situation and develop appropriate action items in a comfortable setting.


Illuminating Intent

Even if the outcome isn’t what you wanted, you can gain insight into intent via text message. People are more likely to tell you why they’re behind in payments when they feel comfortable. And sometimes, that knowledge can provide avenues for retention via payment plans or allow you to extend special retention rates or programs when appropriate.

Even if the intent isn’t disclosed over text, the comfortable nature of SMS messaging can lead to members being more likely to call in, providing you with the opportunity to uncover intent.


Wondering what this looks like in practice? Our case study highlights how Drips’ conversational outreach strategy helped a health insurer experience a 290% increase in Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan) policy retention in just one month. The larger pool of members in the next month saw a 170% increase in retention compared to the health insurer’s existing contact methods and saved more than 3,000 Medicare members from having their policies terminated. In addition, the policyholders contacted through the Drips AI-powered platform reported a more pleasant customer experience.

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