There are typically five stages a health insurance company goes through when developing new products, and then managing them once they’re live: product innovation, product quoting, product onboarding, product servicing, and product marketing. Each of the five stages in the health insurance product development and management lifecycle requires data to function, but this data is often spread out across multiple systems — some insurers even have a separate system for each stage of the lifecycle.

From an efficiency standpoint, these disparate and disjointed systems present a major problem. They prevent the employees responsible for each stage of the lifecycle from accessing valuable information from other stages — for example, they prevent product innovators from understanding which products are being quoted, sold, and serviced. In order to optimize health insurance product development and management, insurers need to consolidate their systems and respective data within a single catalog ideally one with specialized capabilities for each lifecycle stage. Before we get too into that, though, let’s take a closer look at the five stages of health insurance product development and management, and why data is so important at each stage.

1. Product Innovation

Each year, during open enrollment, health insurance companies debut new products to existing health plan members. What members might not realize is that each open enrollment period is preceded by an innovation cycle, during which their insurer’s innovation team works to either build new products or reconfigure existing products according to member feedback, new products from competitors, and/or changes in regulation. In order to do this, health insurers need to collect massive quantities of data to be analyzed; but with disparate systems, the pool of data that an innovation team has to draw from is severely limited, making it difficult to get an accurate read on which products performed well, which ones didn’t, and so on.

By gaining a view into other stages of the insurance product development and management lifecycle, an innovation team can build new products and upgrade existing ones based on a wider range of factors, such as which products have been serviced, how easy they are to maintain, whether they’re relevant to members’ needs, member satisfaction, and more. Additionally, by consolidating data and then introducing machine learning into the mix, health insurers can also enable their innovation teams to apply sentiment analysis to incoming calls from members.

2. Product Quoting

During the second stage of the health insurance product development and management lifecycle, sales teams work to sell products crafted by the innovation team to new or existing members. Although this might seem straightforward enough, health insurance sales teams often lack the visibility they need into which products are actually available — another side effect of disparate systems — and run the risk of offering leads products that can’t be configured due to regulations. By implementing a software solution with a built-in rules engine that can clean up their current data estate, health insurers can better guarantee that their sales team always offers the right product to the right customer at the right time.

3. Product Onboarding

Once a sales representative has successfully quoted and closed on a deal, it enters the product onboarding stage. During this stage, a health insurer’s onboarding team will issue an ID card to the member in question so that they schedule a doctor’s appointment, file a claim, and so on. Traditionally a manual process, quote to card can take up to eight weeks and often involves a lot of back and forth between the onboarding team and new members.

By consolidating the entire quote to card process within a single workflow and automating it, health insurance companies can increase visibility across departments, improve the accuracy of health plans (they can be fined for inaccuracies), and reduce both the length of the process and the number of people involved.

4. Product Servicing

When a health plan member is injured, they’ll file a claim and call in to find out where they should go for treatment, what coverage they have, how they can find a doctor, and so on. To handle these claims, call center agents typically have to pull up multiple systems across multiple screens — product data on one screen, member data on another, and cost share and product details on another still — in order to get a complete picture of the member and which products and benefits they currently have.

As one might assume, this approach is inefficient and more than a little confusing, which once again points to the need for data consolidation. Keeping all of this information within a single system enables call center agents to quickly get an idea of the issue at hand and how to resolve it, simplifying the product servicing stage of the health insurance product development and management lifecycle and increasing member satisfaction in the process.

5. Product Marketing

In order to effectively market new or upgraded products, an insurer’s product marketing team needs to have access to data from the other four stages of the health insurance product development and management lifecycle. With disparate systems, marketing teams have to manually collect and format this data, wasting valuable time and effort; with consolidated systems and automation, they can automatically gather this data by just clicking a button. Certain solutions will even generate a summary of benefits, renewal letters, and more. Health insurers have historically been behind the curve when it comes to marketing, so gaining this capability is major win and could be a competitive differentiator.

We’ve broken down the five stages of the health insurance product development and management lifecycle and the importance of data at each one — now, it’s time to talk technology.

From Engage for Health Plans to Microsoft Azure, Hitachi Solutions offers a full suite of products and services powered by Microsoft and brings to the table years of experience solving business challenges in the health insurance industry. Our specialists will work closely with you to clean up your data estate, consolidate systems, and streamline workflows so that the teams responsible for each stage of your company’s insurance product development and management lifecycle can work more efficiently and collaboratively. When you work with Hitachi Solutions, you aren’t just getting a solutions provider — you’re getting a dedicated partner.

Ready to transform your business solutions? Talk to one of our experts today.