With Medicare Advantage (MA) expected to take on continued importance in the coming years, payers will need to transform their marketing efforts or risk losing millions of dollars, Accenture Consulting said in a new report.
The report said nearly half of Americans are delaying retirement and don’t plan on enrolling in Medicare until after the age of 65. Plus, slightly more than half of them will shop for a Medicare plan online as they approach eligibility.
Accenture said the combination of these two factors show that payers need to "fundamentally rethink how they market to Medicare consumers."
MA is an increasingly important market for payers, and Accenture said those that move into capturing this audience will have substantial revenue opportunities in the coming years.
Payers view MA as a growth opportunity. The Kaiser Family Foundation expects Medicare will increase to 80 million people by 2030. Now, MA makes up about one-third, but UnitedHealthcare predicts half of all Medicare beneficiaries will have an MA plan eventually.
An average of 10,000 people turn 65 every day, which brings in a new infusion of potential members daily. However, Accenture said many are delaying Medicare rather than signing up immediately. Payers will need to figure out ways to improve conversion rates on those seniors to capture additional revenue or risk losing hundreds of millions in revenue over time.
Accenture said payers are “missing this opportunity by not delivering tools and experiences that address the social realities and digital intensity of consumers aging into Medicare eligibility.”
Accenture estimates that 20% to 40% of prospective Medicare beneficiaries are not ready for the program when they turn 65. They may still work or have coverage through a spouse. Rather than wait until a person is 65, Accenture suggested that payers should engage all consumers before they reach eligibility and find out their retirement plans. That will help outreach efforts once those people are 65 and older.
This can help payers target outreach for that specific person. For example, a payer may send regular information to a person not yet ready for Medicare to keep the prospective member updated. These communications also include a way for that person to sign up when they’re ready. That marketing strategy keeps a person engaged and builds trust with the payer, Accenture said.
Another added benefit to marketing differently and connecting with people comfortable with technology is that people already managing their health are more likely to “do things that keep them healthy, such as track physical activity, monitor blood pressure and monitor cholesterol. These self-managing customers are just the type that a health plan wants in a new value-driven payment world,” Accenture said.