Open Enrollment Checklist: Preparing for Health and Medicare’s Busiest Season

Open enrollment may be months months away, but health and medicare insurers can maximize their performance by starting their preparation now

Health and Medicare advertisers can prepare for open enrollment by following these six steps.

Open enrollment is the crucial time period for health and Medicare advertisers, and it’s never too early to start putting yourself in a position to succeed during crunch time.

Last year, more than 12 million people signed up for health and Medicare plans during the critical year-end stretch when enrollment is open to all qualified applicants. If Medicare and health insurance carriers aren’t prepared in advance, they run the risk of losing out on these in-market shoppers to rival carriers who have already taken the time to create, test, and optimize their targeting, bidding, and creative messages.

Here’s how you can prevent last-minute headaches and achieve the best possible results during open enrollment.

Three things to do six months before open enrollment

1. Implement accurate conversion tracking:

If you’re not tracking when your target consumers purchase a policy after clicking one of your ads, you won’t have the information you need to properly analyze your performance or optimize your campaigns moving forward.

Unfortunately, some carriers are not yet tracking conversions, and others are using an outdated pixel-based cookie to do so. With the cookie set to become obsolete by the end of the year, the time is now to begin migrating to a conversion tracking token. Implementing token tracking requires a good deal of time and engineering resources, due to the data mapping and testing you need to do to get it right. It’s best to start this process as early as possible.

2. Test sources and build a portfolio of optimized media:

Open enrollment is not the time to be playing catch-up—you want your campaigns running at full speed from the moment consumers are able to sign up. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’ve tested and optimized all elements of your media-buying strategy in advance.

This means building out a list of consumer audiences, publishers, and referral sources that you think will work for you, and then testing and optimizing based on your results. You’ll also want to get a sense of what mix of clicks, calls, and leads work best for your business. Sometimes, the results you see during testing can be quite different from what you would have predicted beforehand.

3. Perfect your operational flow:

Even the best campaign will fall apart if you don’t have the infrastructure to turn an interested consumer into a policy sale.

To this end, you need to make sure all your landing pages and on-page buttons work, and that you have clear calls to action that allow consumers to choose how they want to engage with you—that is, giving them the opportunity to call you or fill out a form to get a quote, depending on their preferences. If you’re using a call center, make sure your agents are trained in advance and ready to handle high call volumes and qualify calls in 60-90 seconds.

Three things to do at least three months before open enrollment

1. Forecast your media plan and budget:

Some carriers have rigid budgeting processes, and it’s important to make sure you have an approved plan for how much you’re going to spend on customer acquisition and where you’re planning to allocate it.

2. Test your creative:

Open enrollment is a busy time, and the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to approve your ad copy at the last minute. Make sure you have a messaging plan and that your creative is tested and ready to go in advance.

3. Review advertising specifications:

Give yourself time to review the advertising specifications of your creative assets and ensure that they match up with the specifications of your advertising technology partners. Since many carriers have lengthy legal approval processes, you’ll want to make sure you have room to make revisions if any of your assets are not in alignment.

Want to talk more about open enrollment? Give us a call.

Open enrollment can be a stressful time, but if you square away the items on this list in advance, you’ll put yourself in the best possible position for a headache-free, high-performance end to the year. In doing so, you’ll give yourself space to focus on what’s really important: analyzing your results and making adjustments that allow you to optimize your customer acquisition.

If you have any questions about your preparation for this crucial time period, please do reach out to your client success manager. With decades of combined industry experience, our Health, Life and Medicare team has all the expertise you need to hit the ground running. And if you’re not already a MediaAlpha customer, you can always schedule a demo with us to learn more.