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eHealth (EHTH) Q3 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

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eHealth (NASDAQ: EHTH)
Q3 2020 Earnings Call
Oct 22, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Q3 2020 eHealth, Inc. earnings conference call. [Operator instructions] Please be advised that today's conference call is being recorded. I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Ms.

Kate Sidorovich, your vice president of investor relations. Thank you. Please go ahead, ma'am.

Kate Sidorovich -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Thank you. Good afternoon, and thank you all for joining us today either by phone or by webcast for a discussion about eHealth, Inc.'s third-quarter 2020 financial results. On the call this afternoon, we'll have Scott Flanders, eHealth's chief executive officer; and Derek Yung, chief financial officer. After management completes its remarks, we'll open the lines for questions.

As a reminder, today's conference call is being recorded and webcast from the IR section of our website, and a replay of the call will be available on our website following the call. We will be making forward-looking statements on this call that include statements regarding future events, beliefs and expectations, including statements relating to our expectations regarding our Medicare business, including Medicare enrollment growth, consumer demand, our competitive advantage, our expectations regarding online enrollments and our retention and recapture rates; our investments in telesales capacity, internal agent count, agent productivity tools and incentives, customer engagement and retention initiatives and enhancements to our technology platform, as well as the expected positive financial and operational impact of our investments; our expectations regarding the Medicare market opportunity, our direct-to-consumer broker channel, our online marketing and strategic partnership channels, the profitability of our business, seasonality, churn, lifetime values, plan persistency, member estimates, total acquisition cost per member and operating expenses; and finally, our outlook for this annual enrollment period and our 2020 financial guidance. Forward-looking statements on this call represent eHealth's views as of today. You should not rely on these statements as representing our views in the future.

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We undertake no obligation or duty to update information contained in these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in our forward-looking statements. We describe these and other risks and uncertainties in our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which you may access through the SEC website or from the IR section of our website. We will be presenting certain financial measures on this call that are considered non-GAAP under SEC Regulation G.

For reconciliation of each non-GAAP financial measure to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, please refer to the information included in our press release and in our SEC filings, which can be found in the About Us section of our corporate website under the heading Investor Relations. And at this point, I will turn the call over to Scott Flanders.

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Kate, and welcome, everyone. This has been a busy and successful quarter preparing for the most important Medicare-selling season of the year and deploying our retention enhancement initiatives across the entire organization. We achieved substantial progress in both areas, which are closely interrelated given that our focus this annual enrollment period is on driving growth by targeting high-LTV, high-margin enrollments. Our customer engagement and retention initiatives are expected to have long-lasting, positive financial impact.

But most importantly, they are aimed at further enhancing customer experience as they shop for, enroll, and start utilizing their Medicare plans. I will update you on the key initiatives and achievements that were made during the quarter in just a moment, but first, let me provide a summary of our third-quarter financial results. Total revenue for the third quarter was $94.3 million, a 35% year-over-year increase. Our adjusted EBITDA was negative $13.3 million, and our GAAP net loss was $14.5 million.

These results were in line with our expectations for the quarter and reflect an investment made in our Medicare telesales capacity with an emphasis on expanding our in-house agent force, as well as marketing investments ahead of the AEP. The number of third-quarter Medicare-approved members grew 17% compared to a year ago. This includes 28% year-over-year growth in approved Medicare Advantage members. MA enrollment growth was dominated by our online marketing and strategic partner channels, which grew well above the overall enrollment growth for the quarter, reflecting our emphasis on these high ROI channels with higher propensity to bring in consumers who are comfortable transacting online.

Our third-quarter Medicare major medical online enrollments including fully unassisted and partially assisted online enrollments grew 107% on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter. 36% of our applications for these products were submitted by our customers online. This was above our expectations and a meaningful increase compared to 21% in Q3 a year ago. Building on the momentum achieved in the third quarter and following a technology release conducted ahead of the AEP, which I'll cover in more detail in a moment, we currently expect 45% to 50% of our fourth-quarter Medicare major medical applications to be submitted online.

