The Medicare Advantage (MA) Annual Election Period (AEP) which ended in December of last year is when most MA enrollees elect coverage. However, Patrick Phillips, CEO of Cavulus, a leading technology provider in the industry, says there’s an often-overlooked safety net in the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) which runs from Jan 1st – March 31st annually.
Phillips points out MA has “low churn”, meaning members don’t typically disenroll from their existing plan and opt for competing coverage. In fact, the Medicare Advantage churn rate is approximately 10% compared to commercial insurance which is close to 45%”, explains Patick Phillips. “Monthly premium, copays, and provider networks remain fairly consistent year-over-year which boosts member retention.”
According to a recent study from Kaiser Family Foundation, only half of MA enrollees ever review changes that may have been made to their current coverage, and only 30% compare existing coverage to competing plans.
The Cavulus CEO says obvious and substantive changes in plans, such as provider networks, drug formularies or additional costs will prompt shopping, but if a member has overlooked smaller, more subtle modifications that are personally important to them, then this current OEP period can be a significant safeguard.
Even if beneficiaries are happy with their current coverage, Phillips believes comparing plans annually is important for members to do. “MA is a competitive market, and beneficiaries can have as many as 43 plan options to choose from”, he explains. “Competition has pushed insurers to offer richer and more unique benefits. It’s always important to see if you’re leaving anything on the table.” He notes there has also been substantial growth in specialized plan types with enrollment requirements based on income, chronic conditions or veteran status.
Matching members to their optimal benefits with automated inquiries is something Cavulus enrollment technology provides for its insurer clients. The benefit for members is that these verifications help insurers identify subsidies, dual Medicaid/Medicare eligibility and other key criteria at the point of enrollment.
Cavulus is a technology driven specialist in Medicare Advantage insurance solutions. The Cavulus Cloud-based Medicare Advantage Platform (Cavulus MAP™) unifies marketing, sales and enrollment operations, and is utilized by many of America’s top insurers, including several BlueCross/ BlueShield companies, UPMC Health Plan, Johns Hopkins, and United Healthcare. For details visit: www.cavulus.com.