Every year, Medicare marketers have a small window to acquire new members and a full year focused on retaining them! For an average plan of 25,000 members, 8% voluntarily disenroll every year. Even if those 2,000 lost members could be replaced immediately, the marketing cost to replace them would be $1.6 million and the revenue at risk could be as much as $24 million per year! With so much energy focused on AEP efforts each year, how much focus are you putting on retention? Here are 7 tips for successful member retention year-round: 

Tip #1: Give your members a voice
Don’t wait for some of your current Medicare members to give you their feedback by voluntarily leaving your plan.  Instead, provide brief surveys to better understand their personal satisfaction so that you may better serve them and intercede when being given low scores. You will also gain the benefit of understanding your customers who are your greatest advocates, providing you with an opportunity to turn them into brand ambassadors.
 
Tip #2: Reinforce member benefits to demonstrate plan value
Let’s face it, insurance is something that we typically do not want to think about. However, insurance of all types offer us peace of mind. How does your plan offer that peace of mind to members? What specific benefits are most valued by members and maybe more importantly specific segments of your Medicare base? Identify the benefits that are most appealing to your Medicare member segments and put together and execute on a communication plan.
 
Tip #3: Proactive communication to calm anxiety over plan changes
After Annual Notification of Change (ANOC) delivery and prior to AEP is one of the most vulnerable times for insurers hoping to hold down their voluntary attrition rate. Do not let member’s “ANOC shock” lead to confusion, frustration, and ultimately defection. Get out in front, especially for newer members, with educational communications that explain the process from year to year, and offer an easy course of action for members to reach you after receiving the ANOC. Proactively communicate with members after receiving the ANOC as well, to maximize retention effectiveness.
 
Tip #4: Proactive welcome to reinforce member selection of their plan choice
Every year, your members are essentially getting a new plan, even if they elect not to proactively make a change. Thank them for their loyalty, and explain the features, benefits, and fees of the plan they have selected. Consider two types of welcome communications, including one for new members who have been with you for less than one full year and one for returning members.
 
Tip #5: Maintain a high degree of member engagement
Offer ways for your members to get engaged with you as an organization, with the community, and with their own health. Make it easy for them to interact with you across channels, and to personalize their experience to meet their needs. Examples are fitness and weight loss goals, prescription adherence, community involvement, etc.
 
Tip #6: Utilize member journey mapping to optimize member experience
Have you ever done business with an organization only to have them have no idea who you are in a future interaction?  The classic example is when you have been a customer for a long time, only to receive a prospecting email. Even worse is when you make a purchase only to be solicited for the exact same item a month later. Today, all organizations, including insurers, need to capture and share intelligence about their members through all touch points of an organization. This allows the entire organization to seamlessly see the member in the same light, and interact with them in a true one-to-one way.  Member journey mapping provides both the framework and path for insurers looking to provide more relevance and ease of doing business for their members.
 
Tip #7: Utilize predictive modeling to identify and reach out to those most likely to switch
Why spend money on the vast majority of members who will not switch, when you can instead focus your budget identifying and communicating with members who are most vulnerable.  Predictive modeling will provide you with a score indicating the likelihood that someone might switch plans.  Models are built based on claims data, demographic, and lifestyle data.


If your goal every year is to get new members, hopefully these tips will help in retaining them for years to come!