This is compared to 36% in Q4 of 2019. Our fulfillment mix has significant implications for the average policy persistency given that online enrollments tend to retain the product longer, with first-year retention rates higher by approximately 25% to 30% than members who enrolled telephonically. In addition to fulfilling more demand online, we've made significant changes to our telesales organization. We have broadened its mandate to focus on not only enrollment but extending it to proactive post-enrollment engagement as customers start utilizing their Medicare policies.

This strategy is deployed broadly through our training program, agent compensation structure, lead ranking and allocation, and our product and technology initiatives. As we announced last month, we have successfully completed staffing of our telesales organization ahead of the AEP and achieved a meaningful shift toward in-house sales capacity. This AEP, we will have 120% more internal agents compared to a year ago. In-house eHealth agents now represent roughly 45% of our total sales force compared to just 30% last AEP.

Our internal agents have, on average, superior productivity rates and generate enrollment with higher average persistency compared to outsourced call center agents. As a result, we expect that this shift will have positive implications for our overall conversions and per member acquisition costs compared to a year ago, as well as for how well we retain members post-enrollment. The compensation structure of our in-house agents was also adjusted to link a significant portion of it to persistency of their enrollments. This aligns compensation strategy with our goals and gives agents who are producing positive retention outcomes and opportunity to increase their overall compensation.

Porting our sales agents, this AEP will be a team of over 200 customer care employees. This team will include enrollment specialists and a dedicated retention team comprised of agents who will handle inbound inquiries from our existing members and outbound agents who will target policies ranked at higher risk per churn based on our data analytics, as well as any planned structure changes we identify in the market. We deployed our first cohort of dedicated retention agents last month and have since observed encouraging early results of their efforts. We expanded this team above our initial expectations ahead of the AEP.

Last month, we conducted a major technology release across the key areas of our customer engagement platform, further widening the competitive moat between eHealth and the more traditional in-person and telephonic-only brokers. This latest technology release takes customer experience to the next level through personalized data-driven plan recommendations and a unified experience that allows seniors to move seamlessly between our online platform and agent interaction, whether telephonically or through text and emails. Underlying this 360-consumer experience is a customer center technology which we released last month and is unmatched in our industry. Using our customer center tool, consumers can create a secure personal profile containing their position, preferred pharmacy, drug, and other key medical and personal data that is accessible both through our online platform and by agents when they are interacting with the customer.

This tool, which has already been adopted by thousands of our customers since last month's launch, not only provides for a better enrollment process but also facilitates future interaction and post-transaction engagement, including plan analysis should customer needs, or plan structure change. We believe this capability will have a significant positive impact on our online enrollment volumes, customer retention, and importantly, member recapture rates. Within our telephony systems, we changed the process for lead ranking and allocation to align it closer with our strategic and financial goals, including increased emphasis on retention. In the past, leads were ranked based on their estimated conversion rates, with highest converting leads allocated to our best agents.

For this AEP, we are taking a more holistic view of demand generation, assigning lead scores based on estimated LTVs in addition to conversion rates. On the demand side of the equation, our market opportunity is continuing to expand, with CMS projecting another year of strong 10% Medicare Advantage enrollment growth. This AEP, seniors have an even broader selection of high-quality, affordable plan with many major carriers expanding their geographic coverage. This will also be an AEP different from any other prior year given COVID and its impact on consumer behavior.

Many seniors are likely to feel more comfortable with telephonic or an online interaction instead of a face-to-face broker visit, and this can prove to be another meaningful tailwind for the direct-to-consumer broker channel. Finally, the shift to online is here, and it's real. We are seeing it in our enrollment numbers and in overall patterns of consumer behavior on our platform. This dynamic is expected to have a strong, positive impact on our competitive positioning, consumer value proposition, and our member economics, and we feel confident in our ability to leverage these powerful industry trends by driving demand on our platform at attractive acquisition cost.

Our approach to marketing is opportunistic. We are proactively shifting investments across channels to maximize return on our marketing dollars and meet our internal targets for LTV to total acquisition cost per member ratio. We believe that momentum in our online marketing and strategic partnership channels seen in Q3 will continue into AEP and will result in these channels growing above our total fourth-quarter Medicare enrollment growth. As I mentioned earlier, these channels are more likely to bring in consumers who are comfortable transacting online compared to more traditional marketing initiatives such as direct TV and mail.

