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Published: 12.20.2022

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Data and Audience

Research, Trends, and Insights

How Audience Science Can Advance Age-In Medicare Marketing

Learn how audience science can improve and accelerate your age-in Medicare marketing.

More than 10,000 Americans are becoming eligible for Medicare each day. The challenge for insurers is to identify age-in prospects as they prepare to retire and market to them before they make a Medicare decision.

How to identify these potential prospects is an ever-evolving question, especially with the eventual loss of third-party cookies in the coming years. Accurately identifying and targeting your prospective members can feel like a daunting task, but it’s far from an impossible one. Building out a marketing plan that takes advantage of the tools and channels available, especially the growing value of digital tools to work in conjunction with direct mail marketing, can help get your messaging in front of the people you want when they need to hear it.

Smart Medicare marketers must be proactive in determining, far in advance, when age-in prospects are approaching their retirement date. And better marketing performance means more members over time.

Why Are More Americans Continuing to Work?

The path to retirement is different for everyone with some not retiring as soon as they are eligible. For insurers, age-in Medicare marketing is crucial for member acquisition success, but more than half of workers—around 54%—plan to keep working past their retirement age.

People are delaying retirement and sticking with their group insurance due to a range of factors, including:

  • Boosted Income: Working for a few more years beyond the retirement date, or drawing fruitful Social Security benefits later, tends to significantly boost income. Depending on each person’s financial situation, delaying retirement even a few years can make a significant impact on someone’s quality of life throughout retirement.
  • 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 risen to 73 years; women’s average life expectancy has increased to 79. 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 AARP research, 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 an AARP study, many seniors continue working not for money but for the love of working. Work can become a fixture and pillar in someone’s life, and with advancements in healthcare and technology, it’s more feasible for people to continue working longer than they may have in the past.

Identifying when someone will reach retirement age 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. Instead, you can use audience insights to nurture prospective members with relevant messaging.

Healthcare marketers are missing a prime opportunity to deliver tools, messaging, and education, addressing the realities of consumers aging into Medicare eligibility.

Prioritize Data to Understand Your Audience

Medicare providers can be proactive by using available information to target the right members. Combine audience insights and recent retirement trends with modeling to help predict when people will retire. You can use data gathered from people who retired in the past and then collate lists on an aggregate basis of prospects that share the same traits to build lookalike audiences. 

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

Identifying specific people to target will become more complicated once third-party cookies are eventually phased out, but there are solutions to this challenge, especially harnessing first-party data. 

A key foundation of your marketing is building a holistic, clear picture of your audience. Companies using Universal ID and data enablement platforms to match personal information like names, phone numbers, social media accounts, and more with online devices to generate IDs and identity graphs gain a better understanding of current and prospective members.

External Factors Like Inflation Are Having an Impact on Retirement Plans

When digging into this data, it’s important to keep in mind changes to the retirement age and payouts. Retirees born in 1960 and later—which now covers every American newly eligible for early retirement benefits—can only receive full Social Security benefits once they hit the age of 67. Massive economic shifts and concentrations of wealth over the past few years also need to be taken into account, especially when considering income and net worth for people coming closer to retirement.

Interestingly, the COVID-19-related recession actually led to a higher retirement rate, contrary to the trends following previous recessions. According to data from the Pew Research Center, retirement among older Americans increased during the early part of the pandemic to more than 50% of people 55 and older.

A key reason cited for this is that, unlike in the years following the Great Recession, the value of assets—property and housing assets in particular—significantly rose. Keeping an eye on the housing market and stock market could offer insight into other trends ahead with this demographic. Housing experts have varied opinions on exactly what the future will bring, but a believed leveling out of inflation, improvements to supply chain issues, and a likely increase in new construction in the coming years will have an impact on retirement plans for a large percentage of the population moving forward.

Gain a Clearer Picture with Predictive Modeling

Proprietary data models can help insurers speak to the right potential members, before and as they retire through a comprehensive nurturing funnel. Ensuring the right messaging reaches the right people at the right time allows Medicare providers to be more efficient with their marketing dollars.

Adding in additional datasets can supplement your first-party data to assess audiences and create a more accurate targeting model to better position your products and services in front of the people you want to reach.

This type of information isn’t limited to large-scale businesses who can afford to build an extensive database on their own—our team can work with you to combine time-tested tactics with modern data-gathering tools with our access to first-party databases and walled garden platforms to gain access to cutting-edge information.

Accelerating your age-in marketing strategies is only one part of a data-centric, performance-driven strategy, giving you the power to know more and do more. Dig deeper into paid media targeting options that go beyond relying on third-party cookies, or let’s talk about how to achieve more for your marketing—and your business.