Get ready to rock and enroll this AEP

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Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP, is the time of year that seniors enroll in their annual Medicare plans. It’s often the biggest and busiest time of the year for those marketing to seniors. To get us ready to rock and enroll, TA tuned in to Integrity Marketing Group’s Medicare Live Event. Afterwards, a few TA experts shared their key takeaways from the carrier panel, the researchers, and insurance sales experts. 

 Medicare customers prefer a high-touch experience.

Surprisingly, that means talking with an agent over a digital experience.

One of our favorite sessions from Medicare Live was the DEFT Research session. Our TA experts learned that, like last year, AEP 2020 will likely see a lot of Medicare customers diving into the nitty-gritty details of their Medicare options before deciding to stay or switch plans. But unlike last year, Medicare customers will need to have these conversations with their agent or brokers while social distancing. And according to DEFT’s presentation, Medicare customers are most comfortable having these conversations over the phone, and prefer email to virtual meetings. 

This surprised TA’s Group Strategy Director, Riley Yates. “I thought that the adoption of virtual communications would be much higher because the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of virtual meetings tools for everyone, including Medicare customers,” said Yates. “Medicare marketers will need to display their TFNs (telephone numbers) prominently and staff their call centers adequately to quickly answer questions and direct callers to their local agents and brokers.”

Expect more aggressive Medicare Advantage offerings.

Carriers have been updating their Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to be more competitive, and AEP 2020 is no different. In fact, according to DEFT’s panel at Medicare Live, these enhanced benefits have helped drive the 2% increase in MA adoption (switching) in the last six months alone. These aggressive offerings include things like network flexibility and dental benefits, and are really making customers pay attention and consider switching their plans. 

TA consultant Annette Herman sees this as an opportunity for Medicare marketers to “focus ads and communications on what’s new this AEP and how it compares to what they already know or have. Insurance agents and brokers can then provide the guidance their customers rely on them for to get the best plan that will work for them.”

 Marketing basics have never been more important.

A key takeaway for Yates was the need for carriers to instill customer confidence in their ability to take on the challenge of COVID-19 safely. “Carriers that address their customer’s F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, doubt) will be more successful this AEP than those who don’t,” says Yates. “To do this, Medicare marketers really have to know their customers so they can answer their questions and address their concerns before they are brought up. It seems basic, but it’s never been more important to know your customer.” 

Herman agrees that getting back to basics will be crucial for AEP 2020. “The best thing carriers can do is implement solid branding,” says Herman. “Not only will this help to differentiate products, but it will also help customers connect emotionally with the carrier.” This emphasis on brand during COVID is something we’ve seen at TA since the pandemic really hit in March, and Herman takes this idea further. “Carriers also need to promote their strong brand with their sales teams,” says Herman.” This includes empowering their agents and brokers with tools and information that will enable their sales professionals to build on those strong carrier brands and help them guide their Medicare customers to the right plan.”

If you’re like us and you’re doing your last set of stretches before the AEP 2020 mad dash begins, this Medicare treasure trove of information and trends will put you several steps ahead. Contact TA today to learn more about how we can help you with your Medicare campaigns during AEP and beyond. 

 

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August 19, 2020by annette herman & riley yates

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