Medicare Advantage Marketing: Maximize Member Experience, Minimize Admin Cost

Gene Devine
Senior Vice President – Marketing Services, Cavulus

Guest blogger Gene Devine is Senior Vice President – Marketing Services at Cavulus, an Oracle partner that specializes in solutions for Medicare Advantage plans.

For Medicare Advantage plans, a prospective member’s first experience with your plan is most often through your marketing campaigns, and as the saying goes, “first impressions are lasting impressions”. That’s why it’s imperative to send the right message to the right potential members at the right time. Messaging built around key considerations such as benefits, price, network, or prescription drugs will resonate with different beneficiaries; but to understand who has the highest likelihood to respond to your efforts, you must embrace the use of advanced marketing analytics.

The use of analytics is nothing new. Retail and financial sectors have long utilized these techniques and do so in incredibly sophisticated ways (here's an example). Analytics and predictive models can be translated into forecasts that are accurate in determining the volume and cost of the leads you can generate, before any of your budget is allocated. In other words, these tools hold your marketing dollar accountable to a result! 

Yet in the Medicare Advantage space, we’re surprised how often we encounter what we call the “pay and pray” approach where plans market to every eligible beneficiary in their service area. If you’re one of the top 10 national plans in the country, you probably can afford it, but if you’re competing against the dominant MA organizations, you’ll need a more statistically driven strategy in order to grow, and more importantly - grow profitably. At minimum, we recommend the use of advanced analytics to inform your digital campaigns and, more importantly, leveraging predictive responder/non-responder models for your direct mail marketing. This enables you to focus on the most likely responders, tapering your efforts down with less likely responders as your budget permits. And from a member experience perspective, you’re increasing the likelihood that you’re providing a relevant and welcome message.

Below are several other key considerations for regional, provider-owned, university-affiliated and start-up Medicare Advantage plans:

  1. Place a higher priority on lead generation, not branding. In order to increase lead volume and drive down new member acquisition costs, minimize your branding spend with advertising agencies and lean more heavily on statistical tactics that generate real opportunities. Direct mail marketing is still the dominant lead generation mechanism, even as boomers continue to adopt digital. Let the national MA plans increase their cost with expensive brand awareness efforts via TV, radio and print.   
  2. Incorporate “high-touch” and grassroots approaches into your marketing strategy. The national players will never be as nimble as you can be.
  3. Strive for campaign transparency. Litmus test: can you access cost-per-lead and tie close ratios back to each of your marketing campaigns in real-time or close to real-time (i.e. hourly)?
  4. Never stop testing. Messaging, call-to-action, direct mail, and digital campaigns can be relentlessly tested and measured closely to redirect your efforts as the data dictates.
  5. Stack your bench with data vs. creative experts. Your Medicare Advantage marketing experts (whether internal or 3rd party) should skew toward skilled analysts who thrive in large data sets that support strategy.  

Oracle and Cavulus are teaming up to deliver a comprehensive cloud solution that helps Medicare Advantage Plans significantly reduce administrative expenses and improve member/provider experience. Join us for a webinar where we’ll discuss the use of predictive analytics, sales distribution channel strategies, and lead nurturing practices that help drive down acquisition costs.

Visit oracle.com/healthinsurance to learn more about Oracle’s modern, innovative technology for core health insurance administration, either on-premise or in the cloud.

Cavulus specializes in Medicare Advantage and its cloud-based Medicare Advantage Platform (Cavulus MAP) unifies marketing, sales, and enrollment operations. For more information, visit www.cavulus.com.

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