For government-sponsored health plans, the health risk assessment (HRA) is not only a critical tool for identifying member needs through risk stratification, but it's also a program requirement.
Completion rates for HRAs are reported or counted in various quality rating programs, ranging from Medicare Stars for Special Needs Plans (SNPs) to state health department report cards for Medicaid and Medicare-Medicaid plans. While the calculation methodology varies between the various programs, the consistent element is that the member must answer enough questions for the HRA to be considered complete.
Plans often struggle to increase HRA completion rates as the targeted population tends to be more transient, less educated, and less food secure. This means plans must solve for multiple issues to achieve their goals of HRA completion rates and better population health management.
The Desire for Digital Connectivity
Right now, there is an increase in Medicare and Medicaid plan members getting digitally connected. According to 2019 Pew Research, 71% of Americans who earn less than $30,000 per year own a smartphone. 53% of those aged 65-plus own a smartphone, and internet use of seniors was measured at 73%. Research from Deloitte in 2018 revealed that 86% of adult Medicaid beneficiaries own smartphones.
This was the starting point at the beginning of 2020—then came a huge surge for digital connectivity: COVID-19. It has been reported that COVID-19 has catapulted seniors into a more digital lifestyle driven by telemedicine and connecting with family members via teleconferencing. It is likely to surmise that more Medicaid members have increased digital connectivity, too.
Plans can seize the moment and have a comprehensive connection program that digitally connects with Medicare beneficiaries and Medicaid members to help increase the completion rate of HRAs.
Leveraging Digital Technology
Traditionally, plans have relied on the familiar physical mail and phone calls for HRAs. Some plans deploy an additional initiative by sending staff, equipped with paper HRA copies, into the community for members to complete. These are high-cost, inefficient, and burdensome strategies.
Transitioning to digital engagement allows for a more scalable, effective, and timely approach to reach members in a way they prefer. With digital communications like email, a plan can tell within a week if a member has reviewed message contents or clicked on the link to a digital HRA. With physical mail, plans are guessing after a week if a member has received the information.
Once a member receives a paper version of the HRA, they must answer the questions and mail the completed assessment back to the health plan for processing. This is difficult and time-consuming for a member (and plan).
Digital HRAs reduce the effort for the member—clicking responses and hitting "submit" is far less time-consuming. Digitalized HRAs are easy to complete in multiple settings compared to paper versions, which are often misplaced. Overall, digital HRAs are faster to distribute and result in higher completion rates. With only 90 days to ensure a member completes an HRA, time is of the essence.
Accelerate Completion Results with Rewards
Pairing a member incentive strategy along with the digital HRA can significantly increase completion rates. Rewards can be physical or digital gift cards to a variety of local and national vendors such as Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, and Apple. Some programs choose to offer merchandise as well (e.g., Apple Watch and other wearables, blenders, and kitchen gadgets), which can be highly motivating for members to take action. When offering an incentive with the use of digital HRA, HealthMine's client experience has shown an increased completion rate of over 3 times versus not offering incentives in the first year.
So, if you're struggling to meet the required completion rates for government-sponsored health plans, consider an incentivized digital HRA. It's better for members through an easier and more user-friendly survey experience, as well as for plans through more completed surveys and access to real-time results.
Contact us today to learn more about Healthmine's incentivized digital HRA and other survey capabilities.