Improving Health Literacy & Medication Adherence for Medicare MA-PD Members

Medication nonadherence is the #1 driver of poor health outcomes and has become a $300 billion obstacle in the United States, amounting to 13% of total US healthcare spend.

Achieving successful medication adherence is a huge challenge for health plans. Considering the common barriers, including complex dosing schedules and confusion about how and when to take medications, it becomes increasingly difficult when people are prescribed several medications to take simultaneously, especially for people with chronic—and sometimes multiple—conditions.

One innovative national health plan recognized this challenge and chose to partner with us for a year-long engagement program, testing the value and effectiveness of rewards and incentives for a targeted group of members taking medication for diabetes, hypertension, and/or high cholesterol.


An Approach that Includes Powerful Messaging, Omnichannel Outreach, and Rewards that Create Action

Together with this health plan we established our program objectives and goals—to improve medication adherence among targeted members through education, omnichannel outreach, and rewards.

To start, we designed a program that would bolster engagement. This included creating simple and concise messages that educated members about the importance of taking their medications, as well as the role they play in their health.

The member journey for this program took place over the span of a year. After working with this health plan to identify the members who were taking diabetic, hypertension, and/or statin medications, we began engagement and education to move those targeted members to complete various “learn and earn” activities that addressed potential engagement barriers, such as forgetfulness or perceived need for medication. By completing these activities, members would earn a reward.

Finally, we created medication checklist activities designed to motivate members to take their medications as prescribed by doing medication check-in activities every two months. Completing this checklist activity would also result in a reward for the member.

To bring it all together, we leveraged an omnichannel outreach and engagement approach. This allowed for members to engage in the way they were most comfortable. Whether it was through direct mail, postcards, email, interactive voice, live agents, or digital channels, members were given several options to engage. As always, member abrasion was top of mind when designing this program. The maximum number of touch points was contingent on engagement in the program and available outreach channels to avoid overcommunication and abrasion.


Strong, Consistent Engagement Led to Increased Utilization Before Year End

The goal of this program was to improve medication adherence for members managing 1 or more of 3 chronic conditions—diabetes, hypertension, and/or high cholesterol. Over the course of the year, Icario and the health plan gleaned many valuable, key insights, including:

Program Design

Icario engaged 16% of non-compliant members to complete and attest to at least 1 healthcare activity, surpassing the goal of a 14% utilization rate for the program. The human-centered, supportive messaging and omnichannel outreach approach supported this successful utilization rate.

Member Touchpoints

Repeated outreach at strategic intervals was critical to program performance. We found that 32% of “learn & earn” conversations and 37% of checklist conversions were later in the year—October to December—reinforcing the value of enduring outreach.

Member Engagement

Interestingly, this program revealed that once a member became engaged, they had a far higher likelihood to stay engaged for the program lifecycle. For example, of members who completed the first “learn & earn” activity, 28% of them went on to complete the entire program

Rewards & Incentives

Perhaps the most interesting insight was around rewards—more conditions & more rewards does not directly lead to higher engagement. Members having more than 1 condition and more available rewards did not produce higher engagement results. Rather, they performed almost identically in “learn & earn” activities and members with 1 condition redeemed at an overall higher rate.

Channel Utilization

This program reinforced the need for omnichannel outreach that includes digital channels. While direct mail was effective in getting the information to members, digital is the stand out when it comes to rewards redemption. In fact, 32% of redemptions came through the digital experience.

Through the course of this program, we learned that there is power in a year-long engagement and education-based rewards program. We were able to engage and motivate members to complete critical healthcare activities that focused on driving medication adherence, ultimately resulting in improved health and safety.

Icario looks forward to continued partnership with this health plan on medication adherence and other health action programs in the future.