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The Top Marketing Stats You Need For AEP 2025

Drips' Katie Viehbeck breaks down three key sales and marketing data points from the 2024 AEP Drips Performance Report.

As a wearer of many hats, I’m always interested in understanding the different angles of consumer behavior that can be impacted by small changes in how and when we communicate with consumers. I have a particular interest in engagement with patients and members in the healthcare space. This is why I was thrilled when, three years ago, Drips entered the healthcare market via broker partners, which eventually led to taking on health plan clients directly. This allowed us to understand different member needs beyond just enrollment and bring those learnings back into early first impressions in customer acquisition.

In the early part of 2024, I partnered with our product marketing, UX, CX, and analytics teams to bring together the insights we gathered from our 2024 AEP campaigns. This work culminated in the publishing of the 2024 AEP Drips Performance Report last month. I believe there is an opportunity to take these learnings and apply the insights to your outreach strategies for the upcoming AEP year.

Keep reading for a deeper dive into the three key data points we found most intriguing from our over 2.3 million beneficiary conversations.

DQs Down In 2024

Let’s jump in with the metric most folks are scared to talk about: disqualification (DQ) rates, or handling users who have indicated they may not be interested. Many organizations hear this phrase and think, “we need to lower how many people are opting out.” However, we see this as an excellent metric to understand who is really interested — high intent shoppers versus low-intent shoppers. (One of our clients calls these low intent shoppers “tire kickers.”)

During the 2024 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), Drips clients achieved a 14.4% lower DQ rate versus 2023 stats. Hats off to our UX team’s approach in creating a healthy and balanced DQ experience.

The disqualification rate for Drips AEP campaigns dropped 14.4% between AEP 2023 and AEP 2024.

It’s normal for outbound dialing tactics to lead to a higher rate of opt–outs. It’s helpful to maintain a healthy opt-out rate for acquisition campaigns, especially when you have the ability to manage opt-outs on a campaign basis. With Drips, this is simple to manage. We leverage our Disqualified by Drip rules to deliver a more conversational closeout that encourages partial opt-outs instead of global ones.

Beyond opt-outs, Drips’ Conversations as a Service helped streamline connecting with shoppers in other ways. Drips understands intent from the member’s reply so that agents don’t get involved until the member is ready to talk. Instead of spending time dialing folks that aren’t really interested, agents end up having conversations with members who want to talk. More importantly, members get to talk on their time, not a call out of the blue.

Given the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) reinstatement of the 48-hour Scope of Appointment (SOA), speed to lead was forced to take a back seat. Broker operations were the most impacted by this new rule because this regulation was new to them in 2023.

This rule change, in which agents must wait 48 hours between the signing of the SOA and the appointment, provides a bit of a pause and some breathing room for the consumer to further prepare to have any serious coverage discussions with an agent. Drips’ use of SMS empowers consumers to stay engaged and interact on their own schedule throughout this process.

Engagement Up In 2024

We also tracked engagement rate, which is any response other than an opt-out. Compared to 2023, the 2024 AEP showcased a 22.8% increase in engagement. This is a solid sign that consumers are becoming more comfortable engaging with conversational outbound approaches.

While engagement is all well and good, let’s take it a step further, shall we?

When do you think beneficiaries are ready to talk?

Well, there are actually a few different ways we can look at the data. In 2024, performance across health plans and brokers showed the most transfers of interested consumers to an agent happened on Tuesdays. In fact, 33% of transfers were on Tuesdays. In 2023, Mondays were the highest days for transfers at 23%.

Charts showing how AEP shoppers' preference for scheduled calls shifted year over ear. Last AEP, Monday was the most popular day with 23% of calls scheduled. For the recent AEP, Tuesday was the highest with 33%.

Pro tip: Consider adjusting outreach and staffing needs according to your busiest days and eliminate unproductive hours around the others.

While this is a slight change, it tells me that the beginning of the week is more successful in transferring interested shoppers. We also recognized that weekends are still the least effective time to reach out based on the data, likely because folks are busier on the weekends even if they are retired.

Now that we know the best days of the week, let’s take a look at time of day. Not surprisingly, the late morning to early afternoon was the best time for a scheduled call. And remember, these aren’t outbound connects — these are members’ selected times that work for them. We found that 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays worked best for members. There was a higher number of scheduled appointments generated for inbound appointments during these times. In fact, 37.92% of all inbounds took place between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

Outbound calls re-dialed at a scheduled time chosen by the member were also the most successful on Monday and Tuesday. On those days, over 50% of outbound calls were successful between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., as expected.

How did engagement evolve over each day of the campaign? Day zero, the day the campaign starts, and day one, the next day, saw the best engagement rates with 9.06% on day one and 5.64% on day zero. You might expect speed to lead on day zero would be the most fruitful. But as the engagement rates show, providing a bit of space has proven to increase performance. Perhaps it is helpful to allow the member time to prepare for the conversation.

Conversions Up In Late Period Of AEP

Though conversion rate is clearly the most important metric for a sales and marketing campaign, it’s also the most variable. It depends on the client, their plan designs, and a whole slew of other levers that, candidly, Drips has no control over. The ultimate decision lies with the beneficiary and depends largely on a quality interaction with the agent they are connected with. That said, our clients saw a 192% increase in conversion rates compared to 2023.

192% Conversion Rate Increase: The connected shoppers who successfully enrolled in coverage nearly tripled compared to 2023 programs.

When looking at the way we segmented AEP into three different periods — early, mid, and late — we can dig into specific time periods in which volume and quality impacted conversions the most.

The early and late periods saw the least amount of volume compared to the middle period. In the middle period, the influx of volume and requests could have hindered the plans’ ability to provide an excellent experience. Again, this makes the case for identifying intent and making the enrollment experience less cumbersome for members.

On the other hand, conversions were up in the late period. Since lead quality improved, we were happy to see conversions increase, too. This further makes the case for direct, first-party leads.

Take this note back to your team: The late period — which we identified as the end of November and early December time frame — saw less volume, but a 302% increase in conversion rate. It’s possible that our end of AEP scripting mixed with less taxed agents made it a bit easier to convert members compared to the busy middle period.

How Can You Use This Info?

As always, these are trends from our specific clients, and every organization is incredibly different in their operations and capabilities. Strategy is a must. It’s important to understand that your outreach should and will look different than outreach from other organizations. Your members are unique and so are their challenges. Prepare for the upcoming enrollment period by finding new ways to nurture your members and make traditionally bothersome processes, like enrollment, simpler.

Our team is ready to help today — Request an AEP briefing