The raise in healthcare premiums- implications for DTC marketers

healthinsuranceEmployees are contributing nearly 6% more for health insurance for their families in 2013, more than three times the increase in workers’ wages.  Workers are shelling out an average of $4,565 for their employer-sponsored family health coverage this year, according to the annual survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.  What does this mean for DTC marketers and patient behavior ?

According to CNN Money while health insurance costs have been rising more slowly in recent years, so have wages. Workers saw their incomes rise by only 1.8% over the last year. “People still feel the pain of health care costs and worry about paying health care bills,” said Drew Altman, Kaiser’s chief executive.  There is no doubt this is going to translate into a change in patient behavior but what are those changes likely to be ?

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(1) Patients are going to have more of a say as to which healthcare treatments they choose.  It will be based on their physicians recommendation, impact on quality of life and cost of treatment.

(2) Why does this medication cost so much ?  Why does Lyrica cost $8.00 a capsule ?  Aren’t there any generic alternatives ?

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(3) Expect more emphasis, via the media, on drug costs even though drug development costs are reaching higher and drug cost are only 10% of every healthcare dollars spent.

(4) It’s not enough to drive people into their doctor to ask about certain health condition, DTC marketers have to give patients why their products are better than generics.

(5) DTC marketers should give patients information on higher co-pays with branded medications by health plan.

(6) DTC websites should include a strong call to action to see their doctor now rather than putting off treatment.  However, research should be conducted to determine what motivations can drive consumers to enter the healthcare transaction system.

(7) Before launching a DTC campaign ensure that your product has been approved by the vast majority of insurers.  Nothing is worse than the promise of a new treatment without approval by a patients insurer.

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(8) Head to head clinical studies against generics is a must, not an option anymore for most products.

DTC marketing is quickly moving into an era of consumerism because consumers want to be in control when it comes to spending their dollars. They are not going to go passively into a healthcare system that treats them like just another patient.  They want more of a say and simply want to be treated with respect as an individual.

 

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