Medibank members are spending around 15 per cent more on eye health than they did prior to the establishment of the VSP Neighbourhood Eyecare Network, according to Peter Lewis the CEO of General Optical, VSP’s sister company in Australia. Yet, he conceded, some VSP optometrists are still waiting to reap the benefits.
The network, which was established in January this year, now has 367 members spanning most states and territories of Australia. “Our members represent all spectrums of independent optometrists from the large, multi practices to the small,” said Mr. Lewis. “We wouldn’t necessarily say there is a typical profile of the member network.”
To attract Medibank members to VSP practices, Mr. Lewis says there is a program of special promotions. “These promotions offer great value to the providers and are supported with in-store marketing material. The first campaign was delivered in the first quarter and the second campaign kicked off in June.” Promotions have included co-branded campaigns, mail drops and Medibank tweets to its members.
“We have also developed a series of templates for the network providers to use across email and post. One example is a recall letter for use with their current and past Medibank patients, informing the patients that they have become a preferred provider of Medibank and the benefits now available to them,” said Mr. Lewis.
The campaign is centred on a personalised ‘geo targeted’ initiative…
“Contact details for all VSP Neighbourhood Eyecare network providers have been uploaded to the Medibank and VSP Australia websites. This enables patients to search for their closest network provider.”
He said General Optical has restructured the role of its Account Managers so they can be available to provide “sales and individualised marketing solutions at a practice level” as well as support and advise on “how best to maximise the supply chain efficiencies”. He hopes this will help negate the extra discount that providers are required to offer Medibank members.
A Network Coordinator has been appointed to support providers with administrative issues, respond to network related questions and manage POS materials.
During the second half of this year, he said Medibank will run a further targeted marketing campaign to its members.
“The campaign is centred on a personalised ‘geo targeted’ initiative, combining member email and mail drop by postal code. The national marketing communication is targeted to specific members who have not claimed their health insurance rebate.”
Mr. Lewis said although there has been an uplift of 8 per cent in their members visiting a VSP Neighbourhood Eyecare Network, “some providers have experienced an uplift and others not as yet… what is critical is the fact that most providers report they are not experiencing any lost scripts from Medibank members”.
He said some optometrists have withdrawn from the network “for their individual reasons. We’re pleased to say though that we have also had new optometrists joining the network over the past five months and the net result of total members has been fairly constant”.