Veterans life insurance

Google sees strong buyer interest in Medicare Advantage plans

What do you want to know

  • Agents and brokers face new marketing rules.
  • Quality rating changes hurt some issuers.
  • Many consumers seek health insurance plan information from a particular organization.

Consumers are preparing to shop hard for Medicare plans for 2023, despite the effects of new Medicare program rules on marketing exuberance.

The annual election period for Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans begins Saturday and ends Dec. 7.

Google Trends tool shows that over the past four years, search activity for the term “Medicare Advantage” peaked in the week ending December 4, 2021, as consumers locked in coverage for 2022 .

Google Trends activity level for “Medicare Advantage” stands at 76% this year, the same level of activity Google Trends showed for the week ending October 16, 2021, as the annual election period for 2022 was beginning.

The median activity level for “Medicare Advantage” over the past four years was 37% of the peak for the week of December 4, 2021.

The search activity for plans offered by AARP, CVS Health Unit Aetna and Humana has been particularly strong. AARP has higher Google Trends scores than any other issuer or distributor for Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare supplemental insurance policies.

What this means

For insurers and Medicare plan agents, this could be a good year for Medicare plan sales.

For financial advisors, the implication is that Medicare plan marketing efforts can continue to have a major effect on how clients perceive healthcare, insurance and financial services arrangements in general.

The TPMO factor

Over the past two years, major television marketing campaigns have helped shape health insurance plan sales.

Some consumers have complained about misleading advertisements and confusing lead generation efforts.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services responded by establishing new regulations for “third-party marketing organizations.” Agents and brokers must now notify customers of any limitations on the menu of local packages they offer, and they must record their calls with consumers.

Some of the major national companies selling health insurance plans seem to have reduced the size of their operations.

Star Rating

CMS recently changed the methods it uses to calculate star ratings, or quality ratings, for health insurance plans.

Some companies’ plans have suffered star rating drops big enough to affect the way they do business.

Complementary medical insurance

A popular alternative to Medicare Advantage plans is to combine Original Medicare with supplemental Medicare insurance.

The Google Trends median activity level for the search term “Medicare supplement” is 18% of the peak activity level for the term “Medicare Advantage”.

The activity level for the “Medicare Supplement” is now 25%, down from 32% for the week ending October 16, 2021.

A comparison of the activity level for “Medicare Advantage” and “Medicare supplement” shows that the activity level for “Medicare supplement” has slightly decreased. The level of activity for “Medicare Advantage” has increased, leading to greater differences between search activity for “Medicare Advantage” and “Medicare supplement”.

Transmitters

Here’s a look at what some health insurers are saying about their 2023 Medicare Advantage plan menus and operations:

Etna, Woonsocket’s Rhode Island-based arm CVS Health will increase the number of counties where it offers Medicare Advantage plans in 2023 from 141 to 2,014.

It will also expand its Aetna Medicare Eagle Medicare Advantage plans, which are designed for military veterans and encompass veterans’ health care coverage.