UMR on the art of listening

UMR on the art of listening
By: UnitedHealthcare Last Updated: September 27, 2019

The health care space is a busy, noisy market full of bells, whistles and plenty of distractions. Which is why now – more than ever – companies are finding it difficult to cut through the noise.

So how do you silence the chatter so your message rises to the top? You need more than a typical list of differentiators to convince audiences. When it comes to success in the health care vertical, a legacy of proven performance and customer retention will tell you a lot about an organization’s long-term viability.

For UMR, UnitedHealthcare’s third-party administrator (TPA), a key to success can be condensed to just a few words: “Less talk. More listening.” A quote from UMR Chief Executive Officer Scott Hogan, you could say these are some of UMR’s words to live and lead by. The act of listening more (or shall we say “active listening?”) works to help quiet the industry chatter and bring clarity to how UMR approaches the work, the value of its solutions and how the organization serves industry customers and members. Because in an ever-evolving industry, listening to what customers want and members need has become a novel, and sometimes even heroic, feat. And this is how UMR stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Experience matters

Change may be the norm in health care, but UMR’s staying power is directly linked to its story. Born of multiple TPAs that grew into what is now the single largest TPA in the United States, UMR can “think big” without losing its scrappy, get-it-done sensibility. That kind of brand identity, coupled with its back story, makes UMR a revolutionary force in the TPA world.

As a full-service TPA with a range of capabilities and solutions, UMR does it all – from medical administration to stop loss coverage, pharmacy benefits administration and risk management, to proprietary care management and wellness programs. UMR has its own proprietary platform and a robust reporting system. It’s safe to say that UMR has all of the pieces that make up a strong machine, and excels because of its breadth of industry knowledge and sound understanding of the nuances around self-funded plans.

But these capabilities aren’t the lynchpin of why UMR experiences continued growth and success as a TPA. You won’t find the secret in any of the solutions UMR offers because the magic lies in the ability to embrace the customer, wrapping arms around the customer’s pain points and devoting time to the underutilized art of listening to the customer’s needs.

That focus has underpinned its successes for good reason. UMR walks the talk. It’s a rich history of listening to, solving for, and predicting customer needs.

Real customization

“Customized” means many things across the health care landscape. You’ll see the words custom, customized, tailored and flexible in nearly any TPA brand equity (and absolutely every website). Which is why it’s especially difficult to see through the rhetoric and get a clear idea of who in the market is delivering real custom plan design.

Why does this matter? Because customers want to build their own plans, and the truth is that few brands in this space actually walk their talk and can deliver. They may have plug-and-play models where customers choose from a number of options and packages – or even “customize” specific products or features – but custom design tailored to employer/member needs is rare for a lot of reasons. One being the inability for most companies to integrate with outside vendors in the way that UMR does so well (which is its own discussion worth visiting).

At UMR, customers understand there are no “one-size-fits-all” or “cookie cutter” solutions. Instead, strategic account executives and their teams work in a partnership with the customer, evaluating population needs and plan recommendations and adjustments are made. From implementation and execution through re-evaluation, this iterative process helps customers reach their long and short-term goals. And it works!

UMR builds customized benefit plans from the ground up. It’s simultaneously sophisticated and intense, but the processes UMR has put in place to listen and understand get to the heart of what customers need. And it’s why UMR’s retention rate is over 90%. UMR is the expert in meeting customers – and their members – right where they are.

It’s about connection

Today, self-funded customers are looking for new and innovative ways to engage members in their health care decisions. The movement toward member advocacy means members are taking more ownership of their health and becoming active agents in their own health and wellness. 

UMR’s Plan Advisor Advocacy Solution takes this on with care. The Plan Advisor model supercharges the customer service process by connecting members with specially trained customer service reps who are empowered to spend time with members, helping them solve problems. These special customer service reps, also called “plan advisors,” are dedicated to members, offering advice and answering real life questions about their plan and their health. From billing questions to helping find an in-network doctor or schedule appointments, UMR’s plan advisors are a member’s personal guide to all things health care.  

Proven success

If UMR’s impact on the market centers on its ability to listen to customer needs and understand the member experience, what would UMR say about its success? More than likely it’s this: Now serving more than 5 million members with custom plan designs, cost-containment solutions and innovative services, UMR’s 70-plus-year legacy speaks volumes for what success looks like. In a crowded and distracting marketplace, UMR lets its service – and solutions – do the talking.

For more information on UMR’s capabilities, please contact your broker, or Mike Telesky, Vice President of Sales for UnitedHealthcare at 219-670-5298.