Engaging Members in Your Healthcare Shopping Incentives Program

Research shows that healthcare incentives and rewards programs work well to persuade members to search for and select cost-effective healthcare providers. A couple key data points from our recent financial incentives study include:

  • 72% of respondents are willing to switch imaging providers for a $25 reward
  • 57% of respondents say they would ask for another referral from their PCP if the original was not an incentivized care option

Even better, members say they want these types of programs, highlighted by the below findings:

  • 91% are interested in healthcare incentive programs
  • 76% want employers to give them tools to save money on healthcare

Now that the data has presented a great case for why health plans should offer this type of resource to members, we’re happy to share a few best practices to help you launch a successful rewards program and engage with your members.

Build an Omnichannel Approach: While tech teams are implementing, marketing teams should be building a multichannel plan to reach members with the new offering. Why? Because each of your members is unique and will engage differently. In fact, those who have access to a rewards program report initially hearing about the availability of the program through many different channels:

  • 39% first heard about their health plan’s rewards program through their employer
  • 16% first heard about the program through their health plan website
  • 13% first heard about the program through a mailing from their health plan
  • 9% first heard about the program through their health plan’s call center
  • 9% first heard about the program through an email from their health plan

Leverage Partnerships: As stated above, 39% of respondents in our recent survey first heard about their health plan’s rewards program through their employer. That’s a huge impact. Partnering with your employer groups to market your rewards program will not only ensure more people are aware of the program’s availability, but that more people are using it—saving your employer groups, your members, and you, money. Partnering with your employer groups to promote awareness and usage of the rewards program is a very important step in achieving utilization.

Focus your Messaging: Some of the messages we’ve found most successful for marketing rewards programs include those that focus on the reward itself and on shared savings. Below are some messages we recommend trying out in emails, member portal CTAs, search results CTAs, and regular mail to promote the availability of your program:

  • Choose a cost-effective provider and share in the savings
  • We offer hundreds of rewardable services from quality providers that save you money
  • Get rewarded for seeing quality, cost-effective providers
  • We give you the power to save money on care and get rewarded, too
  • Earn up to $100 when you choose a cost-effective provider
  • Save money and earn money
  • Save money on your service AND get rewarded for it

Simplify Access: Members shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to find your program – keep it simple. Update website content and CTAs to reflect the new rewards offering prominently. Create an easy-to-remember URL to promote the program on a publicly accessible landing page and a clear path to sign up. Campaigns should be targeted and bring members to their specific savings opportunities through direct links.

Promote, Promote, Promote: Ensure you include dedicated outreach announcing the program and how it works and be sure to include email in your tactics. We’ve found dedicated emails promoting rewards programs to be particularly effective (resulting in as high as a 2,000% increase in signups for one client). Continue to promote the offering as part of regular member communications, including newsletters, EOBs, in-app messages, mailings, new insurance card letters, hold messaging and SMS.

Implementing these best practices will put your program on a path to success. Learn more about how HealthSparq can help your members be more engaged and earn rewards for going to cost-effective providers while you and your employer groups save money – it’s a win-win!


This post adds on the to the tips we created a few years ago in the blog “Five Steps to a Successful Incentives and Rewards Launch” and goes further into what marketing and member facing teams can do to help ensure reward program engagement and success.