Everyone is talking about Millennials as a disruptive force. After all, they just passed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in America. But when it comes to healthcare consumers, Baby Boomers certainly qualify as disruptors.
As H&HN noted in its evaluation of the 2015 American Hospital Association Environmental Scan, “With 78 million baby boomers expected to live longer, many with chronic conditions, providing adequate care for them continues to put pressure on the U.S. health care system.”
"You need to understand what motivates individuals—their beliefs, attitudes and preferences when it comes to health and wellness."
The question is: Can your health insurance plans give Baby Boomers what they need while minimizing this impact?
▶ Meeting the Demands of Baby Boomer Healthcare Consumers
They may represent a sizable part of the population as a group, but when it comes to connecting with Baby Boomers, a one-size-fits-all approach will fall flat. Just as this generation has come to expect relevant, personalized experiences with retail brands, baby boomer healthcare consumers expect customer-centric health insurance marketing too. To meet these expectations, health insurance companies need to recognize the population’s diversity.
● Ethnic diversity is rising, with the Census Bureau estimating that minorities will represent 39.1 percent of adults over 65 by 2050.
● Younger Boomers are far more open to digital technologies—like wearable biomedical devices or remote monitoring—than older boomers who are more comfortable with human interaction.
Such generalizations help to narrow your marketing focus, but they still paint large groups with single brushes. To drill down to a more personalized approach to health insurance marketing, you need to understand what motivates individuals—their beliefs, attitudes and preferences when it comes to health and wellness.
Psychographic segmentation enables to you see what influences their behaviors so you can customize your communications to engage Baby Boomers more effectively. Our own psychographic segmentation model, which classifies healthcare consumers with 91.1 percent accuracy, includes five distinct groups: Direction Takers, Self Achievers, Balance Seekers, Priority Jugglers and Willful Endurers.
▶ What Different Psychographic Segments Want from Health Insurance Plans
Based on these various segments, health insurance companies can fine tune health insurance plans—and how they market them—to engage baby boomer healthcare consumers more effectively. Here are five ways:
1. Direction Takers see healthcare providers as experts and want clear instructions from those experts to manage their health concerns. They are more likely to prefer health insurance plans that allow them to continue to see trusted providers with whom they’ve already established a relationship. Interestingly, Baby Boomers with diabetes are statistically more likely to be Direction Takers than the general Baby Boomer population.
2. Self Achievers, as the name suggests, are goal-oriented. They look for guidance about their healthcare. When it comes to health insurance, they are more likely to appreciate plans that support structured wellness programs that allow them to keep track of their own progress. Self Achievers may also be more open to wearable fitness devices that enable them to set and strive toward goals.
3. Balance Seekers are proactive and wellness-oriented, but more likely than Self Achievers, they like to explore other sources of health and wellness information, rather than relying on healthcare professionals alone. As a result, they will be more attracted to health insurance plans that offer options—from choosing a healthcare provider to coverage for alternative medicine.
4. Priority Jugglers have a lot on their plates—and their own health isn’t necessarily a top priority. To cut through the noise of work and family, health insurance marketing needs to engage Priority Jugglers more frequently. And don’t expect retirement to slow them down. They are looking for convenience, portability and ease of use to suit their busy lifestyles.
5. Willful Endurers live in the moment. As a result, they are far less proactive and use their insurance only when necessary. But given that so many Baby Boomers face chronic health conditions, health insurance companies need to appeal to Willful Endurers’ indifferent nature by rewarding positive behaviors in real time.
The c2b Consumer Diagnostic, a national study of healthcare consumer attitudes, behaviors and preferences, looked at the top attributes of health insurance companies across various consumer types. While Baby Boomers are defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, the following table provides a snapshot of the Top 5 (out of 30+) attributes for those age 65+ across the five psychographic segments:
Percentage Age 65+ by Psychographic Segment
Indicating “Extremely Important”
Scale: Extremely Important; Very Important; Somewhat Important; Not Very Important; Not At All Important
Note that the insurance plan’s premium does not appear as a Top 5 consideration for Self Achievers and Direction Takers. Trust factors significantly across most psychographic segments, underscoring the need for a strong brand experience.
Over the next 20 years, approximately 3 million Baby Boomers will reach retirement age annually, increasing the number of consumers making demands a healthcare system while also shrinking the workforce. To compound the problem, Baby Boomers—while enjoying a longer life expectancy than previous generations—are also sicker, with higher rates of chronic conditions including hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
As a result, it’s more important than ever that health insurance marketing addresses the expectations and needs of Baby Boomers in order to get them into the right health insurance plans. What do you still need to know to produce relevant, effective messaging about your health insurance plans to satisfy Baby Boomer customers?