AEP 2020 shopping trends and lessons learned, regulatory changes that impact sales and marketing, and strategies that small and regional plans can use to compete with national plans are just a few of the sessions planned for the live-streamed virtual event in February.

RISE is excited to announce the following speakers and general sessions for the 2021 Medicare Marketing & Sales Summit on Feb. 22-23, 2021.

Planned general sessions on Monday, Feb. 22

George Dippel, SVP client services, Deft Research, will conduct a deep dive into the outcomes of the AEP shopping study in a morning session on the first day of the main conference. Dippel will offer a recap of AEP 2020, including changes to shopping trends of eligible members, discuss the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and switching of health care coverage, and analyze changes post-COVID to prepare for AEP 2021 and 2022.

Later that morning, panelists will offer their lessons learned from 2020 AEP during COVID-19. Todd Rau, director, Medicare markets, Indiana University Health Plans, Inc.; Matt Miles, director of health plan sales and marketing, CHRISTUS Health Plan; and Heather Rollins, department vice president, individual and small group sales, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, will discuss successful approaches and tools for AEP 2021 based on lessons learned in 2020.

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Duane J. DiFranco, M.D., vice president of Medicare stars and clinical performance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and Keith Brophy, director of business lab product team, Emergent Holdings. will kick off the Monday afternoon sessions with a presentation on how to capitalize on member data for a streamlined marketing approach. Dr. DiFranco and Brophy will explain how to leverage existing member data to optimize communication to lead existing members and prospects to the right Medicare Advantage plan, apply a coordinated-strategic series of digital engagement “nudges” to aid members in plan selections, use key messages to micro-segmented audience based on their current life situation, and create a flexible campaign based on insights from AI/machine learning through member interactions.

After the virtual networking lunch, we’ll learn the results of the 5th annual RISE-Engagys survey of healthcare consumer engagement practices during a bonus session with Kathleen Elmore, managing director, Engagys. Ellmore will go over the findings from this year’s survey and uncover the successful mix of channels of consumer outreach during this unusual year, calculate the changes in budget allocation for marketing due to changes brought forth by the pandemic, and help you compose an action plan to be competitive within your region.


The day will end with a state of the industry address on Medicare marketing and sales in a post-pandemic world with panelists Jason Vallejos, executive vice president, Syndicated Insurance Agency, LLC; Jennifer Rossbach, marketing manager, government programs/compliance Lead, marketing & communications strategy, Health Alliance Plan; and Shannon M. Drotning, director of Medicare and individual sales, Providence Health Plan. The panel will describe how to stand out from the crowd in an over saturated marketing arena to increase visibility and quality of your organization, increase accessibility to your products and services to members and potential members and increase awareness of the value of your product offerings, and ensure ease of use of your services and website to meet the needs of consumers effortlessly.

Planned general sessions on Tuesday, Feb. 23

The morning will feature a panel discussion on how to stay a step ahead of the competition: proven strategies to compete with national plans. Panelists will include Steven Selinsky, vice president of product strategy, marketing and community outreach Health Alliance Plan; Jim Meyers, chief of sales and marketing, ATRIO Health Plan; and Heather Rollins, department vice president, individual and small group sales, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. They �ll discuss strategies to elevate your organization with exceptional customer service scores to highlight the authentic personal connections with your members, communicate a concise message that everyone uses to call out your competitive advantages in the local market, increase visibility within your region through unique marketing approaches to improve brand awareness, and develop your loyal broker channel to extend your reach within the region and boost membership.

Naomi Irvin, director, division compliance-sales, marketing & communications, BlueCross BlueShield, North Carolina, will be on a panel that reviews the regulatory changes from CMS that impact sales and marketing. The session will include strategies to ensure compliant audits and oversight of field agents during and after the pandemic to avoid potential penalties, review of the Medicare Communication and Marketing Guidelines CY 2021 updates and analyze what to expect in 2022 and discover solutions for virtual sales practices by capturing electronic signatures and voice recordings to meet CMS standards as well as providing tools for agents to achieve success.

The afternoon will feature an interactive discussion on unsuccessful strategies. Panelists Larry Bacca, vice president, sales & marketing, Inter Valley Health Plan, Jotham Cortez, sr. director of broker programs, Essence Healthcare, and Todd Rau, director, Medicare markets, Indiana University Health Plans, Inc., will use this lighthearted and sharing environment to discuss unsuccessful strategies that have become learning tools. The session will conclude with an open mic forum to hear stories from attendees.

The conference will conclude with a wrap-up panel that will examine the impact of 2020 on marketing, sales, product design and member engagement and action items to implement in 2021. Heather Rollins, department vice president, individual and small group sales, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, and Hank Osowski, managing partner, Strategic Health Group, will recap the themes covered by the conference, focusing on tactical takeaways that you can implement within your organization when you’re back in the office.

Editor’s note: The live-streamed 2021 Medicare Marketing & Sales Summit will take place Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 22-23, 2021. Pre-conference workshops will be held on Friday, Feb. 19. Stay tuned for a forthcoming announcement on our keynote speakers, as well as more information on sessions in concurrent tracks, our tools and technology spotlight sessions, roundtable topics, our exhibit hall, and networking opportunities, including our Monday cocktail reception. For more information, click here.