10 Text Messages Health Plans Should Send Their Members

Text messaging is one of the most effective tools health plans can use to engage members, close gaps in care, and help them make informed decisions. And if your health portal integrates with your demographic data, medical records, and compliance standards you can automate relevant, personalized, and interactive text messages based on set criteria.

The service is convenient and easy and provides members with an accessible solution that enables them to respond to your prompts in a timely manner. 95% of American adults have a cellphone, and 77% have smartphones. And one study found that response rates for text messages sent from an organization were 209% higher than phone calls. Not to mention, the open rates for text messages are significantly higher than the open rates for email.

But what can health plans actually use automated text messages for? The possibilities are endless, so to get you started, we’ve pulled together 10 examples of the types of messages you should be sending to your members.

1. Opt-in to text messaging

Example text:Hello, [First name]. [Name of health plan] will be sending you text messages to help you better manage your care. Reply HELP for help or STOP to opt-out at any time. Msg & data rates may apply.

The very first text your members should receive from you sets expectations. Explain why you’re texting them and let them know that this is something they can expect to see in the future. Your first message should also provide an automated and convenient way for members to opt out.

2. Member account creation

Example text:Hi [First name]. You can save time by managing your care online through your member portal. Click HERE to create your account.

Low adoption rates are the biggest member engagement obstacle that health plans face. It doesn’t matter how intuitive, versatile, or helpful your health portal is if your members don’t know it exists. Automated text messages are a great way to remind both new and old members that the best way to manage their care is online.

3. Mobile app promotion

Example text:Hi [First name]. Welcome to [Name of health plan]. As a valued member, you can use our mobile app to view plan benefits, access wellness information, check your claim status, and more. Download the app now! [Link to app store]

An app is a vital part of the member engagement platform, designed to provide a mobile-first experience that’s only a tap away. And a mobile app can expand on text messaging by sending members “push” notifications even when it’s closed. This is a convenient way to send supplementary materials or reiterate important messaging.

4. Primary care physician finder

Example text: Hi [First name]. [Name of health plan] noticed you don’t have a Primary Care Physician selected. Click HERE to select one in our customer portal.

When your members or their dependents don’t have a primary care physician (PCP) the likelihood of gaps in care and overuse of urgent or emergency care increases. If your platform lets members find a provider in your network, a text is a great way to drive them to it.

5. Notifications about gaps in care

Example text:Hello [First name]. [Name of health plan] noticed you’re overdue for your HBA1c test. Click HERE to call your PCP (Name of PCP) or click HERE to go to our member portal for more options.

With such high open rates and unparalleled convenience, text messages are the best way to close gaps in care. Your members don’t have to play phone tag with you, wait on hold, or get in a lengthy conversation (likely while at work) to find out what they need to do next. And when a member replies to a text asking for additional information, they receive an automated and interactive response providing links directing them to next steps. You can send these notifications for virtually any gap your data can identify, so your members always have solution as their fingertips.

6. Enrollment alerts

Example text: “Hi [First name]. It’s time to re-enroll with [Name of health plan]. Click HERE to re-enroll now and prevent gaps in coverage.

As it gets closer to when your members need to re-enroll, you can send them alerts to ensure they enroll on time. You can also let members know if there are special services like telemedicine that they can enroll in.

7. Appointment reminders

Example text:Hi [First name]. You have appointment with [Provider] on Friday March 22 at 4:00 PM. Please arrive 15 minutes early.

Missed appointments waste time and money and create gaps in care. A timely text can remind members to make transportation, work, or childcare arrangements so they don’t run into hurdles at the last minute. You can also tailor the messaging to prompt members to confirm or reschedule their appointment and ensure that they know how to do so.

8. Care education

Example text:Hi [First name]. [Name of health plan] offers telemedicine as part of your insurance plan. Would you like to learn more about that service?

Sometimes your members don’t take advantage of the services available to them simply because they don’t know they’re available or they don’t know how to use them. You undoubtedly communicate these services in direct mail, email, and other channels. However, your members can easily become overwhelmed by the volume of healthcare information vying for their attention.

Texting allows you to send focused messages with high engagement rates. And through the use of natural language processing and artificial intelligence, you can pre-program chatbots to have back-and-forth conversations with your members. This lets you efficiently educate your members.

You can also use your access to member data to determine what type of education a specific member would be most interested in. If one of your members just received knee surgery, for example, you could send them recovery recommendations.

9. Emergency room utilization

Example text: Hi [First name]. We can help you avoid unnecessary emergency room visits. Would you like to learn more about your options?

Unnecessary ER visits hurt you and your members. They’re incredibly inefficient and expensive. Sometimes members make ER visits because they simply don’t know where else to go, or don’t have a PCP. Perhaps they don’t realize there is an urgent care facility nearby, or they don’t know what urgent care is for. Texts offer a simple way to help your members avoid costly trips to the ER when possible and can point them to where they can find a convenient PCP.

10. Explanation of benefits

Example text:Hi [First name]. We just mailed you an explanation of benefits for a health care visit. In the future, would you prefer to receive information like this online or via email? If so, reply “yes” to this message. You can change these settings in your account preferences at any time.

When you mail your members important information, a text can be a great way to let them know it’s coming. It’s also a good opportunity to remind them that they can receive that information electronically, which is more convenient for them and for you.

Texts are crucial to member engagement

When it’s integrated with your data, text messaging is a highly versatile engagement tool, and that’s why it’s included in the Healthx member engagement platform.

Your members are mobile. And if you want to influence their behavior, get them to adopt your tools, and provide the best possible member experience, you need modern mobile solutions.

Check back next week to learn more about the overall health of your platform and how you can make it work for your members and providers, and your bottom line.