In addition, members originating in our strategic partner channel tend to have higher-than-average retention rates regardless of whether they were enrolled telephonically or online. Our partners are increasingly recognizing our value proposition. They appreciate that we offer access to the largest plan selection among the DTC brokers and the ability to provide a seamless experience for their customers by safely and securely pre-populating the customers' doctors, preferred pharmacy, and drug data through our proprietary personal code technology for either an end-to-end online or telephonic enrollment on the eHealth platform. More partners are digitally integrating with us for this AEP, which is expected to be another meaningful driver of online enrollments.

For Q4, we expect the partner channel will grow in excess of 80%, driven by new relationships, as well as expanding relationships with existing partners, including large national retailers such as Walgreens and Costco. In addition to partnering with major national chains, we are going deeper into the pharmacy and provider channel. We have now extended our platform to serve thousands of independent and community pharmacies and providers nationwide. Before I turn the call over to Derek, I'd like to address churn dynamics on our platform.

Churn levels for Medicare Advantage plans have stabilized in the third quarter, with the trailing 12-month churn flat sequentially at 42%. Importantly, the absolute levels of churn have declined significantly compared to first and second quarters. In the third quarter, an estimated 30,000 Medicare Advantage members churned compared to 87,000 and 54,000 in Q1 and Q2, respectively. You should expect to see the initial impact of the comprehensive retention program that we put in place reflected in this metric in the first quarter of 2021.

As these initiatives mature and impact an increasing number of customers on the eHealth platform, we expect to see a continuing improvement in our member retention and recapture rates. In conclusion, I'm pleased with our accomplishments this quarter. We entered the annual enrollment period from a position of strength and are expecting to generate significant Medicare enrollment while reducing our per-member acquisition costs, a powerful combination. We are also focused on enrollment quality and expect that members that we enroll this AEP will, on average, stay on their policies longer and generate higher lifetime commissions compared to the AEP a year ago as a direct result of the retention and customer engagement initiatives that we put in place.

As always, our customers are at the center of everything we do at eHealth, and we are acutely focused on enhancing and simplifying their experience by meeting them where they want to be, whether online through interaction with our licensed agent or customer care specialists or through a hybrid agent-assisted online enrollment. I believe the work we've done so far this year has positioned us uniquely well in this large and growing market to capitalize on the opportunity at hand. I will now turn the call over to Derek Yung, who will go over our financial results in greater detail.

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Scott, and good afternoon, everyone. Our third-quarter results reflect strong momentum in our Medicare online enrollments, significant growth in carrier advertising revenue, and investment in our telesales capacity and technology initiatives ahead of the Medicare annual enrollment period. In our Medicare business, third-quarter revenue of $70.4 million grew 23% compared to a year ago, driven by a 17% growth in approved Medicare members and a 103% growth in carrier advertising revenue, reflecting carrier recognition of eHealth's value proposition and significant enrollment growth potential in online marketing and telesales channels this annual enrollment period. Our Medicare segment loss was $16 million, reflecting investments as we prepare for what is expected to be another record fourth-quarter selling season in terms of revenue, enrollment volume, and profitability.

Year to date, our Medicare segment profit was $19.4 million, compared to $5.9 million for the same period last year or an increase of over 200%. Our estimated number of paying Medicare members was approximately 734,000 at the end of the third quarter, up from approximately 551,000 at the end of the third quarter of 2019 or an increase of 33%, well above the growth rates of Medicare Advantage market and the overall Medicare markets. Third-quarter 2020 revenue from our individual, family, and small business segment was $23.9 million, an 88% increase compared to a year ago. This was primarily driven by a 37% increase in approved IFP members for major medical plan products, accompanied by a continued trend of longer duration for these products and an 18 point million in residual or tail revenue that we booked in this segment during the quarter.

