Study Shows Growth in Digital Marketing for Medicare Marketers
Preliminary results from the DMN3 Institute’s Medicare Advantage Marketing Benchmark Study show that marketers are quickly embracing digital marketing for boomers and seniors. The Institute surveyed Advantage plan marketers on a number of marketing topics.
Based on the results so far, digital is at the forefront of changes for Medicare Advantage marketing. Respondents indicated that digital channels will become more important in Medicare insurance enrollment over the next two years.
About 90 % of marketers expect online advertising, i.e., display, PPC, social media advertising, etc., will be more important.
About 80% expect responsive design for mobile, social media marketing and marketing automation will be more important.
About 70% expect customer segmentation and lead scoring/nurturing will be more important.
More than half of respondents list email marketing; channel expansion & integration; and content/inbound marketing will be more important as well.
Most offline marketing channels will stay about the same in importance over the next two years.
Print advertising is expected to be less important according to more than 40 percent of respondents.
About a third of respondents think direct mail will also be less important over the next two years.
The expected decline in importance of print and direct mail reflects broader marketing trends.
Survey participants indicate that targeting 63 and 64 year olds will remain the most important focus of Medicare insurance marketing. The three most important trends include the use of more social media, customer segmentation, and online advertising.
Digital Marketing Priorities:
It’s not surprising that generating more leads is the top digital marketing priority for 70% of respondents. Other priorities include driving increased engagement and conversion rates; and lead scoring/nurturing.
Budgets Reflect the Importance of Digital for the Future
Today, digital marketing budgets account for less than 20% of the overall marketing budget for Medicare insurance marketing. Contrast that with the fact that over 60% of responders expect their digital marketing budgets to increase over the next two years.
The marketing channels that will see an increase in spending include:
Website redesigns/enhancements (about 55% of respondents).
Social media marketing and online advertising (about 50% of respondents).
Search (SEO/PPC) and email marketing (more than 40% of respondents).
The full results are displayed below:
The shift in importance to digital media by Medicare marketers reflects the reality that boomers turning 65 (“age-in” Medicare beneficiaries) are more educated and tech savvy than previous generations. Boomers and seniors are using the Internet to communicate, find information and keep up with friends and family. The full results of the survey and insights will be reported by the DMN3 Institute in the coming weeks.
How does your Medicare Advantage plan marketing compare with these results? Share with us so we can all learn.
Did you neglect to sign up for Medicare when you first became eligible? Well, you’ve now got a second chance thanks to the general enrollment period.
But don’t sleep on this opportunity; the deadline is fast approaching!
Medicare deadline: Act fast before March 31
According to Medicare.gov, we’re now in the midst of the general enrollment period for Medicare. This is true every year between January 1 and March 31.
The general enrollment period allows you to sign up for Part A, Part B or both plans at once.
As a reminder, Part A and Part B cover your main health care costs, such as hospital and outpatient care, through government-provided insurance.
Meanwhile, Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage through private insurance carriers. And Part C (aka Medicare Advantage) actually combines Parts A and B and adds additional benefits like vision or dental along with prescription drug coverage.
It’s a crazy alphabet soup, but it’s an important one to understand!
How to sign up for Part A or B during general enrollment
If you sign up for Part A and/or B during the general enrollment period, your coverage will start July 1. Though you should anticipate higher premiums for late enrollment in Part A and/or Part B.
You sign up for Part A by contacting Social Security. Most people get premium-free Part A based on the Medicare taxes they or their spouse paid while working. But under some circumstances, you may have to pay a monthly premium ranging from $232 to $422 in 2018.
If you had to buy Part A, you’ll also have monthly premiums for Part B in most cases. Premiums for Part B have a wider spread than they do for Part A. See this chart that outlines Part B premiums for 2018:
Reminder: There’s a big change coming to Medicare in 2018
A major change is taking place this year for Medicare recipients — and it’s great news for your wallet!
