Medicare plan issuers and distributors might have succeeded to drawing older consumers’ attention away from the elections and COVID-19.
The Google Trends tool shows that search activity for the term “Medicare Advantage” was about 13% higher during the Medicare annual election period that ended Monday than it was during the comparable period in 2019.
Search activity for “Medicare Part D” and “Medicare supplement” has been about the same.
- A Google Trends comparison of search activity for the terms “Medicare Advantage and “Medicare supplement” are available here.
- An article about Walmart jumping into the Medicare plan agency business is available here.
The annual election period for Medicare Advantage plan coverage and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 every year. The annual election period that just ended was for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2021.
Medicare supplement insurance products, or Medigap products, have an open enrollment period system tied to people’s birthdays, rather than a single enrollment period for all consumers.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people ages 65 and older; people with kidney disease serious enough to lead to dialysis or a transplant; and people with Social Security Disability Insurance.
About 25 million of the 63 million people with Medicare coverage have signed up for Medicare Advantage plans, or plans that give private insurers a chance to offer an alternative to traditional Medicare.
About 38 million Medicare enrollees use traditional Medicare coverage, which Medicare program managers call “Original Medicare,” and 14 million of those Original Medicare users buy Medicare supplement insurance, to pay Original Medicare deductibles and to fill in other holes in Original Medicare benefits.
Google Trends Barometer
Google uses its own search traffic to power its Google Trends search activity analysis tool.
One problem with this method as a market strength barometer this year is the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Medicare enrollees are trying to stay home as much as possible, and many are still avoiding face-to-face meetings with financial professionals.
But search activity for other terms older consumers might use, such as “AARP,” “home care” and “grocery delivery,” have been about the same during the 2019 annual election period and the annual election period that just ended.