Blog Post

Leading Executives Are Using Ascend to Prepare for an Unprecedented AEP

In-Person Meetings Are Out. Do Your Agents Have the Tools to Succeed?

Published August 18, 2020

If COVID-19 was a fictional character, it might be The Grinch.

Rather than stealing Christmas, though, the viral disease disrupted spring and summer activities, including in-person classes, sports, concerts, graduations, proms, weddings, and even funerals.

Many states are considering suspending in-person school this fall, including sports and other extracurricular activities.

Where will it end?

No one knows, but this much is certain: Medicare beneficiaries are taking no chances. They have good reason to be cautious. Seniors account for just 16% of the population but 80% of COVID-19 fatalities. Whether they are taking extra precautions when opening their mail, avoiding in-person events like seminars, or staying home as much as possible, seniors are well informed on COVID-19 do’s and don’ts.

You can trust they will be entering this next Medicare enrollment season with their eyes wide open.

Deft Research is a respected source for the health insurance industry that works with over 100 health insurance carriers and dozens of healthcare organizations.

From April 24 to May 4, 2020, Deft Research surveyed 3,038 seniors about the following topics:

  • How COVID-19 was impacting their day-to-day lives
  • How they viewed their current Medicare coverage and the likelihood they would switch health and prescription plans this AEP
  • How the pandemic would affect their Medicare shopping

The results emphasize the importance of carriers providing agents with the tools they need to succeed during an unprecedented AEP.

Before we explain how Bloom’s Ascend Mobile Application (AMA) sets your agents up for success, though, let’s look at some of the survey’s findings:

  • Approximately 87% of seniors are concerned for their health to some degree due to COVID-19, and 34% are very concerned.
  • Seniors in the hardest-hit states are more likely to wear masks in public and avoid in-person meetings than those in states with fewer COVID-19 cases.
  • Three out of four seniors are at least a little concerned about COVID-19 and their financial outlook

In other words, if there was ever an AEP where no-contact selling was important, it’s this AEP.

Here are a few more findings from the survey:

  • Nearly one-fourth of beneficiaries surveyed said they plan to keep their current coverage.

    Hardly any seniors said COVID-19 would push them to change to a different plan.

  • 68% of Medicare Supplement (MedSupp) members and 60 percent of Medicare Advantage (MA) members are extremely confident their coverage will cover their needs during the pandemic.

    Only 47% of those with Original Medicare were extremely confident their coverage was sufficient. Conversely, only 9% of MedSupp members and 7% of MA members were not at all confident their plans were sufficient during COVID-19, but 25% of Original Medicare beneficiaries had little or no confidence in their health coverage.

  • Nearly nine out of 10 beneficiaries would prefer to meet with an agent over the phone, by email, or via video conferencing.

  • Seniors in states more heavily impacted by COVID-19 are less interested in meeting with an agent in-person.

    Of those preferring to deal with an agent over the phone, 65% live in high-impact states, 59% live in middle-impact states, and 60% live in least-impact states.

  • Medicare recipients who met with an agent in 2019 were twice as likely to say they would still meet with an agent in-person this AEP as those who didn’t.

  • About 40% of Medicare members indicated they would rather speak to an agent over the phone than attend an in-person seminar, although only 7% of those surveyed attended an in-person seminar in 2019.

  • 67% of those who attended a seminar in-person last year would prefer to speak with an agent on the phone (32%) or attend a live seminar online (35%) this year.

By eliminating the need for face-to-face meetings and in-person contact, Bloom’s Ascend Mobile Application (AMA) and Remote Agent Telephonic Enrollment (RATE) tool are ideally suited for such a unique sales environment.

Everything an agent needs to present and make a sale is included in the AMA, including real-time leads, video conferencing, access to sales materials and rate sheets, digital scope of appointment documentation, enrollment applications, and much more. Sales managers can push messages to agents, post new resources, and monitor dashboards that display field agent activity. They also can monitor sales activity in real time and review indicators that summarize agent activity in the past eight hours.

Bloom’s Value-Based Enrollment (VBE) process allows carriers to gather health-related information from the beneficiary immediately after enrollment by connecting the new enrollee to a wellness advocate. The wellness advocate helps collect Health Risk Assessment data and schedule an Annual Wellness Visit for the member, ultimately improving member engagement and increasing care coordination.

The ability to work remotely and compliantly enhances the enrollment experience for seniors.

A good enrollment experience means a satisfied customer, and satisfied customers mean fewer dis-enrollments.

If social distancing recommendations remain in place, seniors will remain vigilant about exposure to COVID-19 this AEP and will take precautionary steps while considering their 2021 Medicare options. That’s why Bloom’s secure, cloud-based architecture program could help shape an uncertain AEP into a winning one.

Remote presentations and enrollments have never been easier than with Bloom’s intuitive and innovative technology. Whether a senior prefers to talk over the phone, by email, or via video conferencing, the AMA is your all-in-one virtual sales office.

Bloom is committed to creating efficient and innovative solutions for the insurance industry and its customers. Our AMA application and RATE tool do just that.

Are you ready for an unprecedented AEP? We are, and we can help you be ready, too.

Looking for more?

If you’re interested in learning how the Ascend Mobile Application can take your sales to the next level, let’s talk.

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