2019 Vs. 2020: Latest OEP Insurance Trends Give Health Insurance Advertisers An Inside Look At Today’s Consumers

April 9, 2021 Carolyn Harding

The open enrollment period (OEP) represents peak season for health insurance advertisers. With a limited window of six weeks to reach consumers with the right information, insurance brands and advertisers must deploy targeted digital strategies in advance of OEP. To better understand the OEP audience and the latest trends emerging during the 2019 and 2020 periods, Digital Media Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: DMS) is providing digital advertisers with newly analyzed health insurance data. Through its new Open Enrollment Period Health Insurance Shopping Trends infographic, DMS is spotlighting the latest OEP insurance trends, which can help health insurance advertisers to more effectively target audiences and scale their customer bases.

Pre-Existing Conditions & Pregnancy Become Increasingly Influential Factors In 2020 OEP

The Open Enrollment Period Health Insurance Shopping Trends infographic spotlighted data surrounding insurance seekers with pre-existing conditions, revealing the share of OEP insurance seekers with pre-existing conditions spiked from just 3% in 2019 to more than doubling to 7.3% in 2020. In January 2019, the requirement for all Americans to obtain health insurance was discontinued. This shift likely played a role in the increase of the share of insurance seekers with pre-existing conditions from 2019 to 2020. Removing the mandate to obtain health insurance may also have impacted the insurance options for “healthy” consumers who may have not been able to afford opting out previously.

DMS data also revealed that the share of female insurance seekers who were pregnant increased by 35% year-over-year, from 0.95% in 2019 to 1.28% during 2020 OEP. The rise in this consumer segment seeking insurance during 2020 OEP was likely a result of increased employment insecurity due to COVID-19. The potential for loss of health insurance as a result of numerous industry shutdowns, reduction of hours or a change in employment status was likely a significant concern for many expecting mothers, causing many pregnant women to become more interested in securing health insurance options separate from or supplemental to employer-based insurance offerings.


Older Adults Capitalized On OEP In 2020 As Health Concerns Rose

The older adult population is rising at a rapid rate (growing by 10,000 each day), and their influence throughout the health insurance industry is becoming clear. During the 2020 OEP, the share of adults aged 55+ made up 40% of insurance seekers, compared to 29% in 2019. Adults aged 65+ specifically had the largest jump, rising from a share of just 3% of insurance seekers in 2019 OEP to 9% in 2020. The spike in older adults capitalizing on OEP in 2020 is likely due to the risks associated with COVID-19, as adults age 65+ remain one of the most vulnerable and at-risk age groups for suffering from COVID-19-related complications. The increased risk has resulted in many older adults taking precautionary measures, like seeking out health insurance, in order to make sure they are covered and protected when health is top of mind for many consumers across the globe.

Many older adults also became more comfortable with online searching during quarantine, leading many adults aged 55+ to seek out insurance options and additional information entirely online. With this shift, older adults became increasingly comfortable with the growing digital insurance process.  


Middle-Income Consumers Remain A Key Demographic For Health Insurance Advertisers & Providers

Financial uncertainty played a large role in 2020, making the latest trends surrounding income brackets a key factor that health insurance advertisers should be aware of. Between 2019 OEP and 2020 OEP, the largest increases were seen in the $60,000-$74,999 and $75,000-$99,999 income brackets. Combining these two brackets, the share of insurance seekers with incomes between $60,000 and $99,999 increased by 28.8% year-over-year, from a share of 17.7% in 2019 OEP to 22.8% in 2020 OEP.

Middle-income brackets are unlikely to qualify for need-based, low-cost healthcare programs and would likely feel significant impact from a dramatic change in healthcare costs as a result of their employers' healthcare insurance options changing. Consumers in the middle-income bracket are a key demographic for health insurance advertisers to target, as they are increasingly seeking healthcare and related insurance options that offer flexibility and optionality with price and program. 


View The Full Open Enrollment Period Health Insurance Shopping Trends Infographic To See More On The Evolving Trends Throughout The Health Insurance Industry

Click here to view the full infographic.

Are You Looking To Scale Health Insurance Inquiry Volume in 2021?

You need DMS InsuranceTM on your team. DMS Insurance represents a comprehensive suite of products that deliver high-intent consumers to our nation’s largest insurers. Supporting the digital performance advertising needs of health, home, auto and home insurance providers, DMS helps the insurance industry scale customer acquisition efforts and write more policies while providing unprecedented process and performance transparency. Our proprietary insurtech provides granular insight into the insurance consumer, resulting in optimized performance with granular filters for precise media buying control. 

Click here to learn more about DMS Insurance.

About the Author

Carolyn Harding

Carolyn Harding is an Associate Manager of Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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