The number of provider-sponsored health insurance plans entering the market is growing exponentially. Why? Because it can be profitable for both health systems and physician groups. But this endeavor is vastly more difficult than launching a new plan from an established brand. There are essential elements for planning, designing, launching, and sustaining a totally new Medicare plan and brand. Plans new to the market need even more of an edge to compete against the incumbents. Therefore, it is imperative to follow these three mission-critical stages of a plan launch.

Author’s Note: This article is an excerpt from DMW's Medicare Plan Launch e-book.

Stage 1: Bring in a marketing expert to help build your new Medicare plan

First and foremost: There’s no one “insert client name” template that will do the job. While launching your new plan does demand an established and disciplined process, your new plan also deserves, and will benefit from, unique positioning and execution it can own.

What does the first stage encompass? It’s everything you’ll need to get your new Medicare plan off the ground, including:

  • Full marketplace assessment
  • Strategy and planning
  • Pro formas for enrollment and marketing
  • Brand development and positioning


Create more than brand impressions.
Drive target audiences to act!

Stage 2: Design the marketing campaign components

Once the product and benefit foundation for your new Medicare plan is firmly in place, it’s time to build the marketing components that will carry your new Medicare brand to market. There are a number of important steps to this stage all based on the research from Stage 1, including:

  • Precision audience targeting
  • Designing an effective omni-channel approach

Although 65+ consumers have an affinity for traditional channels, such as TV, mail, print, the percentage who are digitally connected grows every year.1 Creating a campaign that truly integrates all media channels has proven key to getting the enrollment (and revenue) your pro formas call for.

The key to success: omni-channel communications driven by one voice
Today’s consumer, at every age, is surrounded by, and engages with, marketing messaging in all forms of media and more pervasively than ever before. You need to be everywhere they’re looking—whether it’s for AEP launch, new to Medicare in January of the next calendar year, New Movers programs, or reaching AEP switchers in your second year.

Reaching consumers with communications designed to exploit techniques that persuade and motivate the age 65+ consumers to consider—and purchase—your new Medicare plan is critical.

Stage 3: Optimize the campaign—data and analytics, media spend, messaging refinement

This is the phase where the previous stages start paying off. Your new campaign is up and running, calls are coming in, but the work continues.

Tracking and A/B testing helps your campaign go the distance. This middle distance is critical … tracking all levels of performance is key.

As your campaign is running, media buy management tweaks refine and optimize the results in near real time to maximize results on all metrics. Those key elements that are identified as data points throughout your initial AEP—and will provide future insights— re given unique identifiers.

Refinement—year one must be done right to ensure sustained health of your new Medicare plan
In year one of your new plan, the enrollment numbers are important. But your first year must also set the stage for the health of your plan for years to come. Data drives refinement. Markets, competitors, and products change. This means—each year revisiting the initial situation analysis, refining and expanding market intelligence, and modifying or rebuilding assessments and strategic direction.

Click here for more information on how to launch a new Medicare plan.

1 “Technology Use Among Seniors,” Pew Research Center, May 2017.