Digital engagement now typifies the Medicare Advantage experience

| Article

Two overarching market forces have coalesced to transform the way that Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries shop for, select, and experience their healthcare coverage: market-leading, digital-first companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and Google are routinely providing seamless omnichannel experiences, and the senior population is becoming increasingly comfortable using technology. These forces are requiring MA payers to stretch their capabilities in new directions. Yesterday’s postcard advertising and mailed onboarding packets are giving way to omnichannel experiences with online, email, text, and app-based engagement. In this hypercompetitive environment, personalization—of mediums, messages, frequency of communication, and more—is crucial for engaging and attracting beneficiaries. Our recent survey sheds new light on these evolving preferences (see sidebar, “Our survey methodology”).

Medicare Advantage payers continue to invest in competitive products, leaving beneficiaries with more robust and appealing product options

Medicare beneficiaries will have more Medicare Advantage prescription drug  options in 2023.

Medicare Advantage marketing continues to grow and is increasingly omnichannel

Payer spend on marketing has been increasing, with a focus on digital marketing.

Omnichannel marketing aligns with beneficiaries’ digital-shopping habits

The importance of online searches as a source of health plan information has  grown since 2020.

Beneficiaries are increasingly using online sources to shop for and compare plans.

Medicare Advantage is also marked by sustained growth of sales by electronic brokers (e-brokers)

In addition to engaging with doctors and friends in choosing a health plan, members strongly value engaging with brokers digitally or by phone.

Digital onboarding can create a distinctive member experience

The onboarding experience is changing, and more members are being shown  benefits, getting emails, and completing health questionnaires.

The need to meet beneficiaries in their preferred channels extends throughout the end-to-end member journey

Consumers use technology offerings to answer coverage-related questions, update personal information, and manage prescriptions.

Beneficiaries are increasingly comfortable sharing digital data

Respondents are most willing to share health profile and demographics data with their broker or health insurer.

Beneficiaries are reporting an increasing openness to sharing health data.

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries’ stated preferences show that omnichannel marketing and distribution is the optimal strategy for engagement. Traditional channels alone, including direct mail, will no longer suffice to keep beneficiaries engaged. As seniors increasingly make their buying decisions and enroll through a diverse array of channels, investments in a seamless digital experience are becoming a requirement.

Payers can work to devise a comprehensive strategy and recruit leading marketing talent to fully cultivate relationships with beneficiaries, starting with initial marketing outreach. As marketing regulations continue to expand and evolve, payers can continually reevaluate their strategies and tactics.

Digital experiences—including digital marketing, direct-to-consumer channels, digital onboarding, and data sharing—are already a reality for the MA consumer. Beneficiaries have voiced their preferences, and now the imperative is on stakeholders across the rest of the value chain to deliver the experiences consumers want.

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