Research Reveals a Rougher Road Ahead for Medicare Plan Sales
Enrolling additional seniors in your specific Medicare Advantage plans is becoming increasingly difficult for several reasons:
- Increased competition: For 2022, the average Medicare beneficiary has access to 39 Medicare Advantage plans, more than double the number of plans per person available in 2017, and the largest number of options available in more than a decade.1
- Maturity of the Medicare Advantage marketplace: the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports that 29.1 million seniors out of 56.6 million chose an MA plan.2
- Additional CMS compliance guidelines.
Each week, marketers are asking, how do we target with our brand the seniors who wish to enroll in a Medicare plan?
In the last open enrollment period, many providers simply used a multichannel approach with multiple impressions — quantity over quality, if you will. Despite these large-scale and often expensive efforts, many forecast goals were missed. A more targeted approach will be necessary to generate qualified leads that close.
One initial step toward answering this critical question of how to target is to conduct market research and ask the consumers themselves for their input about what’s most important to them. In March and April 2022, datadecisions Group fielded two surveys focused on the Medicare choices available to consumers in today’s marketplace. Our focus was on both groups of age-in consumers — 64-year-olds about to become Medicare-eligible, and those who are 65 and older and already covered by a Medicare plan of some type.
The purpose of this research was to:
- Reveal the attributes of coverage that are most critical to the consumer’s decision-making process when selecting a plan.
- Differentiate between the priorities and drivers of making the choice to select Medicare Advantage versus Supplement.
- Evaluate brand preferences among age-in consumers who have not yet made a decision and brand loyalty among those current Medicare members who already are enrolled in a plan.
The first survey, DDG’s National Medicare Enumeration Survey, is a nationwide online survey of over 5,500 individuals ages 64+. The 2022 Medicare Options Consumer Key Driver Study includes a key driver analysis to provide a much more in-depth assessment of what drives consumers to make the Medicare decisions they do. Over 2,300 consumers, also nationwide, completed that survey.
We note that because these were surveys conducted online, potential respondents without internet access were systematically excluded from any sample frame for this research. Based on our experience in this category, some of the opinions and choices quantified in this research may be demonstrably different from the opinions of those who don’t have much, if any, online presence.
The key driver analysis of the importance of specific provider and plan features was acquired through a Maximum Differential Scaling exercise, or MaxDiff. In this exercise, survey respondents were presented with different combinations of 19 different aspects of Medicare plans and provider attributes and asked to indicate which of them were most and least important to them. The estimates for the shares of importance were calculated separately for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement users.
Since this survey reflects the results from a sample of consumers, the data is subject to sampling variability, often referred to as “sampling error.” 3 The degree of uncertainty for an estimate (e.g., a particular percentage or average rate from the survey) arising from sampling variability is represented using a margin of error. A sampling margin of error at the “95% confidence level” can be interpreted roughly as providing a 95% probability that the interval created by the estimate plus and minus the margin of error contains the true value. This statistical process is also referred to as NHST, or null hypothesis significance testing. The “true” value would be known only if everyone in the target market, rather than only a sample, was surveyed. In addition to sampling variability, results may be subject to various sources of non-sampling error (e.g., non-response bias, respondent misinterpretation of question wording, how individuals utilize Likert scales). The degree of non-sampling error is not represented by the sampling margin of error and is usually unknown.
The series of articles contributed to InsuranceNewsNet by DDG is based on this primary custom research. This research effort was funded by DDG without any corporate sponsor.
Dino Fire, president of Market Research and Analytics at datadecisions Group. Dino seeks the answers to questions that drive the prediction of consumer behavior. Previously, Dino served as chief science officer at FGI Research and Analytics. He spent almost a decade at Arbitron/Nielsen in his formative years. Dino holds a B.A. from Kent State University and an M.S. from Northwestern University. He may be contacted at [email protected].
datadecisons Group is a data-driven marketing services firm that delivers full-service primary marketing research, third-party data, modeling and analytics, and data integration to the client’s martech stack. We inform both corporate strategy and marketing execution.
1. Medicare Advantage 2022 Spotlight: First Look | KFF
3. The sampling error for the 2022 Medicare Options Consumer Key Driver Study is ± 2.0%, and that of the National Medicare Enumeration Survey is ± 1.2%.
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