Medicare Advantage insurers can’t share the juicy details of their new plan offerings until Oct. 1, but they are taking steps to prime the market and help boost enrollment during the 2024 Annual Election Period (AEP) with “preheat” strategies. Such efforts are often used to create or reinforce brand awareness in the month or two leading up to the AEP, and some insurers are shifting more dollars to this channel as consumer switching is expected to rise again this year, marketing experts tell AIS Health, a division of MMIT. (Warning: The following article contains an abnormal amount of marketing lingo.)
“Before AEP starts, ‘market warming’ with mail and DRTV [direct response television] continues to pay off. In fact, many say that if a plan misses pre-AEP market outreach, they’ve missed most of the available leads for the period. For some plans, these early leads represent over half of all AEP volume,” says Lindsay Resnick, executive vice president with Wunderman Thompson Health. However, such efforts are successful only if the plans’ “sales funnel” and call center are prepared to handle high call volumes and if they have a “lead nurturing” process in place to optimize the value of these leads, he advises. For example, “responder non-converters” (i.e., those who have responded in the past but did not become members) tend to convert at higher rates, he notes.