Now that applications are completed, it’s time to get started on developing bids for 2018. In our experience working with many health plans, we have seen a wide range of strategies for developing bids over the years. Some of the strategies have worked very well, but many times we are working to improve or develop a more robust system because something went wrong the year before. Whatever your scenario might be, here are three important tips to help your bid process run smoother this year:
1. This Is Not a One-Person Job – Gorman Health Group (GHG) believes the bid process needs to be a team approach, with one clear leader, and include representatives from the following areas to ensure the best product is brought to market, and, when it is offered, the implementation of the product is seamlessly implemented. Some of the members who should be included are the following:
• Vice President, Medicare
• Product/Sales/Marketing Representatives
• Finance/Actuary/Healthcare Economics
• Medical and Health Management
It is important this team succeeds as a group. Everybody needs to be accountable for his or her part in the process. Several times we have seen the process fall apart when team members didn’t show up for meetings and waited until the last minute to complete their assignment which was critical to completing the bid. Accountability is key! And that is why we recommend a senior management executive be a part of the process. There is nothing worse than making changes the day before the bid is due!
2. Have a Plan in Place – Having a bid document in place to level-set the team of the goals of the bid development process is critical to getting everyone on the same page upfront. When you have such a disparate group of departments working together with different goals, it is important to level-set in the beginning. Some items that should be included are the following:
• Understanding of the current financials profitability and what the return on investment should be in the next year
• Enrollment goals and forecasts
• Product goals and target market
• Competitive product and premium analysis
• Market, Annual Election Period, and member analysis
• Network analysis
• Formulary overview
• Medical Management programs and their effectiveness
This type of document, where each member provides guidance to the process from the outset, helps to form a project plan and clear objectives.
3. Strong Communication Process – GHG has never participated in a bid process where there is only one iteration of benefits. There are typically many iterations and changes along the way. In addition, if new benefits are added, there may be the need for new vendors and contracts to be developed. Changes to benefits or new benefits can cause real implications to claim systems and other operations. There are also very critical mandated marketing and advertising materials being developed that must be 100% accurate. We have seen issues occur in each of these areas because of a lack of a strong communication process. There must be a consistent methodology to provide individuals responsible for implementing benefits the opportunity to get it done right. There is no one way to do this. Your job is to make sure it is done the right way.
Having a strong bid process is an important step in making sure health plans are developing the most meaningful products and benefits to meet the needs of your target audience. If you need help in putting your bid process together, call us today!
P.S. Take advantage of our Spring SALE! Sign up now for GHG’s Sales, Marketing & Strategy consulting services and receive 10-15% off*. Project terms must be agreed upon by March 30, 2017, so don’t wait! Contact us today >> *Discount is based on client-specific defined scope of work.
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