New Medicare cards are on the way
Beginning in April, the first wave of new Medicare cards will be mailed to enrollees. Unlike the old cards, these new ones won’t display your Social Security number!
That should go a long way to protecting consumers from identity theft, much of which happens at medical offices.
The new cards will have an 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier made up of random numbers and uppercase letters. It will be a more secure replacement for the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) you’re used to right now.
You have a few options as you approach your Medicare enrollment. For some, this will be automatic, but for others, it will depend on a few factors.
Within 3-6 months of turning 65, you should receive a large envelope from the Social Security Administration with information about your Medicare Part A & Part B coverage. Within this envelope, you’ll find a thicker sheet of paper which includes your Medicare ID card on one corner of the page. It has perforated edges to allow you to detach it from the page. It is thick stock paper and is your permanent ID. You will not receive a plastic ID card.
Will I Be Automatically Enrolled in Medicare?
If you worked at least 40 quarters in the United States, you should automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A (Hospital) insurance. Your card should reflect your Medicare Part A start date as the 1st of the month in which you turn 65. If you were born on the first of the month, the start date will be the first of the month prior to your birthday.
Medicare Part B (Outpatient) insurance is elective coverage. So, you don’t need to take the coverage if you prefer not to do so. Though, it makes sense if you would like to have coverage for medical services received outside of a hospital setting. Over 90% of Medicare beneficiaries opt to take Part B (source). It’s important to note that if you wait to enroll in Part B, your premium could be 10% higher for every 12-month period that you were eligible for Part B but did not sign up.
If you are already enrolled in and are receiving Social Security income benefits prior to turning 65, you should automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part B and your card should reflect this. If you want to stay enrolled in Medicare Part A & Part B and your card reflects a start date for both, you do not have to do anything else other than consider a Medicare supplement plan and a Medicare Part D drug plan.
What If I Don’t Want Medicare Part B?
If you decide you do not want Medicare Part B, you should also have instructions to send the ID card back to opt out. If you send the card back, you will receive a new ID card within a few weeks of reflecting that you are enrolled in Medicare part A only. Keep in mind that if you have no creditable medical coverage (not counting Medicare Part A) and opt out of Medicare Part B, you will have financial penalties (discussed later in this guide) if you decide to pick up Part B at a later time.
One of the common reasons one might return their card and opt out of Medicare Part B is if they are currently employed and have creditable health coverage through their employer. If you intend to stay employed and keep employer coverage, check with your HR department to ensure you have creditable health coverage before you opt out of Medicare Part B.
Enrolling in Part B If You Aren’t Automatically Enrolled
If you have not begun receiving Social Security benefits prior to turning 65, you will likely have to enroll in Medicare Part B proactively. The reason is that receiving Social Security benefits provides Medicare with a source of income from which they can deduct your Medicare Part B premium.
If you are not receiving Social Security income, you’ll want to enroll in Medicare Part B within three months prior to the month in which you turn 65. You also have the month in which your turn 65 and the three months following to enroll in Medicare Part B without penalty (unless you have creditable health coverage elsewhere). So, you have a seven month window to enroll in Medicare Part B.
How to Enroll in Medicare Part B
There are 3 options for enrolling in Medicare Part B if not automatically enrolled:
By calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-0778), Monday through Friday,
If you haven’t started receiving Social Security benefits, you must also make monthly payments. You’ll get a monthly bill called a “Notice of Medicare Premium Payment Due.” There are 4 ways you can pay your Medicare Part B premium:
Pay directly from your bank account using your bank’s online bill payment system.
Sign up for Medicare Easy Pay, a free service that automatically deducts premium payments from your bank account each month, usually on the 20th of the month.
Mail your Medicare payment coupon and payment to: Medicare Premium Collection Center P.O. Box 790355 St. Lousi, MO 63179-0355
Pay by credit card or debit card. Complete the bottom portion of the payment coupon on your Medicare bill, and sign it. You’ll need to provide the account information as it appears on your card and the expiration date. Most credit cards today only have the month and year in the expiration date field. If your credit card only has a month and year in the expiration date, fill in the month and year on the payment coupon and leave the day field blank. Mail your payment to the address above.
