If you haven’t heard about the health care consumer incentive trend yet, soon you may be  adjusting your strategy to jump on the bandwagon. Many consumer goods and service industry providers, such as food & beverage, supermarket, pharmacy, travel & leisure, insurance and others may benefit on many levels, by offering consumer incentives to drive healthy behaviors.

Consumers Pushed to Stop Misbehaving

Consumers recognize that unhealthy lifestyles are a cost driver of healthcare and are  open to change

Consumers recognize that unhealthy lifestyles are a cost driver of healthcare and are open to change

According to the Doloitte Center for Healthcare Solutions 2012 survey “consumers recognize that unhealthy lifestyles are a substantial cost driver of the (healthcare) system, and a low level of engagement had been evident in consumers’ pursuit of healthy behaviors.” All that is quickly changing as employers and businesses are responding to the new reality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with strategies that react to its financial, strategic and consumer implications.

Employees Tipping the Scales

The immediate focus is in the workplace. The US Dept. of Labor official position is that employers will receive financial incentives for supporting workplace wellness programs. Under the provision employees are to be provided a reward for “decreasing their use of, tobacco, … achieving a specified cholesterol level or weight, as well as to those who fail to meet a biometric target but take certain additional required actions.” Since 60% of consumers fall into the covered employee category, health & wellness goods and services will be top-of-mind for the majority of consumers. In addition to physical incentive rewards, employees can earn insurance premium reductions of 30% or more. Here are examples of meaningful innovations that brought together mutual partners to go with the healthcare incentive program flow, to support healthy behavior change

Comparing Apples and Oranges For Health and Wealth

Tops Friendly Markets, of Buffalo NY, has teamed up with Independent Health to offer members of the health care association a loyalty/rewards program that rewards members for buying fruits and vegetables from Tops. For every $2 spent on produce, Tops will credit $1 for use at a later time. Independent Health issues co-branded Tops gift card to members every quarter.

Meaningful Innovation: supermarket loyalty program rewards members with gift cards for buying fruits and vegetables

Meaningful Innovation: supermarket loyalty program rewards members with gift cards for buying fruits and vegetables

Apparently they did their research. Seventy-three percent of consumers identify price as one of their priorities when selecting their grocery store, and sixty-one percent of shoppers say eating healthy is too expensive. This is great use of sales promotion to overcome consumer obstacles, and to create a partnership between business and consumer.

In addition to the supermarket gift card promotion, consumers and the health care providers may also be eligible from a health insurance premium reduction and other incentives. Repositioning a supermarket loyalty process, and taking advantage of the government structured incentive program, builds positive brand image and associations, while providing a value to the consumer designed to encourage healthy behaviors.

Who Loves You Baby

Who can resist an incentive campaign promoting healthy babies

Who can resist an incentive campaign promoting healthy babies

Marketers know ads with a baby or a puppy get high readership scores, everyone loves a cute bundle of joy. The mix of health care incentives and exponentially increasing positive brand exposure created many diverse bedfellows for this worthwhile effort. Hawaii Medical Assurance Association, Safeway, March of Dimes and BabyBeat have all joined forces to promote healthy babies. The joint program, called “Maternity and Baby Care,” provides educational wellness incentives that include a healthy baby kit, a free three-month diaper supply and a free rental of a fetal heart monitor for pregnant members of the insurance plan. That’s a lot of partners who are getting positive brand awareness and sharing government incentives for supporting a cause that everyone cares passionately about.

Catch The Health Care Wave  For Your Pipeline

Consumers understand the need to introduce healthy behaviors into their lives. The attention and financial support  for health and wellness behavioral change is ramping up. If you are in a business that remotely touches the opportunity to positively affect a consumer’s healthy lifestyle, now is the time to consider the strategic, financial and consumer marketing implications of the health care positioning trend.

Kevin Danaher

Kevin’s career spans over 30 years where he worked for New York Sales Promotion and Advertising agencies such as Ventura Associates, and BBDO developing promotional campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands including VISA, General Electric, Kraft/General Foods, Fidelity Investments, and Chrysler. Read More