How Health Insurance Companies Can Outsource Big Data to Communicate with Subscribers Before a Claim

Justin Brodeur / July 10, 2017

It’s no secret that health insurance companies are analyzing their data and looking for patterns that can help them pre-diagnosis medical conditions and provide better service to subscribers.

Sure, there is some success garnered from organizations crunching claim codes and modeling the information. But, that data is descriptive because it’s describing what has already happened. You know that a member was pregnant because a hospital put in a claim for the birth and a three-night stay. At that point, you’re already too late to provide the subscriber with crucial information related to pre-natal care.

The insurance company is the last to know when something happens in a subscriber’s medical story. But, what if we borrowed techniques from e-commerce and internet marketing to change the narrative. What if we outsourced big data so that we could identify and communicate with subscribers before that delivery claim was put in?

Let’s use pre-natal care as our use case.

Target has had serious success in identifying women who are pregnant almost before their parents or mate know. They have the luxury of having purchasing data that they can tie to each unique shopper by credit card. Their data nerds know that when you start buying unscented lotion and a combination of other products that there is statistically a highly probable chance that you are a pregnant woman.

Health insurers just don’t have access to that type of data. But, they do have access to breadcrumbs that participants leave via public search data and the social graph.

Think about it, you definitely know someone that has published their ultrasound photos on Facebook or broken the news that they’re #preggers on Twitter or Instagram. Put yourself in #preggers shoes. As soon as they find out that they’re due they hit Google and start searching for baby names, what their bundle of joy’s astrological star means for their personality, and what the best pre-natal vitamins are.

These members are certainly leaving little tidbits and digital clues all over the internet. How can we leverage that? Easy.

Build Content Of Value

First, we’ve identified that births are one of the more expensive hospital stays that a person can have in their lifetime. Health insurers want it to go as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible, so why not build content that helps prepare subscribers for success. It could be anything from pre-natal vitamins, diet and exercise tips, to developing a birth plan – it just needs to be valuable to the subscriber and your business use case.

Host The Content / Outsource Big Data Technology

We suggest building a microsite specifically for the medical case because of the flexibility it provides, but your mileage may vary. Regardless, you need to make sure that you can install Facebook tracking pixels on each page and that your site is capable of handling conversion tracking with Google Analytics and Facebook.

Buy Traffic

Remember, the subscriber is going to be telling their friends and family that they’re pregnant, and they’re going to start buying unscented lotions and planning their registry at Target. You need to start siphoning and redirecting some of that traffic to your content of value.

So, how the heck do you do that? Start with Google Adwords. We’ll want to buy search traffic for keywords and phrases that signify that someone is really interested in pregnancy. It could be pre-natal vitamins, finding an ob/gyn, googling for morning sickness remedies, etc. The ads will promote your content of value and direct the user to your site.

Once they’re on your site, the Facebook tracking pixel is going to pick them up. This is key, because in addition to the Google Adwords we’ll be purchasing Facebook and Instagram ads that will be served to our retargeting audience (people that visited the microsite).

To further round out the the social graph picture, we’ll purchase Facebook and Instagram ads based on a demographic profile of women aged 16-36 who are based in a given area (e.g. the Commonwealth of Massachusetts borders) and have interest in pre-natal vitamins, pregnancy, etc. There’s some anecdotal information that Facebook parses status updates to gather sentiment analysis and serve ads. In English, if you post an ultrasound photo – you’re probably going to start getting ads for Huggies. We can use that to our advantage and serve ads to our super awesome content of value.

So we’re now purchasing traffic for people are have intent (searching on Google for pregnancy information) and social proof (publishing ultrasound photos on Instagram or a status update on Facebook about being #preggers). We’ve got re-targeting ads running, and we’re also tracking all of the clicks so that we can provide real-time analysis and conversion reporting.

Collect Data (Where Applicable)

Now that you’ve got the content, site, and traffic you can start collecting data that you wouldn’t have had to access previously and be a player earlier in the subscriber’s medical story.

Effectively, we’ve cheaply outsourced big data analysis to identify members (our own and potentially other health insurers) who are pre-natal and now we can communicate with them prior to the big day.


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