Morning! I just got back from two days worth of conversations about an integrated insurance company/provider network (no fair guessing who) and after talking to a dozen people well-placed through the organization and strategy, I had an interesting realization.

For a certain type of product, usually new products, one of the biggest obstacles you have to overcome to get people to buy your product is fear. That’s why infomercials work: after 30 minutes of “seeing” the product, we feel like we have enough familiarity with the product to evaluate it on it’s merits. Cutting edge technology? Fear was the biggest hurdle for the iPad: yes, the fanboys will buy it, but… what about everyone else? Will they understand how this new computing niche can fit in their life and actually displace other technology? Luckily, a legion of fanboys and fangirls were around to show it off and explain how much easier business travel is if you ditch the laptop in favor of the iPad, for example.

There are certain industries in which fear is endemic. The health care system is a great example. Not only are we terrified of the mammogram and colonoscopy, what about surgery? Recovery statistics? Human error in the hospital? Long physical therapy? Needles? There’s very little in health care that doesn’t cause most people’s heart to beat a little faster in fear (ask a nurse what percentage of people raise their blood pressure in fear of having to take a harmless blood pressure exam).

And that’s true on the insurance side. Can you explain why one thing is covered and something else isn’t? Of course you can’t. Insurance companies have servers that do nothing but process the rules to determine what’s covered and what’s not. Can you explain to a teenage what a formulary is? No? What about a medical deductible? That phone book of a set of policies and rights when you enroll makes organic chemistry seem like a cake walk. All fear inducing.

So here’s my pitch to any and all insurance people who might read this: You want a winning strategy? Make sure everything you do, every slip of paper you produce, every phone call or text message you send, every bit of your website, every sign in your office, every communication to every patient and provider does one thing: lower their fear. The fear of misunderstanding. The fear of payment. The fear of limited coverage.

Do that, sail by that star, and everything will fall into place.

Medicine is scary enough. Your coverage should be the least of anyone’s worries.