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Published: 08.17.2021

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Data and Audience

Research, Trends, and Insights

Medicare Plan Growth Means Creating Effective Age-In Marketing

Turning around the forgotten marketing campaign by pinpointing new retirees.

The path to retirement is different for everyone. Americans can retire and enroll in Medicare at age 65, but not everyone retires as soon as they turn 65. For insurers, age-in (or new-to-Medicare) marketing is crucial for member acquisition success, but, according to most industry experts, more than half of workers — around 54 percent — plan to keep working past the age of 65. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare each day, the challenge for insurers is to identify late-to-retire prospects when they are preparing to retire to be able to market to them before they make a Medicare decision.

Health care marketers are missing a lucrative opportunity by not delivering tools, messaging, and education that addresses the realities of consumers aging into Medicare eligibility. Smart Medicare marketers must be proactive in determining, far in advance, when late-to-retire prospects are approaching their retirement date. Such improved marketing performance can mean millions in revenue increases over time.

Why Are More Americans Continuing to Work?

People are delaying retirement and sticking with their group insurance due to many factors:

  • Boosted Income — Working for a few more years beyond the 65-year-old retirement date, or drawing fruitful Social Security benefits later, tends to significantly boost income. 
  • Longer Lifespan — The original Social Security Act of 1935 set the minimum age for receiving full retirement benefits at 65. Since the program first began, the average life expectancy for men has increased nearly four years to age 81; womens’ average life expectancy has increased nearly six years to age 84. People are living longer, pensions are less common, and most Americans have to manage their own retirement savings with more years to pay. As a result, some Americans work longer.
  • Financial Pressures — Whether it’s post-Great Recession woes, dealing with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, or other factors, money issues are driving many employees to retire later. According to research from the AARP, workers in their 50s feel they will have to postpone their retirement by years due to a lack of pension savings and high levels of debt. 
  • Job Satisfaction — According to a recent AARP study, many seniors continue working not for money but for the love of working. 

Identifying when someone will turn 65 and be eligible isn’t the problem. Companies can easily determine when someone has retired based on a number of factors. But at that point, it’s too late for Medicare marketing. The primary issue to mitigate the factors above is being empowered with insights to figure out when they’re going to retire to be able to nurture them with relevant marketing. 

Health care marketers are missing a lucrative opportunity by not delivering tools, messaging, and education that addresses the realities of consumers aging into Medicare eligibility.

Here are a few essential strategies for insurers to know, understand, and establish better age-in marketing for this key demographic.

1. Refine Communications and Connections

Many insurers simply don’t ask or have the wherewithal to glean information from people in their marketing to easily determine when they are going to retire. From a personalization and simple housekeeping perspective, keeping tabs on both first-party data and prospect specifics is a must. 

Communication planning can help group plan members transitioning to Medicare while also reaching new audiences. Survey across age-In campaigns to ensure that insurers are boosting prospect insights at the right time. Ask respondents when they expect to retire: Within the next year? Two years or fewer? More than two years in the future?

2. Double Down on Brand Awareness

The federal annual enrollment period (AEP) from November 1 through December 15 is like Super Bowl Sunday to the insurance industry. There’s so much focus on guaranteeing coverage beginning the following year, that age-in is the seemingly forgotten — and less sexy — marketing event for Medicare. 

Some insurers only retain about 40 percent of membership from group to Medicare plans — it’s these insurers that don’t have any sort of campaign to communicate to them and let them know that they have Medicare products that could stop customers from being swayed by more proactive campaigns by competitors who are spending more in the market. 

Awareness and the convenience factor are key. In a hypothetical scenario, if someone decides to retire and they’re within the age requirement, the probability is higher that they’re just going to stay with an insurer because they have it or know about available products and services.

3. Prioritize Sources of Data

Utilize modeling to predict when people will retire. Looking at audiences of people who actually retired, and then on an aggregate basis collating lists of prospects that look just like them means insurers can be proactive by using available information to target the right customers. 

Late-to-retire data models use a series of attributes that determine the likelihood for retirement including age, household make-up, income, net worth, occupation, and more. Data-rich programs can then be used to focus on lead nurturing for effective conversion.

Proprietary data models help insurers to predict when potential customers will retire, and then effectively send nurture marketing materials once they, in fact, retire. Ensuring the right messaging at the right time means empowering companies can be more efficient with their marketing dollars.


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