COVID Concerns and Presidential Election Stall Early Medicare Advantage Election Period
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., Nov. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- COVID worries and a presidential election year appear to have hindered Medicare Advantage (MA) consumer shopping during the opening weeks of the Annual Election Period (AEP) according to Patrick Phillips, CEO of Cavulus, a leading technology firm that serves the MA industry.
The election period continues to December 7. Although it has started slowly Phillips believes comparative shopping will ramp up as the AEP deadline approaches. "Right now call centers are busy, but most callers are simply asking clarifying questions about potential changes within their existing insurer's offerings. However, as the AEP period ends, comparative shopping among competing insurer's typically accelerates," he said.
Gene Devine, Cavulus EVP of Marketing Analytics agrees: "Marketing responses look healthy but beneficiaries have been inundated with political mailers and political TV commercials which have drowned out other marketing. It's another complicating factor and insurers who aren't tactful with direct mail planning and media buying are having a more difficult time reaching potential members."
"Many analysts warned COVIDcould potentially dampen the MA market," according to Phillips. Nonetheless, he urges buyers to evaluate competing options because they are more attractive than ever. "In these 2021 benefit packages, we're seeing a holistic approach in terms of physical, mental and social well-being," says Phillips. "New benefits include things like grocery allowances, pet-sitting and even grandkids on demand programs that provide seniors with companionship."
Phillips also observes a "clear, new focus on telehealth and virtual care in direct response to COVID". He cites a recent CMS press release showing that 94% of Medicare Advantage plans will provide extra telehealth benefits -- a jump of 36% from 2020.
"It's exciting that Medicare Advantage is one of the few industries where options and benefits are increasing yet costs are continuing to drop," says Phillips. "Plans are expanding in both urban and rural areas, and the average premium in 2021 is $21, a reduction of 11%."
ABOUT CAVULUS - Cavulus is a technology driven specialist in Medicare Advantage insurance solutions. The Cavulus Cloud-based Medicare Advantage Platform (Cavulus MAP™) unifies marketing, sales and enrollment operations, and is utilized by many of America's top insurers, including several BlueCross/ BlueShield companies, UPMC Health Plan, Johns Hopkins, Lumeris and United Healthcare. For details: www.cavulus.com. Media Inquiries: 800-760-6915 Email: email@example.com
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