How do we catch the mice? Build a better mousetrap, or take the route of adding more and more clever cats to the situation?
It’s kind of a crude analogy, but I feel like those are the two strategies emerging in the world of insurance exchanges, as enrollment season number two is underway. Abby Goodenough has highlighted the different approaches in her New York Times article “States Race to Improve Health Insurance Exchanges,” wherein we see the states gird themselves for more incoming calls from consumers with questions about plans and confusion around website errors, subsidies and more.
Massachusetts has more than doubled their call center staff to 680 agents, Minnesota has gone from 25 to 300, Maryland has ramped up to more than 350 agents and other states are reacting similarly. More clever cats!
One of the country’s largest private exchanges got inventive last year, as they sought the same benefits: enhanced consumer experience and call deflection. That exchange (a Nuance client), provides eight different application status updates through either text or automated voice, depending on the applicant’s preference. They can now inform the consumer if their application has been received by the carrier, if they need additional information, or if their appointment is confirmed with a navigator. They also used their automated outreach capabilities to rapidly let people know about the evolving deadlines and changing regulations last year.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t dislike cats…though I prefer my two Wheaten terriers. But I don’t think there’s any mystery here – the better mousetraps that the private exchange and hundreds of banks, airlines and other large companies are employing to enhance consumer experiences are the smarter way to go.