3 ways payers can win back alienated female consumers

Unhappy female patient and doctor

Photo credit: Getty/AlexRaths

Women interact with the healthcare industry far more than men--and they're not immune to widespread consumer frustration over issues such as surprise bills and bewildering terminology. Insurers can take steps to address the most common concerns of this important demographic.

Women have more first-hand experience with the industry’s various dysfunctions and inefficiencies, argues a post in Managed Care. Healthcare’s go-to solution for such issues is often to work on improving patient engagement, but this attacks the problem from the wrong angle, Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, tells the publication.

“We use the term patient engagement and it sounds nice,” Ness told Managed Care. But, in practice, engagement often just means getting patients to do what the industry wants them to, she said.

Instead, healthcare must specifically address the aspects of care and paying for it that most infuriate female consumers, according to the article. For example, lack of billing transparency is a major complaint for everyone, but an unexpected bill can particularly impact women if they earn a low salaries or head a single-parent household.

So how do health plans build up female consumer goodwill? A few ideas from the article:

  • Simplify terminology: Consumers are frequently confused by terms that might seem simple to those in the industry.
  • Embrace newer forms of care delivery, such as telemedicine and retail clinics, which are popular thanks to their speed and convenience.
  • Improve payer-provider cooperation: consumer satisfaction is far higher for systems like Kaiser Permanente that don’t have numerous isolated silos.

- read the article