Insurers that offer web-based decision-support tools may be best positioned to win tech-savvy Medicare Advantage enrollees, according to the software solutions provider Connecture, Inc.

Age-ins are more digitally savvy than in years past. During the most recent Medicare Annual Election Period, total enrollments through its web-based consumer shopping platform went up 16% from last year’s AEP, according to Connecture. Moreover, there is a “surge” in consumer shopping traffic and consumer conversion rates, up 32% and 30% year-over-year, respectively.

The number of people using smartphones to start shopping for Medicare plans is also increasing (18.2% in 2018 versus 15.6% in 2017).

Connecture recommends that insurers tailor the web-based shopping experience to different types of online shoppers. It also notes that drug costs are a key factor in choosing plans.

Consumers are four times more likely to select a “best fit” plan if they spend time to research their out-of-pocket drug costs using available tools, according to Connecture. Personalization can help age-ins get over the “trust gap” between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.

To convert age-ins, insurers need to focus on the consumers they already have, observed Deft Senior Vice President George Dippel. But the problem is that many age-ins are not aware of their current carriers’ MA offerings and the marketing efforts around the two programs are not well-coordinated by insurers.

A separate survey of health insurance brokers by Credit Suisse noted that provider networks, premiums and benefit design (including copayments and deductibles) are the three most important factors in MA plan selection.