Medicare, the federal health insurance program, primarily covers Americans 65 years old and over. As of 2023, that’s 57 million people, as well as 8 million younger people with disabilities. There’s intense competition for coverage provided through Medicare Part C (Advantage) and Part D (Prescriptions) as plans for both are available through private insurance companies. In this article, we’ll look at some best practices used to market parts C and D through direct mail.
What is Medicare Direct Mail?
Direct mail has long been a popular channel for marketing medical insurance plans. However, it should be noted that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issues regulations that govern marketing for both plans.
As in recent years, the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) will open on October 15 and close on December 7, 2023; any plan changes become effective in January 2024.
Currently, new Medicare enrollees are Boomers (until 2030, when Generation X becomes eligible). According to Lob’s 2023 State of Direct Mail Consumer Insights report, 52% of people 55+ surveyed said that they are most often introduced to new brands through direct mail. It bears watching whether this strong preference continues in future years.
Here is a very quick look at both plans:
Medicare Part C Direct Mail
Advantage plans – usually HMOs or PPOs – cover the same services as original Medicare. They may also add additional services, such as vision or dental care.
Medicare Part D Direct Mail
People enrolled in original Medicare Parts A and B may enroll in Medicare Advantage Part C plans that include prescription drug coverage. Or they may skip enrollment in Plan C but still choose a stand-alone Part D prescription plan.
What Formats Work Best for Medicare Direct Mail?
All of the 3 main mailer formats — postcards, folded self-mailers, and envelopes — are used to market Medicare Part C and D plans.
That being said, postcards tend to be used for easily understood messaging, such as promoting one big benefit, reminders of deadlines, upcoming meetings with sales agents, or educational events. Envelopes and self-mailers are better suited for longer-form messaging for both acquisition and retention.
5 Top Medicare Direct Mail Practices & Examples
Your direct mail can stand out by reaching the right prospect at the right time with the right message and persuading them to act. With powerful words and compelling images, your mail can help you turn a prospect into a customer, and then, to keep spending money with you.
1. Emphasize Savings
With inflationary pressures affecting many people’s bottom line, it makes sense to emphasize the low cost of enrolling in your health plan. In this 2023 example, Sharp HealthCare uses bullet points and bold type on the address side of this envelope for all of the free benefits of its Medicare Advantage Plan.
2. Educate Customers
Healthcare management is about much more than paying bills. Mailed four times a year, this newsletter is mailed by United Healthcare to customers enrolled in its AARP Medicare Supplement Plans, and it’s full of engaging content aimed at keeping them healthy. Articles in a variety of formats focus on topics appropriate for its audience, such as bone health, physical therapy, and hearing discounts.
3. Communicate Benefits
It’s a classic rule of direct marketing: talk about benefits, not features. This framing helps potential plan members understand what is being offered in a helpful way. In this 2022 letter from Cigna, the insurer provides a checklist of major benefits of its Medicare plan, so that the recipient can compare with their current coverage.
4. Highlight Deadlines
As noted above, open enrollment for joining or changing a Medicare plan is a relatively short period of time. In November 2022, this postcard from Devoted Health Plan reminded a prospect of the December 7 deadline. To at least earn their consideration, it offered a $10 gift card as an incentive to set up an appointment with a sales representative.
5. Provide Easy CTAs
Your mail should always make it easy for the prospect to respond. In this vertical, the most common practice for years has been to provide a phone number, a website, and often – though less so recently – a BRC. But as the target cohort includes more people accustomed to digital response, it’s smart to include a QR code as well, as shown on this letter from Aetna.
Get an Edge by Learning from Medicare Direct Mail in Who’s Mailing What!
Who’s Mailing What! includes over 8,300 Medicare-related direct mail campaigns, as of August 2023
When a mail piece is scanned for inclusion, our algorithm assigns it to one of 2 subcategories for Medicare: Insurance – Health/Hospitalization or Hospitals & Healthcare.
Here’s how to filter your search and find Medicare mail:
- After logging in to the website, click on the Search option from the Dashboard.
- Add the word “Medicare” to the search
- On the left side of the page, you’ll see Direct Mail Filters as one of the options under Filters. Scroll down to select the Finance category box; check the subcategory for Insurance – Health/Hospitalization. This filters out mail from everything but that subcategory.
- Next, scroll down to select the Health Care category box; check the subcategory for Hospitals & Healthcare. This filters out mail from everything but that subcategory.
Surveys have shown for decades that one of the most persistent worries of Americans is paying for healthcare expenses, medical care, and prescriptions, especially as they grow older. As the Medicare program has evolved with demographic changes and voter demands, direct mail marketers have continued to navigate the changing marketplace as well as regulations designed to protect consumers.
Mail remains a powerful channel for breaking through the clutter and delivering simple, key messaging while also supporting brand identity for providers in this sector. The 55+ audience, as surveyed by Lob’s consumer study, not only reads mail earlier than other age groups, it also keeps it around longer. When you have a target group that’s thinking a lot about their health and their financial security, your direct mail campaign has the power to create and enrich customer relationships that keep them well.