Legacy Systems and Infrastructure Impeded Progress
Medicare Advantage (private health plans approved by Medicare) has been in existence for almost 20 years, built on the established 38-year history of Medicare. The complexity of the American healthcare marketplace required a complex interconnected infrastructure of policies and technologies that sought to balance the health needs of individuals with the business demands of private enterprise. These sometimes conflicting goals often pushed a user experience to a secondary consideration, resulting in functional but often confusing and complicated interactions between the various constituents in the marketplace ©.
Auditing the Challenge
In such a regulatory complex environment, one of the greatest challenges Combo faced was defining and mapping existing user experiences. Siloed communication structures, multiple participating parties—from primary health providers to pharmacy, finance and claims handling—and a lack of consumer-centric strategies had resulted in fragmented and disconnected engagement touchpoints between all parties. To understand both friction areas of existing experience and define and prioritize areas of opportunity, Combo strategists worked across functional areas of Humana to build the first holistic member journey map in the company's history.
Generationalizations Clouding Solutions
People over 65 are more often than not ignored by brands and marketing. While this age group represents over 70% of wealth in the US and is by far the fastest-growing demographic, by most estimates, less than 10% of overall US marketing dollars are focused on them. One result of this is a lack of meaningful research and insights and thus a reliance on stereotypes, generalizations and platitudes of the motivations, hopes, dreams and fears of a generation with a third of their life still in front of them.
Following development of a research design that focused on people over statistics, Combo strategists traveled to far corners of America, speaking to some of the most financially and health-challenged people over 65 to understand how the products and solutions being developed could most positively impact their lives. One key finding was that while society often pigeonholes retired people as “retired from life,” this is far from the truth. In reality, this generation continues to have goals, aspirations and dreams, and in helping them achieve these, strategists realized Author had identified the core brand role: helping people live their best life on their terms.
Communications as Health Tools
A common complaint about health insurance in America is the convoluted and complex stream of communications a person regularly receives from their health insurance company ©. Partly driven by regulatory requirements and partly by prioritization of business needs over clarity, an average Medicare Advantage member is exposed to hundreds of pages of documents every year yet has little comprehension of how to separate what is important from what is bordering on junk mail. Realizing that these communications were the most voluminous and present touchpoints a healthcare brand has with its members, Combo strategists and designers set out to rethink every single document a member, provider or sales agent receives through a new lens of considering all communications as health tools.
Author is a wholly owned subsidiary of Humana, the third-largest health insurance company in America, serving almost five million Medicare Advantage members. Humana has a history of proactively driving its business toward bold goals in service to its members’ interests. Author was created in this spirit to provide a platform for further pushing how an innovative whole-care approach can positively impact members. Our task was to design a brand that fit within the Humana ecosystem while also retaining enough independence to connote the new approach the Author Medicare product would take.