The impact of mergers and acquisitions on the health insurance industry


The numbers of healthcare merges and acquisitions (M&A) doubled from what it was a decade ago. As a result, massive infrastructural integrations are taking place across every aspect of the business in hopes of increasing efficiency and reducing costs. As with mergers and acquisitions of any nature and in any industry, this process is often time-consuming and arduous before benefits can be reaped. To protect both the business and its customers, it is critical to ensure the fluidity of these infrastructural data integrations.

So, what do health insurance companies need to look out for in the M&A process?

Integrating data without compromising data security

For industries possessing sensitive and private customer information, there is the fundamental concern around effectively preserving the integrity of the data. CVS and Aetna’s merger came with the weight of 90 million members and 39 million customers respectively.

To leverage unions such as this to develop a deeper understanding of customers and thus unlock valuable business openings, it is crucial that brands be able to unify the diversity of customer identities and attributes available. Failure to do so could result in inconsistent audience views, fragmented customer journeys, and squandered opportunities for up/cross-selling.

Of course, it is no easy feat to consistently ensure data security all while integrating massive amounts of private data across multiple data systems. In 2019, the global average total cost of a data breach was over $3.9 million per breach, and for the healthcare industry, the number could be as high as $6.45 million.

Overcoming the duo challenge of large-scale data integration and security readiness requires dedicated tools. Specifically, healthcare brands can benefit immensely from a Customer Data Platform (CDP), especially one that not only provides extensive API connectors to seamlessly integrated data from all relevant sources but offers robust security and compliance measures.

Managing patient care

Similar to their peers in other industries, healthcare brands are juggling the management of customer expectations and ongoing workspace transformations. A new location, changes in the communication process, or the adoption of new technology. If not handled delicately, these experiments and adjustments could end up hampering the customer experience.

Customer communications and journeys have to be tightly aligned; internal teams also need to ensure that they interact with customers in a consistent, standardized manner—regardless of the time or channel. While many marketing solutions can streamline customer engagement processes for a number of channels at the individual business level, expanding healthcare brands would need marketing automation solutions capable of accommodating their more complex organizational structures.

What exactly should such a solution provide? Some of the features to look for include:

The ability to support an organizational structure specific to the brand Accessibility across departments and business units Ability to deliver a singular customer view and translate it to the delivery of relevant engagement across business units (especially important for healthcare since many brands have both B2C and B2B2C operations) Streamlined monitoring of organization-wide and business unit-specific marketing analytics Ability to discover the collaterals, communications, and campaigns deployed across all levels of the organization Sophisticated measures for data security and access control What successful data integration in a merger means for customers

A successful merger could be a blessing in terms of cost savings, but it can also deliver a superior experience for the customer. Supported by a unifying marketing automation, the healthcare brand will have a much more comprehensive understanding of its customers, making it possible to provide them with much more relevant information in ways that reflect their individual preferences.

After a merger, a healthcare brand could, for instance, connect their customers’ medical visits with tailored prescription pick-ups, and patients under care can receive reminders about their refills as well as personalized medication information. Such a partnership could also expedite claims procedures taking place across business units.

Over time, more data can be collected to improve the customer journey. What is the current wait-time for prescriptions to be processed? What other types of purchases are customers inclined to make while waiting for their prescriptions? By enhancing their digital properties with non-intrusive technology that can capture the right signals such as these, healthcare brands will be much more empowered to not only cross/upsell effectively but contextualize how each customer is engaged in real time. When a customer is picking up their prescriptions at one of business unit A’s pharmacy stores, they can receive beacon-triggered notifications from business unit B recommending supplements tailored to their individual health profile.

Each M&A presents a wealth of opportunities to be harnessed for the benefit of businesses and customers alike. To successfully leverage these opportunities, however, depends whether they develop the right processes, talents, and capabilities to accommodate their enterprise-wide marketing transformations.


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