In the last six months, I have been paying close attention to some emerging trends affecting several of our clients, and it has created an indelible impression: your brand matters, although perhaps not for the reasons you once thought. As ACA rolls into its third year (perhaps its last?), the battle lines between payers and providers are growing, and we are seeing the impact health brands can have on affecting legislative issues, out-of-network statuses and ultimately patient trust.
Insurance companies have done a great job rebranding themselves in the last decade. They have moved their value proposition from covering you when you’re sick, to helping you live a healthier, longer, more fulfilled life. Campaigns like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota’s “Do” campaign, and “Groove Your Body” campaign have led the way in repositioning them as a trusted resource for living a healthy life. Good on them, I say!
But, wait. Isn’t it my doctor—my health system—that’s supposed to help me be healthier? I thought that was one of the core tenets of ACA and of population health? More importantly, isn’t it one of the core benefits of my relationship with my doctors? Oh, well. Let the insurance companies have that piece of brand value. It can’t hurt.
Except it can hurt.
Today, in New Jersey, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield is leading a coalition of organizations pushing legislation that will cap out-of-network charges for providers across the state. The issue has been one of New Jersey’s most lobbied in this legislative session. This is exactly where the trends above come home to roost. When people have high regard for their insurers they tend to champion them when lobbied, and they become vocal advocates against hospitals and health systems on social media. Guess how that affects state legislators, and ultimately your bottom line?
The concept of brand value has become devalued in the past decade. Some would question whether organizations should invest in it at all. It’s a reasonable consideration in the face of pressure to perform, instant metrics, and growing the bottom line. But when we lose sight of the broader perspective, we become vulnerable in new ways. Today, that vulnerability is an escalating battle for value and loyalty between providers and payers. It’s time to pay attention to the challenges and opportunities in front of us, and perhaps more and more, those to the side.
Want to stand up for your brand? Consider a process like this, and evaluate the 360-degree efficacy of your own brand.