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Medicare AEP 2020: A Different Season of Creative Giving

• Author: Healthcare Team

Medicare AEP 2020

During the short period (just 53 days, in fact) known as Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), health insurers are competing for a piece of the Medicare pie. There are so many choices for Medicare beneficiaries to choose from. In this competitive environment, health insurance companies will offer small incentives to Medicare prospects with the hope that they will take action, most often calling for more information, attending a meeting/seminar, scheduling a consultant or requesting a free information kit.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) allows health insurers to offer “nominal gifts” of $15 or less to beneficiaries for marketing purposes, regardless of whether or not they enroll. With this limit in mind, health insurers need to get creative with the Medicare AEP marketing incentives they choose to offer. During the 2020 AEP, the level of creativity varied from gift cards to various useful items from calendars to tote bags to flashlights.

The Healthcare Marketing Team here at Media Logic is constantly taking inventory of what’s going on with Medicare including news, trends, and marketing tactics used by health insurers. Below are specific examples of incentives used by insurers this past season, as tracked and reported by Mintel and compiled and analyzed by Media Logic:

  • $10 gas card or ride voucher from BlueShield of California;
  • $10 gift cards (Visa or retail stores) from Medical Mutual, Clover Health, Aetna, Horizon BlueCross BlueShield, BlueShield of Northeastern New York, HAP, BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana;
  • Coupons for savings on purchases from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield;
  • Gifts (unspecified) from Healthfirst, Bright Health and Devoted Health Plans; 
  • Tote bags from BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona and Independent Health;
  • Calendars from BlueCross BlueShield of Nebraska, SummaCare, and Mutual of Omaha;
  • Flashlights from Providence Health Assurance and ConnectiCare;
  • A “peel and reveal” gift from ConnectiCare;
  • Motion sensor lights from Cigna;
  • Pedometers from ConnectiCare (with a calendar included in the mailing);
  • $10 gourmet coffee gift cards from Kaiser Permanente; and
  • $15 Walgreens gift cards from iCare.

While it’s not certain which incentives were most successful, it is clear that a lot of companies – from large national players to smaller, regional health plans – offered them. Check back with us later on this year for our annual review of marketing campaign highlights from the past year’s AEP.

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