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4 Things Health Plans Need From Their Print & Fulfillment Vendor

From marketing materials, ID cards, EOB’s and invoices, to handbooks, provider directories and Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) mailings, your health plan has an endless list of ongoing, complex and tedious print and fulfillment projects that must get done the right way and on deadline.

Whether you’re a small or mid-sized health plan, have acquired a new health plan or recently experienced a significant amount of growth, you need a print and fulfillment vendor who has the experience, the technology and the systems in place to manage all of your projects without any hassle or hidden fees.

But when you evaluate a vendor, what questions should you ask to find the right one for your needs? And how can you make sure you’re getting the best ROI? Here, read on for the answers to these questions and the 4 things every vendor should offer you.

1. Experience with plans of all sizes.

When you look at print and fulfillment vendors, it’s crucial that you consider companies who work with health plans of all sizes, from those with as little as 200,000 members to those with upwards of 10 million.

If you are a small to medium sized health plan, you don’t want your ANOC mailings to be outsourced or given less priority because the vendor has larger plans to support. It’s also important that your vendor handles all of the work on-site rather than outsourcing it to a third party print shop.

 2. HIPAA compliant technology

Print and fulfillment is a complex process so the vendor you choose should use a technology platform that enables them to cross reference your member list with the United States Postal Service, manage and organize documents, view and archive images and track both individual print jobs and mailings. They should use technology that is HIPAA compliant and that allows for data cleansing.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is that you need a vendor who uses a web-based platform that allows you to interactively communicate with them. With a web-based platform, you can dictate business processes without having to rely on emails, conference calls or in-person meetings. You can make changes when it’s convenient for you and you can create if/then parameters so that junior members of your team cannot make significant changes without authorization.

3. Transparent pricing

If a vendor offers a price that seems to good to be true, it could be a red flag that they may not be able to deliver the results you’re looking for. Low-cost vendors usually do not have the experience necessary to handle a large volume of ANOC mailings. It’s also unlikely that they understand compliance standards so you run the risk of costly penalties.

These vendors are also more apt to tack on additional fees for set-up, ongoing management and technology and they often lack value-added services and infrastructure like business account management tools.

Although savings is always attractive, look for a vendor who offers transparent pricing and all-in-one packages which will save you a ton of money and hassle in the long run.

4. 360-degree tools
According to a survey by Managed Healthcare Executive, 60 percent of executives say improvements to customer experience initiatives are a priority. Making sure your call center and print and fulfillment operations work together is no exception.

Say for example, your members receive a statement about what their plan covered and their out of pocket expense for a recent visit. Although it clearly states, “don’t call,” some of them do because they think it’s an EOB or a bill.

If your print and fulfillment vendor is outsourced and your call center is handled internally or you simply do not have systems in place that allow the account manager to communicate with the call center, it can create confusion for your members and affect your HEDIS scores and STAR ratings.

Yet a vendor who uses an internet-based storage archive and retrieval tool can allow your customer service department to access one document or groups of documents within 24 hours of the mailing to better serve your members. This type of tool also allows your customer service representatives to email documents directly to members and use it as a pre-audit verification system and long-term storage solution.

This tool can also allow your clients to view the electronic version of the offline fulfillment instantly upon the fulfillment processing.

Choose a fulfillment vendor who has full end-to-end capabilities from print and finishing to insert and mail that are all executed on-site because it keeps the protected health information (PHI) responsibility in one place.

Choosing a print and fulfillment vendor doesn’t have to be an arduous process. When you know what questions to ask and the solutions you need, you’ll find the perfect partner who can help you streamline and grow your business in no time.


Written by: Ike Ahmed

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