The Open Market on Millions of Insurance Shoppers

By Jeff SmedsrudSeptember 1, 2014

The Affordable Care Act has created a great opportunity for lead marketers, while forever changing the health insurance space. The marketplace is packed with millions of people who are searching for the best-priced health insurance. But how do you capture their interest and create the best lead possible?

Pricing for 2015 Obamacare health insurance plans is showing, on average, that consumers are in for a 2 to 23 percent premium hike next year, depending on health insurance carrier and state of residence. Those enrolled in a state or federal exchange will likely see the greatest increases, and many of those individuals have their existing coverage set to renew automatically for next year.

In addition to premium increases, some insurance companies will make adjustments to plan benefit levels. Deductibles, coinsurance and copay limits on existing plans could rise in 2015, making it harder for those with high deductible plans to ever hit their minimum limits, resulting in more out-of-pocket expenses.

As the classic tune goes, “You better shop around.” Smart consumers will not tolerate status quo if it impacts their wallet. Approximately 85 percent of those who bought an Obamacare plan are receiving a federal subsidy. They will not auto-renew their plans just because it’s easier. An hour of research could save customers more than $1,000 on their health insurance coverage in 2015, and you better believe they will be shopping for savings.

Eight million people enrolled on the state and federal exchanges in the first open enrollment period that ended on March 31, 2014. The size of the market in the next open enrollment period that begins November 15, 2014 could  be twice as big. Millions of individuals with grandfathered health insurance plans will be dropped by their insurance company come December of this year. There are also small business owners who will drop their employee benefit plan and roll workers over to the federal exchange with a defined contribution plan. Both groups will have to obtain coverage either on- or off-exchange.

Here are five things lead buyers and sellers need to focus on as they prepare for the upcoming health insurance tsunami to maximize the revenue opportunity:

1. Update your lead form. Name, address and email are fine, but a better lead in the health insurance space will ask for income range, ZIP code, tobacco status, and what is most important to the customer – monthly cost or being able to see their doctor for a set price. A lead form with specific qualifying questions will instantly provide a better quality lead to the purchaser.

2. Make sure your landing page is engaging. A recent study in the Journal of Health Economics found that only 14 percent of Americans knew basic health insurance terms. Your landing page should be informative and engaging. Don’t use industry terminology or abbreviations. Instead, engage individuals by relating to their insurance need at hand so they, in turn, provide the information you are looking for.

3. Add a cool tool. Your lead form doesn’t need to only consist of form fields. Get your audience to engage by installing a tool that provides them useful information related to the inquiry. Many companies, like the Kaiser Foundation, allow you to embed their subsidy calculator in an iframe on your website, giving your form a unique look that piques interest.

4. Test, test, test. Diversification of your advertising or where your lead forms are displayed is required because the pool is so big. The target audience is most likely 25-64, male and female, with income levels of starting around 138% above the federal poverty level1 and beyond. Conducting constant A/B testing on your messaging and the platform where the lead form is displayed can be crucial to the success of your campaigns.

5. Be picky about lead sources. Volume won’t an issue. There will be plenty of leads and a groundswell of calls to go around during the open enrollment period. Given that you’ll have your choice of lead sources, choose the ones that matter and will convert for you. Maximize your inbound lead and call capabilities, and then supplement them with high-quality third-party sources you know and trust. 

There was a lot of noise and confusion in the first year, but this open enrollment season should be more predictable, and you need to be prepared for it. Lead marketing moves to lead marketing 2.0 when you adjust your current strategy to amp-up user experience, which in turn, creates a better lead. Buyers are happy when the lead has been strategically qualified. Sellers are happy when their lead tactics are the best in the industry, driving demand.

Get creative. In just a few months there will be millions of Americans shopping for health insurance. Give them reason to take interest in your offer.


1Subsidy calculation for 2013

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