As Medicare Advantage organizations prepare to promote their 2021 offerings this fall with no new guidance from CMS on marketing during a pandemic, plans and their broker partners are proceeding as though the safest approach is through digital and telephonic channels. One area that may see more growth than expected is the online broker space, although the investment plans make in that channel will depend largely on their size, competition, location, and how well their own customer service and internal sales departments can back up their increased online presence, experts tell AIS Health.
Unlike the federal government’s Medicare Plan Finder, a website sponsored by an e-broker (also referred to as an electronic marketing organization, or EMO) by no means represents an exhaustive list of enrollment options for a consumer. Rather, the broker contracts with a handful of insurers in a specific market and trains agents on the finer points of those carriers’ products, and the agents earn a per-enrollee commission. Moreover, how consumers end up on an e-broker’s site varies. For example, they may navigate to it after seeing a television commercial for what appears to be a generic Medicare help line or receiving a mailer directing them to the website, or they may land there after doing a basic Google search for Medicare options in their area.