Deliver a Fresh Approach (Part 5 in Disciplined Business Development)

“There’s nothing new under the sun.” Well, not quite. Imagine the Apple iPhone a hundred years ago…

Here’s the problem. Due to requirements, inertia, and just “staying in the comfort zone”, most health plans are offering relatively similar solutions to states. The states want more. Virtually every Medicaid RFP we see explicitly asks for innovative solutions. Yes, there are many regulations that bind us, and make it easy to stay “comfortable.” Nevertheless, if you offer what everyone else offers, and the competitor’s price or perceived risk level is lower – you lose.

But wait – your health plan has fifteen differentiators!


We find that many of these “innovations” don’t hold up to examination. So – do your evaluation – then determine what you can offer that is truly groundbreaking, innovative, and will help the state achieve its objectives. And if it is hard to replicate – so much the better.

Here is an experiment to help you assess whether your differentiators are real. Choose three to five things that your plan touts as competitive differentiators. List those down the left hand side of a table. Then choose competitors – list those across the top of the table.


Us Competitor 1 Competitor 2 Competitor 3 Competitor 4
Medical SuperProgram 5



Claims Data Mining Accelerator



For each competitor and differentiator, put a check mark in the box if the competitor has a relatively similar feature to the one you list. By relatively similar, we mean a feature where the average consumer would likely not notice an appreciable difference. You can get information on the competitor’s features in many ways: Google, health plan websites and provider manuals, presentations at conferences, and FOIA requests of competitor proposals.

How many boxes are checked? Are you truly different? If so, more power to you! But if not – time to start conducting research and development.

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