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Preparing For a Historic AEP
James Jiang
June 25, 2024
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The industry is buzzing with one topic: Medicare Advantage facing the perfect storm heading into 2025.

To name just a few of the sweeping changes coming all at once:

This has already led to some plan exits with many more anticipated to come, and for plans that remain, analysts estimate Medicare beneficiaries will face a ~25% reduction in benefits.

Analysts and industry participants believe the sum of these changes could drive up to 90% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries – 27 million of 30 million total — to shop for new plans this AEP. Compared to a 20-30% historical shopping rate, this would be the most AEP shopping activity in Medicare’s history.

All this disruption comes in an election year, where efforts to educate and assist consumers will have to compete for attention with elevated political marketing.

Industry veterans know that regulatory policy toward Medicare Advantage comes in cycles: periods of pro-industry policy broadly aimed at accelerating MA adoption are followed by leaner periods with policy prioritizing holding MA accountable to cost and quality over driving more adoption. We are in one of those leaner periods. While painful, this part of the cycle allows the industry to clean out excesses and bad behavior, necessary for the long-term sustainability of MA. 

This time is also an opportunity for brokers to prove their value. Market disruption magnifies the importance of great brokers who can help consumers understand changes to their benefits and reevaluate their options. With more shoppers than ever, a great broker has the opportunity to grow their book much faster than would be possible in a normal AEP.

Spark was built to help independent brokers to thrive in times like these.

Our mission from day one has been to empower the best independent brokers in the industry to serve more clients and serve them better. We are the independent broker’s business partner, providing technology and services that help them play more effective defense and offense.

Retaining and engaging clients

The best independent brokers build trusted advisor relationships with hundreds or thousands of clients. While brokers are great at building and maintaining relationships, keeping track of all client data – doctors, prescriptions, plans, and more – and systematically staying in front of all clients in a personalized, data-informed way is difficult.

Spark has built the only all-in-one platform covering every client workflow – from marketing, to quote and enroll, and retention – all powered by structured data (no more free-text fields for policies, providers, prescriptions, etc). Powering every workflow from a single platform gives brokers much better data on their book of business, and better data allows us to power even more workflows for brokers.

As an example, for retention, every broker can opt into a white-labeled, year-round client retention campaign, personalized to their clients’ unique needs.  This includes emails and mailers for new plan years, a monthly email newsletter, handwritten birthday cards, and a dedicated AEP campaign where clients can update their health data and plan preferences. All these touchpoints are available in English or Spanish.

Every workflow in one place makes life easier for busy brokers, and it makes possible magical new services.

On top of our standard retention campaigns, we’re adding for 2025 additional proactive plan analysis on the book of business automatically flagging major benefits changes or plan exits for each client. This gives brokers another way to triage which of their clients needs the most AEP support on top of our AEP campaigns.

Playing offense through disruption

With so much anticipated shopping, brokers who already have a system for retention will have the opportunity to play offense and add new clients much faster than possible in more normal AEPs.

We believe in the power of grassroots marketing and provide brokers white-labled, CMS-approved marketing assets in a one-stop library directly in the Spark platform. 

For brokers working leads at a high volume, we have an API integration powered by Zapier with sales and marketing systems like GoHighLevel, making it easy for brokers to manage high-volume lead programs of any type or format and create prospects directly into the Spark platform when ready to enroll.


These changes reinforce our confidence in the special role of brokers in the industry. We’re also excited these changes will also give the industry a much-needed push into the future: where great brokers can access modern technology and services to do even more for their clients.

If you’re an existing Spark partner interested in any of these services, please reach out to your Account Manager. If you’re looking to partner with us, we’d love to meet you. Book a demo here.

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