More than 26 million people are expected to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2021, according to CMS estimates. And with more than 4,800 Medicare Advantage plans to choose from, or about 47 plan choices per county on average, many of these beneficiaries will need help making the right decision. Will you be the one to help them?
Although AEP only lasts from October 15 to December 7, AEP preparation starts long before then, and your marketing activities should take place year-round. If you have any questions about marketing compliance, reference the Medicare Marketing Guidelines at CMS.gov.
Snail mail continues to be a reliable way to reach seniors. Mail your retention letters just before AEP and continue to use mail throughout the year to connect with prospects who are aging into Medicare, losing employer-based coverage or qualifying for Special Needs Plans. Don’t let these opportunities slip away! Mailings can be as simple as sending a personal letter or note with your business card enclosed.
Email can deliver a great ROI, but it’s important to make sure you’re complying with all regulations, including CAN-SPAM and CMS regulations. CMS allows for email marketing as long as all emails contain an opt-out function. The easiest way to manage opt-outs is to subscribe to an email platform like Constant Contact or Mailchimp. Consider hyperlinking videos to educate prospects about their Medicare options. The PTT YouTube Channel has videos in English and Spanish on a variety of topics. We recommend sending an e-newsletter to your clients every month to stay in touch, so if your customers have a Medicare question, you are their go-to resource.
The phone can be a great way to reach out to discuss plan business with enrollees. Be careful, though – CMS does not allow telephonic solicitation, including text messages. Before calling, make sure you have obtained the necessary permission per CMS regulations.
Website & Social Media
Don’t neglect the digital world in your marketing efforts. These days, many seniors are online, and digital marketing can provide a great ROI.
You should have a website, and you should make sure it’s easy to navigate with current information. A social media presence is also a good idea. Keep your social media feeds active with information on Medicare and other topics that your clients will find useful. An easy way to do this is to share relevant posts from the PTT Facebook feed.
Events are a great way to get out in the community and meet new prospects. Your events can be sales or educational in nature, and it’s important to know what kind of event you’re hosting so you can comply with the relevant CMS regulations. Read this article for more tips on planning a successful seminar.
Your current clients are another great marketing resource. They may need help during the year, or they may know other people who do. Reach out to your current clients so that you’ll be in their thoughts. For example, you can send birthday cards. When you meet with clients, have a stack of business cards ready to go. Give extra cards to your clients so they can share them with their friends and family.
Also, make sure you’re giving your clients a good reason to refer you. Selecting the right Medicare plan is a very stressful, high-stakes decision for many people. Give all of your clients the time and attention they deserve. This is the best way to encourage your clients to stay with you and to refer their friends.
You can also seek referrals from other professionals. These professionals might include insurance agents who don’t sell Medicare plans, as well as other professionals who may work with seniors, such as estate planning attorneys. Network with professionals and provide a stack of your business cards.
Your AEP Checklist
Carriers made their plan information public on October 1. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to:
- Gather up your carrier brochures.
- Review plan options with your clients in mind.
- Send out your retention letters.
- Schedule appointments with your clients. You may need to send a few reminder emails to get everyone scheduled.
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