Marketers Report Slow Start to AEP, Rise in Digital Channels

Preliminary observations from several Medicare Advantage marketing experts indicate that during the 2021 Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP), consumers were slow to make enrollment decisions early on, and switching may not have been at the levels witnessed in recent years. At the same time, social distancing precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic led to significant traffic in the digital space, possibly signaling a permanent shift in how Medicare consumers shop for coverage.

Cavulus, a technology firm that serves the MA industry, in early November noticed a “slower start to AEP due to the ongoing pandemic and [MA] marketing efforts coinciding with substantial presidential campaign advertising,” says Patrick Phillips, the firm’s CEO. In a Nov. 5 press release, the company observed that while call centers were busy, most callers were asking clarification-type questions about potential changes to their existing insurer’s offerings, and said it expected comparative shopping among competing insurers to ramp up as the AEP neared its end.

© 2021 MMIT

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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