The pandemic upended most of us in one way or another. The good news is that as we were forced to adapt, doors opened to new, and in some cases better, ways of doing things.
Medicare sales were one of those industries that quickly adapted by embracing digital and automation technology.
This was particularly true during last year's AEP (the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period). Many brokers turned to customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to organize client-specific information and automate outreach, especially around drug reviews.
Most beneficiaries welcomed the change. Statistics show that in the 65 and up age group, 73% of seniors are comfortable using the internet. Many have expectations for online options.
But does automation in Medicare drug reviews always create the best outcome for the customer?
Transferring data from application to application absolutely lends itself to automation.
Developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS), Blue Button 2.0 does just that and connects a beneficiary’s Medicare claims data to applications and services they trust.
Capturing the beneficiaries’ drug data in this way has proven to be an enormous time saver for both broker and client. It creates a baseline for the individual and can be used when choosing future drug plans. The beneficiary can allow access to that data during a drug review from their broker.
On average, during AEP brokers will recommend 30% of Medicare beneficiaries stay in their current drug plan.
It makes sense for the broker to identify these clients quickly, making automating the drug review process a good choice.
Knowing who falls into that percentage and who doesn’t rely on the instincts of a good broker.
By using this type of automation strategically, brokers can enhance their efficiency and provide better service to their customers.
A recent Urban Institute survey found that 84 % of consumers surveyed found that insurance brokers were “somewhat” or “very” helpful during the research phase of finding a healthcare plan. That’s because an experienced broker knows it's often necessary to dig deeper than a website or automated process can when it comes to some of their client's specific situations.
The AEP drug review is an excellent example of when an automated process can fall short for certain clients. A client taking many high-priced medications or having a serious health condition, for example, will need a closer (human) inspection.
There are also some beneficiaries who do not have access to computers or know how to use the internet. Full automation isn't going to be an option in those cases, either. It will be up to the broker to manually enter their data into the system so they can benefit from the process.
According to a recent broker survey, 76% of brokers report customer requirements for automated processes have increased.
The survey also suggests that customers focus on the interactions they have with their brokers as well.
In fact, within that same group of brokers:
Trusty Select Pro, an all-inclusive quoting and enrollment platform, offers an Instant Plan and Drug Review for up to 5,000 beneficiaries at once.
It's a process that saves the broker time, allowing space for a warmer approach to their clients.
Instead of contacting each individual beneficiary and then uploading their drug information one at a time, the broker can:
In this case, there isn’t the need to overwhelm them with lots of back and forth. Instead, a periodic check in that keeps the relationship friendly with no pressure will be welcomed.
Creating the best possible experience for the beneficiary during this busy time should be the goal. Success for the Medicare broker requires adjusting to a new set of expectations.
Brokers without the right tools and resources will struggle to keep up. Embracing automated processes, along with the necessary people skills, will be essential.