How Delta Dental of Missouri used the power of the cloud to engage and grow their direct to consumer sales

19 May 2014 | Sam Robinson, National Director, U.S. Health Plan Industry, Health and Life Sciences

individual health insurance marketAddressing the rapidly growing individual health insurance market is one of the single biggest challenges—and opportunities—health plans face today. Reforms such as the Affordable Care Act in the US has catalyzed an unprecedented spike in demand for consumer health insurance products.

How can your health plan adapt quickly to not only meet this new demand, but differentiate itself from the competition to attract and retain market share?

Here’s what Delta Dental of Missouri (DDMO) is doing:

Like most health plans, the majority of DDMO’s customers in the past have been employers—more than 1,800 companies in Missouri and South Carolina have selected DDMO as their dental benefits carrier. So its business model was designed for business-to-business interactions. DDMO knew that in order to capture the individual dental health plan market, it needed a business-to-consumer model. It needed to engage and interact with consumers where they’re used to going to research and buy products and services these days—online.

Due to the time pressures involved they asked West Monroe Partners (WMP) for their help in developing a web-based solution to market and sell individual dental health plans.

WMP created a robust, custom e-commerce website for DDMO within just eight months using Microsoft cloud services. The online customer-centric, dental insurance shopping experience enables consumers to compare products and purchase individual dental plans from DDMO. It also supports the entire sales lifecycle. Here are a few of the ways the consumer website is helping DDMO engage the new individual market segment:

  • Builds brand awareness
  • Educates the potential member about available options and the benefits of dental insurance
  • Drives optimal conversion rates
  • Enrolls members once they have purchased a plan—with no manual intervention
  • Predicts customer needs and responds to recent trends
  • Provides an engaging, one-stop shopping experience that’s a competitive differentiator
  • Aligns business processes to support the customer

The e-commerce solution West Monroe Partners created for Delta Dental of Missouri fully integrates with claims systems, financial systems, member portal, and PCI-compliant card processing services. And because it was developed using flexible Microsoft cloud services, it can be quickly and easily scaled up or down to align with fluctuating member demands. It can also be easily modified to add new features when needed. 

That’s one of the benefits of the cloud, of course. You can get services up and running quickly and adapt them as necessary based on organizational and customer requirements, without the typical up-front costs of on-premises hardware and software.

“This eCommerce site, powered by Microsoft technologies, puts Delta Dental of Missouri at the forefront of the business to consumer movement within dental and vision insurance,” says Kristin Irving, Director and leader of the Dental Payer Practice at West Monroe Partners.

Delta Dental of Missouri is a great example of a health plan taking advantage of cloud services to engage individual customers from acquisition through care delivery. As the health plan industry evolves, so too must its customer engagement strategies. It’s crucial to view the customer as the retail industry has done for years—as the focus of all activities online. The good news is that with the scalability of the cloud, it’s easier, faster, and more cost-effective than ever for health plans to do so.

Have a comment or opinion on this post or a question for the author? You can either email us or connect with us on Facebook or via Twitter. Also, don’t miss seeing West Monroe speak at the National Association of Dental Plans Converge Conference this September. Contact Kristin Irving at West Monroe Partners for more information.

 
Sam Robinson
National Director, U.S. Health Plan Industry, Health and Life Sciences

Microsoft in Health Blog

About the Author

Sam Robinson | National Director, U.S. Health Plan Industry, Health and Life Sciences

Sam Robinson is the National Director, U.S. Health Plan Industry, with Microsoft Health and Life Sciences. In this role, Sam is responsible for Microsoft’s strategy, execution, and public presence... Read more