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How to Develop Impactful Customer Journey Maps for Medicare AEP

As the 2019 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period approaches, it’s more important than ever for insurers to understand their customers. As the Medicare marketplace continues to stabilize, seniors are actively shopping, while switching remains stagnant — only nine percent of Medicare members switched coverage during the 2018 AEP. There is also minimal variance in plan options and pricing, with 40 percent of plans offered nationally touting $0 premiums as a primary selling proposition.¹  In response to this market stability, insurers are becoming more aggressive and competitive with their marketing efforts, as Medicare AEP spending is up year over year.²

With all these factors at play, companies are fighting over the same pool of prospects — the resistant switchers and those who are newly eligible for Medicare. As a result, the importance of implementing a personalized marketing strategy increases significantly. Insurers must move beyond a one-size-fits-all communication strategy to one that delivers the right message, at the right time, to the right customer.

One key pathway to developing more personalized experiences is through customer journey mapping. It’s a critical first step to delivering communications that deliver truly unique and tailored customer experiences. Creating comprehensive, thoughtfully designed customer journey maps helps insurers understand their customer’s shopping, buying, and engagement behaviors and the motivations that drive them.

Here's where to start:   

Analyze current customer data

  • Analyze database of customers
  • Validate predetermined customer segments
  • Determine customer segments that are most critical for the business

Meet with key stakeholders to document current-state customer interactions

  • Conduct discovery interviews with key stakeholders
  • Identify customer pain points defined as an interaction that does not deliver on the brand promise and/or customer expectations
  • Identify “moments of truth” defined as an interaction between a prospect/customer and the company, which inherently leaves a lasting positive or negative impression
  • Assess creative assets
  • Review existing persona profiles that may be used for marketing targeting and/or segmentation strategy
  • Understand priorities of customer segments and gather requirements for the future vision

Identify needs and motivations through qualitative and quantitative research

  • Conduct qualitative interviews
  • Develop an online survey
  • Understand customer engagement motivations across priority segments

Define the strategy and vision for the journey that addresses improvement areas

  • Recommend new, data-driven and integrated marketing tactics across all lifecycle stages
  • Outline channels and data needs
  • Outline messaging priorities for each stage
  • Identify technology and other enablement requirements


As the AEP kicks off on October 1st, consider customer journey mapping to assess the current state of your marketing efforts. What is the experience of those that are most likely to enroll in your plans? How does that experience differ from those that do not enroll? How does the decision-making process differ across segments? Map these experiences and use them to identify gaps and opportunities to capture more of the age-in market throughout the year and to get a jump on next year’s planning. It will help you establish a more direct path to grow your member base.


¹2018 Deft Research Medicare Shopping and Switching Study

² Medicare Business Online Mark Farrah Associates, CMS Enrollments

  Kantar Strategy Media