Data Drives Winning Medicare Advantage Plan Design During 2020 AEP

Published on March 4, 2020

Last year was an inflection point for Medicare Advantage. The competition was fierce as more beneficiaries enrolled in plans and more plans entered the market to capture their business with an expanded array of offerings. Our 2020 AEP Performance Report captures the trends, looks at the plans that came out on top, and determines what features made them winners.

The big story of 2020 was experimentation — a handful of large national plans achieved significant growth by testing the markets to find the sweet spot of cost structure, flexibility, and supplemental benefits. Transportation, over-the-counter, meal benefits, and telehealth services were just a few of the options national players threw into Medicare Advantage plan designs as they pulled the levers of premiums, co-pays, and deductibles to create plans that would boost enrollment.

Clearly, consumer choice drives AEP success and will continue to do so, as increasing competition creates fertile ground for higher consumer expectations. As a result, Medicare Advantage plan design and marketing strategy will become increasingly complex and important. This means regional plans are finding themselves at the center of converging pressures as they’re called upon to create more options in more markets for less money.

With comparatively modest resources, how can regional plans compete in the evolving Medicare Advantage landscape?

In a word: data. Deliberate analysis of existing data can help regional health plans draw insights about product development in various types of markets. For example, during 2020 AEP, Carrot Health customers grew by 7.1% — 91% more than other regionals — by using our MarketView Platform to inform their plans.

Based on what we learned from the 2020 AEP, we believe the most successful plans in the next year will be those that can draw upon existing data to determine four key factors:

  1. which plan types have the most appeal in a given market;
  2. what are the optimal costs for premiums, deductibles, and copays;
  3. which supplemental benefits have the biggest impact on health outcomes;
  4. how to find the of balance costs, flexibility, and supplemental benefits that will drive market growth and Star Ratings performance.

For a closer look at what differentiated the winners from the losers in 2020, download our white paper, “2020 AEP Performance Report, Trends & Insights.”  If you’re curious about how data can improve health Medicare Advantage plan design and marketing efficiency, you can learn more in our blog post, “Health Plan Design and Marketing in the Age of Precision Data.”

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