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4 Direct Mail Marketing Observations from D-SNP Plans with Significant 2020 Enrollment Gains

• Author: Healthcare Team

marketing d-snp plans

We continue to see Medicare Advantage insurers offer new dual-eligible special needs plans (D-SNPs) that are aimed at improving the health and well-being of those who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. According to AIS Health’s RADAR on Medicare Advantage, 97 new D-SNP plans were introduced in 2019, bringing the total up to 407 D-SNP plans for 2019-20 compared with 341 offered for 2018-19. This is largely based on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 which granted permanent authorization to special needs plans (SNPs) along with increased integration as soon as 2021. Both large, national payers and regional payers are making moves to expand their D-SNP offerings.

With some help from Mintel, * we analyzed direct mail marketing campaigns aimed at dual-eligible prospects. Creative samples chosen came from D-SNP plans who with significant YoY enrollment gains following the 2020 Medicare Open Enrollment Period (AEP).+

The use of official-looking “stealth” envelopes

One key theme that we observed in many direct mail acquisition mailings was the use of official-looking pieces with an outer envelope that captures a prospect’s attention by stressing that the contents of the envelope are important. A prospect may think that there are consequences for not opening the envelope to see what’s inside, rather than a more promotional envelope that gives away the intent.

marketing d-snp plans - key theme 1

Communicating that Original Medicare isn’t enough

We know the growing dual eligible population presents a big opportunity for health insurers. One of the goals for marketers is to educate prospects who receive both Medicare and Medicaid on what is different or richer in a D-SNP plan. As shown in the flyer below from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, it’s important to show consumers that in choosing a SNP over Original Medicare, they are not giving up any benefits, but simply getting more.

marketing d-snp plans

Beyond just showing the “Got These Cards?” approach helping prospects self-qualify, Amerigroup was one health insurer who provided a side-by-side comparison chart to show how their HMO D-SNP plan offers more benefits for dual eligibles in their covered service areas.

marketing d-snp plans

Emphasizing supplemental benefits

Prior to the start of the 2020 AEP, CMS announced changes that would increase the number and scope of supplemental benefits available to Medicare Advantage (MA) members. Such a change allowed health plans to tailor benefit packages to patients with specific chronic conditions, waiving the uniformity requirement, making it possible to offer “non-primarily health related” benefits. This presented an opportunity for product teams to design and develop plans best suited for a high-needs population. These offerings were prominently featured in direct mail creative.

With Amerigroup, we observed an emphasis on promoting over-the-counter (OTC) allowance and their partnership with Walmart and other participating retailers to offer a benefit card to allow members to purchase a range of health care items with the option of home delivery or in-store pickup.

marketing d-snp plans - key theme 3

Encouraging connecting via phone

Findings from Deft Research show us that dual-eligible consumers tend to rely on human help from agents, brokers or sales reps more than non-duals when choosing and enrolling in health plans. Although traditional Medicare Advantage (MA) direct mail often includes business reply mail as a response option, we noticed that many direct mail packages of the brands discussed didn’t offer that option, choosing to focus on connecting with prospects over the phone. 

marketing d-snp plans

The goal of the letter below from Horizon BlueCross BlueShield of New Jersey is to connect a prospect to a licensed agent who can help confirm if the prospect is dual eligible and to help further explain the benefits of the plan while also clearly stipulating that a call won’t obligate someone to enroll. This particular mailer also personalizes for a particular county.

marketing d-snp plans - key theme 4

SNPs are definitely gaining traction in the Medicare Advantage market. If you’re an insurer looking to launch (or grow) a D-SNP plan, let’s connect. Contact Jim McDonald, director of Business Development at 518-456-3015.

*Direct mail communications (screenshots) sourced from Mintel – a leading market intelligence agency.

+While marketing elements play a part in each brand’s enrollment growth, we acknowledge that there are many non-marketing factors that contribute to plan growth. 

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