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Embracing Change: Reflecting On Medicarians 2024

Drips' Katie Viehbeck was blown away by the innovative ideas discussed at Medicarians 2024. She shares six key takeaways from the conference about the future of Medicare.

The Medicarians 2024 conference was like stepping into The Sphere in Las Vegas — a captivating, immersive experience that redefined the Medicare landscape. As The Sphere revolutionized entertainment with its technological marvels, Medicarians illuminated the healthcare industry with innovative ideas and discussions, projecting a future where quality and innovation intersect.

The electrifying atmosphere was fueled by the 2025 Medicare Advantage and Part D final rule, setting a transformative agenda for senior care. This year's focus shifted from mere acquisition to retention. This shift emphasized the importance of building lasting relationships with members and providing holistic healthcare support.

Key Takeaways From Medicarians 2024

1. Strategic Reimagining

The 2025 final rule demands a comprehensive reassessment of strategies, particularly in marketing, plan design, and benefits. Staying competitive and viable means embracing these changes wholeheartedly. It's crucial to innovate in how we approach plan offerings, leveraging data analytics and consumer insights to tailor benefits that meet the evolving needs of the senior population. 

2. Excellence In Quality

CMS’ final adjustment to various stars measures has elevated the importance of quality and performance. Improving ratings is essential for attracting and retaining members, pushing plans to strive for excellence. This calls for a focus on driving outcomes proactively while improving patient experience.

3. Adapting To New Norms

Changes such as the ban on broker compensation for health risk assessment (HRA) collection and stricter third-party marketing organization (TPMO) consent requirements are reshaping how brokers and agencies operate. Innovation and compliance are now paramount. Brokers must adapt by developing new engagement strategies that prioritize transparency and ethical practices.

4. Navigating Market Shifts

The updates to contracting standards for Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) look-alikes offer the possibility of more integrated and efficient care for beneficiaries. These changes represent both challenges and opportunities for plans, which may need to make significant adaptations to their offerings. To prepare, plans should focus on strengthening quality, coordination, and engagement with provider partners. It would be wise to tighten up with transparent and targeted marketing strategies that highlight the unique value propositions of each plan.

5. A Gateway To Innovation

The emphasis on biosimilars, comprehensive medication review (CMR) program expansion, and revisions to breast cancer and colon cancer screenings opens new doors for technology-driven solutions to provide better outcomes to members. This presents an opportunity for healthcare technology companies to collaborate with MA plans in developing digital health tools, telemedicine services, and personalized medicine approaches that enhance patient care and cost-effectiveness.

6. Strategic Positioning

Understanding market dynamics and the regulatory environment is more critical than ever for carving out a niche and driving growth. Success in the Medicare Advantage market requires a deep understanding of regulatory changes, consumer trends, and the competitive landscape. The Inflation Reduction Act is poised to create a stir among Part D beneficiaries who will face program changes and potentially higher costs. It's essential to develop a strategic plan that aligns with these dynamics while focusing on long-term sustainability, effective education, and support for members year round.

The Path Forward

The conference also highlighted the importance of being proactive across all areas of the industry, from the faithful agents on the front lines to proactive care and beyond. In my eyes, the proactive approach is essential to ensuring better outcomes for folks like my own mom and dad.

Medicarians 2024 was a much-needed collaborative moment for the Medicare Advantage community and me personally. The recent release of the 2025 Medicare Advantage final rule provided talking points aplenty. It’s easy to get bogged down in the many pages of rules, but this event provided an opportunity to converse with peers to discuss the path forward. As we adapt and innovate, the potential for a more empowered, informed, and proactive Medicare population is within reach — we just need to take action.

To me, the future of senior care is bright, and it's an exciting time to be collaborating with leaders across the industry on some of the most challenging engagement needs of all types of members. We don’t have to do it alone, either. By focusing on our core competencies, we bring a renewed vision of quality over quantity — care over cost.

Want to read about how Drips is addressing these industry challenges? Read the case study: How A Fortune 25 Payer Raised Comprehensive Medication Reviews By 20%