Health Plans: A Consideration Set of One

October 9, 2020  |  Paula Serios, Mike Eaton


Asymmetrical Service and Product Innovation

In the health insurance industry, business strategists often focus on features like benefit design, premiums, and panel size when thinking about membership growth. These are undeniably important considerations, or gating factors, for brokers, employers and individuals looking for insurance.

If an insurer fails to meet minimally viable product (MVP) standards for consideration, they can be left out of the customer purchase journey. Conversely, if an insurer can create meaningfully differentiated features, then a new consideration set can be created that establishes high barriers to entry and leaves competitors behind. We call this a consideration set of one.

Consider electric cars, for instance. Many new makes and models have entered the marketplace in the past few years. But if you want an electric vehicle that offers extended range, high-performance, and autonomous driving technology, a consideration set of only one has emerged—Tesla.

At BVK Health we believe the first goal of all health insurers must be to meet the minimum threshold for consideration. But it is the opportunity to eliminate competitors from the consideration set that we find most intriguing from a brand strategy perspective. If an insurer can introduce new service features and product offerings that make competitors obsolete, as Tesla did, there is a clear path to taking membership share quickly and decisively.

It is, of course, easier said than done. Service and product innovations can often be replicated with buy, build, or partner strategies. The comparative value of innovative offerings can be offset by lower price for consumers willing to sacrifice what’s new for what’s least expensive. It is a dynamic exercise to staying in the consideration set and create separation from others competing to do the same.

At BVK Health, we know that symmetrical innovation focused on countering similarly organized health insurers creates a competitive advantage, but one with a predictably short shelf-life. Gaining a durable market advantage is best achieved through asymmetrical innovation that creates new categories or competitive classes that others cannot match. We have created a checklist of five strategies that every health plan should consider as it looks to deliver the asymmetrical innovation needed to accelerate growth:

  1. Drive innovation from insight into core human values that explain why people buy insurance
  2. Take time, cost, and complexity out of the purchase journey and insurance use
  3. Apply conjoint analysis to determine how people value different attributes
  4. Automate experiences to empower self-service and self-management by customers
  5. Create greater immediacy that eliminates barriers to on-demand transactions

BVK Health can help you work through this checklist to explore asymmetrical innovations that might enable you to create a consideration set of one—with gating features that others cannot match.

We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you to further explore our findings and your specifics. Or you could join us for one of our upcoming webinars where we will discuss our national research and its applications. You can also reach out to [email protected] with questions or comments.


is a Senior Vice President, BVK Health


Mike Eaton is a Senior VP at BVK

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