Deft Research’s 2022 Medicare OEP and Disenrollment Prevention Study surveyed more than 2,400 Medicare Advantage (MA) members to better understand what causes many of them to reexamine their coverage during the 90-day rapid disenrollment period. The study provides insight so MA plans can better tackle short-term AEP prep as well as long-term AEP/OEP retention goals.

Sixteen percent of MA consumers shopped for other coverage during the OEP this year compared to the previous record of eight percent, according to the Executive Research Brief based on the study.

Two reasons for the doubling in shopping: A greater number of 5-Star plans (65 percent of the total Medicare eligible population lives in a 5-Star county, and it was only 25 percent in 2019) and frequent third-party marketing organization ads in the first quarter that encouraged seniors to call a 1-800 number for information about MA plan health benefits.

In addition to these factors, seniors in the MA market—particularly those in a lower socioeconomic bracket and those on fixed incomes—are especially concerned with current levels of inflation. The study shows that 95 percent of seniors indicated some degree of concern with inflation, noted George Dippel, executive vice president, Deft Research, in the executive brief. Even if inflation begins to decline by the AEP, Dippel said that it’s possible that the perceptions of inflation won’t.

“That could lead to an uptick in consumers wanting to limit copays and premiums (and seek Part B givebacks) even more so than in the past,” he said.

In addition, Deft Research has shown that MA members most likely to switch are those who use more health care now and seek more coverage. Marketers will have to decide to either put more promotion behind plans with more robust coverage or plan designs that offer the biggest givebacks and smallest cost shares.

Dippel said the full study tackles these topics in more detail and examines MA members who were unwittingly switched, communication techniques that kept consumers from looking into new coverage during the OEP, and which segments of consumers  may have “buyer’s remorse” and how to keep them from moving on this fall.

For more information, click here to request a copy of the Executive Research Brief.