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Understanding Your Medicare-Eligible Audience

Eleven thousand new Medicare-eligible individuals from the baby boomer generation are aging in every day, and this population is projected to grow by eighty million by the year 2030. Do you know how you will attract them to your plan?

With health plans already considering their marketing strategies for the upcoming annual enrollment period, as experts in this field, we thought we would share some insights on the persona of a consumer aging into Medicare. Next week, we will talk more about steps you can take to reach them more effectively.

Acquiring new Medicare members means checking several boxes. You have to convince them your product meets their needs. You have to educate them by anticipating their questions. You have to stand out from your competition. With Medicare switching at an all-time low, you will have to convince them you offer the customer experience they can be happy with for years to come. You have to execute smarter, customer-centric interactions that feel like they were tailor made for each member.

To do any of this well, you must know your audience, and what is required to compel them to engage with your products. Here are a few things we have learned over the years of helping health plans acquire more Medicare members.

If you are not educating them, someone else is

You are targeting individuals who are brand new to the world of Medicare. This group often seeks information to educate themselves well ahead of their final purchasing decision. Think of it like individuals who are in the market to buy a house. They start the journey by looking at available homes within their desired location; they consider price points they can afford; and are researching lending agents for pre-qualification. They are thirsty to find the right rates, ideal closing options, and the home of their dreams.

In these earlier stages of the buyer journey, they are seeking information on every facet of purchasing a home. The real-estate and financial organizations that target these prospects at the earliest stages of the journey have more success in conversion when it comes time for making final decisions because they have been ever-present in the minds of the buyers from the beginning. They have provided educational tools that the future homeowners have depended on to empower their purchasing decisions. This interactive relationship and knowledge share have created a sense of trust and appreciation, creating a deeper connection between the brand and the buyer.

The same holds true for Medicare prospects. The Medicare-eligible segment is collecting plan-by-plan information that will help them make the right decision, based on their unique needs and concerns. Understandably, competing plans do not make it easy for members to compare options. Third party sites tend to be biased toward whoever is paying them. A health plan needs to be visible and provide answers to key questions the moment a member begins considering their potential options. If your health plan is not the brand they are interacting with in the early stage, they are interacting with your competition, building trust and brand loyalty with another and inching further from your reach.

Are you late to the party?

Knowing you need to target your prospects early for an effective age-in strategy is all well and good, but when exactly is the beginning of the journey? We have found that many plans focus their Medicare age-in marketing efforts on the typical “turning 65 years of age this plan year” segment. Targeting the personas a few years younger is often overlooked. Why might you want to expand your age demographic? Approximately 50% of the Baby Boomer generation starts to research Medicare around the age of 63. Had you considered this age group in your marketing strategy?

Expectations have changed, even for the Baby Boomer generation

We are in an age of hyper-focused business strategies. Modern companies like Amazon, Apple, Opendoor, LendingTree, and TurboTax (just to name a few) have re-defined the consumer experience and raised the bar on customer expectations. Today’s consumers have certain requirements when being targeted. They demand personalized and customized engagement across all forms of technology. Whether they’re shopping for groceries, clothes, electronics or healthcare, the experience has to be effortless.

Whether your targets are consuming educational content or making purchase decisions, the most successful health plans make the process easy and fast, with zero confusion. Baby Boomers require a well-rounded marketing mix along their buyer journey to be converted in this new healthcare Medicare space. Having a phone number to call to speak with someone to find out answers should be just one method. Plans need to offer online self-service tools and educational resources, as well as offline assistance to help make plan purchasing decisions quickly and effectively. Moreover, all these methods of communication—whether online or offline—should appear consistent and holistic, never disjointed.

The design of your content is extremely important. Whether it is direct mail, email or content to capture a lead, colors, font sizes, and font types should also be considered when targeting this group. Don’t make your customers squint. Make it easy for them to read the content, no matter where it is coming from. Focusing on using fonts that are size 12 or bigger can have a huge impact. Don’t force them to use a magnifying glass. Additionally, be careful of the colors you use when developing content. The most effective layout is a dark font placed on a light or white background.

Knowing your target, what they like to do and how they consume content, along with capturing their behavioral data and preferences during interactions, will help you develop content to support them through the journey and age-in new members more effectively. GuideWell Connect has been helping health plans better understand their Medicare age-in segment since 2014 using data-driven member acquisition techniques. Let’s start a conversation so we can help you too.

Read our blog on Taking your Medicare Products to Market for advice on how to apply this audience understanding when executing on your member acquisition campaigns. 

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