RISE’s Medicare Member Acquisition Experience Community held its first user group meeting in March. Kathleen Ellmore, managing director of Engagys, and Renee Mezzanotte, EVP of client engagement at DMW, served as co-chairs. Here are highlights from the discussion.

The impact of COVID-19

Travel restrictions and the need for social distancing to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus have led to many organizational changes. For example, user group members report they plan to attend webinars and virtual conferences this spring rather than live events. Others report an increase in plan members engaging in telehealth services with providers and member portals. However, older beneficiaries are not as familiar with digital tools so now is a good time to walk them through how to use these platforms.

Individuals who are new to Medicare must decide on a plan and are responding to direct mail, but there is a significant increase in the number of people who are more willing to engage digitally. The digital platforms have allowed brokers to interact with members by having beneficiaries use DocuSign for permissions and then conducting virtual appointments. One user group member said her plan is supporting brokers by allowing them to call into its sales center for Med Supp or MA enrollments. This involves a two-step process that includes an enrollment verification call.

Marketing to age-ins over 65

To reach these potential enrollees, user group members take several actions:

  • Work with Source Link to market to a list entitled “late to retire.” So far, the mailing has led to a 0.05 percent response rate. The mailing asks when they plan to retire, and the plan uses the responses to create a list for sales for outreach in advance of those target dates.
  • Set up a Medicare education seminar with employer groups. Health plan staff serve as the subject matter experts and provide participants with a step-by-step decision tree document to help them with the process. This program results in several leads.
  • Collaborate with a local chapter of Society for Human Resource Management to present Medicare educational information.
  • Have internal sales staff provide Medicare information to the insurer’s commercial brokers to cross promote plan information. The health plan employs Medicare sales reps who go to the commercial groups with brokers or internal commercial sales reps and serve as Medicare experts. This arrangement allows for a true partnership and brokers feel comfortable knowing that they still retain the group.
  • Have a third-party mail a provider affiliation letter that lists the health plan as one of the options.

Impact of national election on the AEP

Marketing plans vary. User group members said they intend to:

  • Be early to the market by scheduling meetings in advance. For example, one plan is scheduling sales/group meetings and home visits after Oct. 1. When potential members contact the call center in September, those agents would book these meetings ahead of the AEP.
  • Offer Medicare 101 educational meetings throughout the year.
  • Use digital and social media channels instead of television sports.
  • Send an affiliation letter in a plain white envelope in mid- to late-October instead of a traditional promotional direct mail piece as a way to stand out.

Join the next User Group meeting
The next meeting of the Marketing User Group will take place on Wednesday, June 17. Dates for the Sales User Group will be coming soon. If you would like to participate in either user group, contact RISE Marketing Coordinator Tracy Anderson at membership@risehealth.org.