If you have any questions regarding your Medicare eligibility or application, please call to speak with a GoMedigap agent at (866) 894-3258, Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm CST.
The post How & When Do I Enroll in Medicare Parts A & B? appeared first on GoMedigap.
The new cards are designed to better protect seniors, like 71-year-old Jack Schmitt. He knows he has a new Medicare card coming. The problem is scammers do, too. Schmitt said they have been calling him and his wife, Jeanne Bazar, to fork over some cash.
“The first call came in at 7:15 in the morning,” said Bazar, who thought it was one of her grandchildren calling her Leander home. “And we got five by 11 o’clock.”
‘It’s like they assume that because I turned 65, I’m immediately stupid.’
Here’s what they say: “You’re going to be getting a new card,” said the retired business owner. “But, before you get your new card, they can provide that for you for 15 or 20 or pick a number dollars.”
Medicare says the scammers are trying to beat the rollout of the new ID cards for seniors, which will only arrive by mail in a couple of months. For the next year, the agency will continue to send out the new cards in phases. Seniors in Texas should start receiving them by the summer. Congress ordered the new cards because for many years the original cards used social security numbers to identify healthcare recipients. The new cards have a completely different number called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, which will use a series of letters.
Another scam asks seniors to mail in their old card before they can get their replacement card. Experts warn falling for this one opens the door for identity theft.
“It’s like they assume that because I turned 65, I’m immediately stupid,” Schmitt said.
The couple said one thing that keeps them safe is they know a Medicare representative will never call.
“When you realize immediately that this is not good. This is not correct. This is probably a scam. We just end the call,” Schmitt said.
Medicare said seniors should destroy their old card once they receive the new one. And although the card has a new unique identifier, cardholders should only give it out to healthcare providers.
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93-year-old sends $15,000 to scammer but realizes her mistake just in time
There’s a new scam you need to be aware of, if you or family members are on Medicare. The Federal government is issuing new Medicare cards to help prevent fraud. But, that is offering scammers a new opportunity.
Oklahoma has about 700,000 people on Medicare.
New cards without the social security numbers printed on them are being issued to Medicare members in June. So, fraudsters are working quickly now to get those numbers while they still can.
“They called and asked if I was who I am and I said, ‘Yes’,” recalls Verna Stricklin. She recently received a call that there was a problem with her Medicare card. “They said somebody else is using it. I said, ‘Oh really’.”
The person on the other end of the line asked for her social security number to help her change to a different insurance plan.
That is one of likely thousands of scenarios scammers use to commit medical identity theft.
“Fraudsters can use this to open credit accounts, they can use it to file false claims,” explains Ray Walker, the Division Director of the Medicare assistance program with the Oklahoma Insurance Department.
The new Medicare cards will prevent that. But scammers quickly found a way to use the new cards to their advantage.
“They’re calling and telling people you’re going to get a new Medicare number. Isn’t that great. So, we need to verify your information to make sure we get the right number transitioned over to your new number,” explains Walker.
Walker says scammers are also calling and asking if you have received the new card and offering to track it down using your old card number. They are saying there’s a charge for the new cards.
“One, nobody from Medicare or the Social Security Administration is going to call you about these cards. Two there is no charge for these new cards,” says Walker.
Medicare providers will be able to accept both the current Medicare numbers as well as the new Medicare numbers during the transition period. Providers will be able to accept the current numbers until December 30, 2019. But starting January 1, 2020, only the new numbers will be allowed.
The best advice if you get a call? Do exactly like Verna.
“I said you know I may be old, but I’m not stupid. And I hung up.”
The Insurance Department is hosting a number of seminars to help seniors avoid fraud.
Each seminar is free for seniors and includes breakfast. Attendees must register online at map.oid.ok.gov or by calling 800-763-2828.