The Affordable Care Act (ACA) marks a drastic change in the way we deliver healthcare products and services in America. The legislation, which creates online marketplaces where those lacking medical coverage can buy subsidized insurance, has overcome many hurdles and is now in full swing. While many companies initially had fears about the changes the ACA would bring, organizations that have embraced it have, of late, been increasingly positive about its projected impact. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini recently told Forbes the revenue growth opportunities tied to enrolling new patients under the ACA may be "unprecendented in the history of managed care."
If you're a healthcare marketer, the ACA is an invitation to rethink your content marketing strategy. For pharmas, hospital systems, insurers and medical manufactures, the ACA is an opportunity to communicate more effectively and profitably with existing and new customers alike.
While your strategy will be highly individualized depending on your place in the market, here are some starting points to get you thinking about how to make the ACA work for you.
If you’re a healthcare system offering private plans under the insurance exchanges, congratulations: you now have access to 47 million new customers. The key to tapping into this market of previously uninsured Americans is smart differentiation. To get the most out of this opportunity, turn your website into a trusted resource for first-time health insurance buyers. This might mean announcing your intention to compete in the marketplace through promoted posts on Facebook or offering a free eBook about how to evaluate different health insurance plans.
For the first time in history, people who don’t sign up for health insurance plans are going to face fines. Once the reality of this situation hits home, there are going to be lots of Google searches about how to avoid fines in the future. As a healthcare marketer, you can take advantage of this moment by becoming a go-to source of information about the ACA and what it means for your target audience. For example, Iowa-based Genesis Health System turned its Facebook page into a valuable resource about local and national ACA-related stories.
As a B2B healthcare marketer, it’s likely you’re selling to a customer base that will also be affected by the ACA. Make your customers smarter and more successful by educating them about how the ACA can help them succeed. If you’re a medical manufacturer, for example, think about how your customers might be able to use the ACA to market their services more effectively.
One medtech company doing this well is Parata, a NC-based manufacturer of innovative pharmacy automation solutions to drugstores and independent pharmacies. In 2013, Parata launched a marketing initiative called “Marketing Summer Camp” to educate independent pharmacists about hidden marketing opportunities they should be taking advantage of, such as marketing to organizations like home health agencies and long term care facilities, both of which are facing new pressures under the ACA.
To get the message across to its customers, Parata published a “marketing toolkit” with in-depth information about how independent pharmacists could position themselves as partners that could help home health agencies improve patient outcomes through better patient adherence to medication regimens. Under the ACA, home health agencies face penalties when patient outcomes don’t meet regulatory standards, opening a window for pharmacists to help home health businesses meet their goals.
Since the ACA was passed into law by congress and President Obama in 2010, there's been a lot of confusion and bad press surrounding it. For marketers, this moment in time is an opportunity to create great content that clears up that confusion and educates customers about the facts. By empowering your customers with helpful information that makes their lives easier and helps them do their jobs better, you differentiate yourself from your competitors and might just attract a lion's share of the newly formed consumer healthcare market.
photo credit: 401(K) 2013