Q. How do I market to future beneficiaries?

A. Over 10,000 people per day will turn 65 and become eligible to enroll in Medicare health insurance plans during the next 15 years. (Source: AARP, Politifact.com)

Medicare is a difficult thing to understand, even for insurance agents! Imagine the frustration your clients experience trying to understand their options: Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Insurance Plans, Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans, Enrollment Periods. Helping future beneficiaries understand and learning how all aspects of Medicare coverage works is the first step in marketing Medicare. Providing helpful information about Original Medicare, private insurer Medicare plans and the entire enrollment process is the most effective marketing strategy.

There are many educational materials, pre-approved and generic, providing specific details on all parts of Medicare. From Original Medicare Part A & B, to Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans (A – N), and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. Additionally, some of your future clients may need more specific information regarding insurance terminology such as co-pays, deductibles, and formularies. You may also need to help them understand networks and the difference between a PPO and HMO; these are all key components to beginning the marketing and sales process with a prospective client. Providing your clients with an extensive portfolio of healthcare options is important. After you have educated your clients on their specific Medicare plan options, it’s imperative you go even more in-depth about the plan benefit specifics.

You can start by showing them the coverage options that meet both their healthcare and financial needs.

When your clients choose to use a private insurance carrier rather than Original Medicare, be prepared to provide as much information as possible regarding carriers and plans available.

It will be easier for those individuals to understand the plans you have to offer if you visually compare in order for them to understand the value. When you compare popular features of specific plans based on conversations, you’re showing the prospective clients that you are listening and you’re not looking for just a quick sale. This gives you a competitive advantage while marketing. A great resource is your agent portals associated with the carriers you are appointed. Many of those portals have compliant online plan comparisons, provider look-up tools, formulary reviews and much more. Although premiums and co-pays tend to be a primary driver for purchases, conducting analysis of all plans available ensure you are offering the most competitive, comprehensive and affordable coverage available to your clients. It’s also important to look at the size of network, drug coverage, wellness coverage, dental, vision to help meet your clients needs.

This is closely associated with the first two steps of your marketing. It’s important to help your clients understand tiers, medical terms, mandated language, legal disclaimers, etc.

It’s also important for you. Being transparent and remaining compliant in your communication to Medicare Beneficiaries is imperative. Agent Pipeline’s industry leading Compliance department can assist you with pre-approved branded or generic marketing pieces to keep you safe from any allegations or sanctions.

If you choose to create your own marketing materials (i.e., mailers, letters, flyers) remember to keep your communication simple and to the point. For optimal engagement, it’s recommended to keep it benefit-driven. However, it’s also important to refer back to your market analysis and research. Understanding what to market to your target audience. Is the driver for your target audience price points, benefits, network, covered drugs? Understanding the drivers for your target audience is key to clear communication. This allows you to prioritize your specific message(s) and increase your ability to engage current and future beneficiaries.

Did you know that many individuals begin the process of researching their Medicare options around the age of 63?

They are actively discussing Medicare on a regular basis by the age of 64. Because developing a relationship with your future client is the most important piece of your marketing campaigns, you should begin reaching out now. If you are waiting until they are Medicare age, chances are another agent has already been in contact either directly or indirectly.

There are many ways to do this starting today! Mail, email, cold-calling are the best and most effective forms of communicating to the future beneficiary population. There are also vendors who will sell prospecting lists with a range of details including phone number, email address and mailing address.

65% of future Medicare Beneficiaries (also called age-ins), did not know whether their current carrier offered Medicare insurance plans or not. Once they were made aware, 31% said they were very likely to enroll in one of their plans and 76% said they were moderately or very likely to shop around. Reach out to those individuals and provide as much information as possible regarding their options and explain their ability to shop around. Direct mail is the most effective means to acquire and retain members, providing the high readership and response rates.

Think of events you can host or sponsor at local venues that are attractive to age-ins or current Medicare beneficiaries. Take advantage of the opportunity to get in front of them, introduce yourself. For example, sponsor a local Bingo night or little league sports team. In other words, be everywhere, starting now! (Source: 2014 DEFT Research and 2012 DMA Response Rate Report)

Whatever tactic you choose, direct mailer, hosting events—remember to stay 100% compliant. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services releases  Medicare Marketing Guidelines each year and Agent Pipeline’s industry leading Compliance Department assists with the development and review of your marketing programs. There are numerous requirements related to language to avoid serious sanctions or suspension of your right to market plans. Always make sure Compliance is a top priority and remember to keep in the mind the following items for Compliance review:

  • Disclaimers
  • Location of marketing
  • Nominal gifts
  • Distinctions between sales vs. educational events
  • Customer service hours
  • TTY hours

Have additional questions? Give us a call at 800-962-4693 today and don’t forget to sign up to learn about Medicare, Marketing and much more!