Once customers reach Medicare age and open enrollment season rolls around, they face a decision: whether to stay with their former employer-provided health insurance provider or shop around for new insurance. Many choose the latter for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, during open enrollment season, those currently enrolled in Medicare can decide whether they’d like to stick with their current provider, or switch.
As a result, the open enrollment period between October 15th and December 7th represents a huge opportunity for insurance companies to bring in new business opportunities. Yet with such a saturated health insurance market, competition is steep. To win new customers, it’s imperative that the enrollment process be easy, intuitive, and frictionless. By providing a smooth onboarding process, health insurance providers can ensure that individuals who begin an enrollment process with them will ultimately complete it.
Here are four critical capabilities we’ve identified that will help insurance companies maximize their business opportunities during open enrollment:
It’s often thought that senior citizens feel more comfortable with pen-and-paper signatures. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Once seniors are exposed to eSignatures, they find it easier than wet-signature processes that require them to go to a physical location. This is particularly true during the COVID-19 era, when seniors are wary of entering physical locations that require face-to-face interaction.
However, not just any eSignature solution will do. Expecting anyone, let alone senior citizens, to fuss with opening documents on their computers, which requires them to have special software such as a PDF reader installed, is a tall order. Inevitably, more than a few will give up applying in frustration or miss the deadline.
On the other hand, solutions that allow customers to provide their signature via a simple text message transaction are more intuitive and don’t require any special technical know-how. Another advantage of mobile-optimized eSignatures is that the transaction takes place in real-time, allowing a call center agent to provide live assistance via phone call. This provides senior citizens with the guidance and reassurance they need as they complete their enrollment.
Similarly, seniors are hesitant about filling out forms at physical locations, both due to the continued threat of COVID-19 and the inconvenience involved. Requiring customers to print out forms, fill them out, mail them, or present them at a location is a hassle. It’s also unproductive for health insurance agents, who frequently have to chase customers to fill out forms and deal with error-filled applications that need to be re-completed.
eForms that are optimized for their mobile phones (or computers, if the customer prefers) allow customers to provide information in fields that are correctly sized for their channel of choice. No more straining to see the forms on a non-optimized interface, as is the case with legacy digital providers.
As with eSignatures, health insurance agents are able to guide customers through the digital form-filling process in real-time, eliminating chasing and errors. They are available to answer questions, assuage fears, and clear up any confusion during the process — all via a simple, socially-distanced phone call.
3. Document collection
A large number of documents may be required for customers trying to enroll in Medicare or switch providers. Birth certificates, ID, previous health insurance documents, W-2 forms, and military discharge papers can all be requested. Gathering all the needed documents is stressful enough, so the process of getting them to the insurance provider shouldn’t be another source of stress.
Unfortunately, requiring customers to scan and email documents assumes customers have ready access to a scanner and computer, when not all do. It’s far easier and quicker for customers to simply take a picture of all their documents, and send it to an agent via a familiar and secure text message interface.
For health insurance providers, staying HIPAA compliant is of supreme importance. Regulations surrounding the protection of sensitive PII are strict, and insurance companies are understandably concerned about making changes to their processes that could jeopardize their compliance posture.
Switching to fully mobile, digital Medicare application processes is actually a smart move for compliance-focused providers. When forms and documents are received by the agent, they are safely stored in the health insurance provider’s CRM system with a time-stamped audit trail. And digital signatures, unlike wet signatures, go through an authentication process using encryption technology, eliminating the possibility of fraud or tampering.
Win open enrollment with efficient digital processes
Excess customer friction leads insurance customers to abandon their application processes, drags the turnaround time, and hurts agent productivity. Capturing customer consent and documents quickly and easily ensures that customers won’t change their minds last minute simply because the process is taking too long. Get customers to sign up when their interest is highest, and they will sign up.