This compares to $7.7 million in segment tail revenue in Q3 a year ago. The Individual, Family and Small Business segment profit was $18.3 million, compared to a profit of $3.8 million in the third quarter of 2019, driven largely by a positive impact of tail revenue generated by our IFP and ancillary products during the quarter. Our estimated individual and family plan membership at the end of the third quarter was approximately 112,800, down 14% compared to estimated membership reported at the end of the third quarter a year ago. Our total revenue for the third quarter was $94.3 million, an increase of 35% compared to the third quarter of 2019.

Our total estimated membership at the end of the quarter for all products combined was approximately 1.14 million members, including approximately 245,000 estimated members on ancillary products. Now, before I move on to discuss operating expenses, I want to provide more detail on the dynamics that we're seeing with member retention and estimated lifetime values or LTVs in our Medicare business. Please note that we report churn as any planned switching by a paying member even if the change is made on our platform and eHealth remains the broker of record. This also includes planned changes within the same carrier.

As a reminder, given that we observed churn on a lag, our quarter-end membership figures measure the estimated number of effective policies paid by members based primarily on cash collections and historical retention data. As Scott mentioned in his prepared remarks, our estimated third-quarter paying-member churn in our Medicare Advantage business declined substantially compared to the first and second quarters. This was primarily driven by seasonal factors and was within our expected range. The trailing 12-month churn of 42% continues to be dominated by the churn from Q1 2020, which will no longer be a factor into the trailing 12 months average as of Q1 next year.

In our Medicare Advantage business, similar to carriers and other brokers, we experienced highest churn in the first year following policy enrollment. In the second year, average churn rates have dropped and have continued decline as policies mature. Within the first year, churn has been quite front-end-loaded. Over 70% of our first-year churn in Medicare Advantage plans has occurred in the first 90 days of policy life.

Our largest enrollment volume quarter is Q4 with members that we enrolled during that period entering the first 90 days of policy life in Q1 of the following year. As a result, the first quarter is the most meaningful period in terms of persistency data. We believe that this AEP, our new enrollments will benefit greatly from the comprehensive retention program that Scott described earlier in the call, and we expect that the initial impact of that to be evident in our Q1 2021 estimated retention metrics. In terms of estimated lifetime values for 2020, we continue to guide to a roughly 6% decline in Medicare Advantage LTVs for the full year and a 10% decline for the fourth quarter compared to the same periods a year ago.

For next year, we currently maintain a conservative target of getting back to 2019 Medicare Advantage LTV levels. Our Medicare commission cash collections for the trailing 12-month period ended September 30 were $240 million or approximately $420 per Medicare Advantage equivalent member. This represents a 47% increase in the total Medicare commission cash collections and a 12% increase in per Medicare Advantage equivalent member collections compared to the trailing 12-month period ended Q3 of 2019. As part of our earnings slides posted on our Investor Relations site, we have provided some further information on our cash collection cycle in the Medicare business.

This analysis compares to upfront acquisition costs spent to acquire each of our annual Medicare Advantage cohorts against cash cohorts generated by these members to date. You will see that our 2018 Medicare Advantage cohorts are already generating positive cash flow in excess of our initial acquisition costs, while the 2019 cohorts are nearing breakeven on that basis. In general, our commission cash collections in Medicare continue to be favorable when compared to initial estimates used for LTV at the time we recognize revenue. Now, I would like to review our operating expenses and profitability metrics.

Q3 has always been a big investment quarter for Medicare as we expand our telesales capacity and deploy technology upgrades in preparation for the annual enrollment period. This AEP, we made a shift in our agent mix toward more full-time, in-house agents. Following a successful hiring season, we increased the number of internal agents 120% compared to last year's AEP. At the same time, our total agent number, including outsourced call center agents, increased approximately 40%, which is well below the expected growth in fourth-quarter Medicare enrollments.

This is due to a higher expected percentage of Medicare major medical online enrollments, which include unassisted and partially agent-assisted enrollments compared to 2019, as well as better agent productivity as a result of an enhanced lead ranking and allocation system and new call center technology deployed ahead of the AEP, including an important tool that increases the speed and accuracy of capturing drug and provider data. Our third-quarter cost per approved Medicare member declined 2% compared a year ago, driven by a 7% decline in the customer care enrollment costs, offset by an 11% increase in marketing cost per member. Agent cost per approval were favorable compared to last year due to higher percentage of online enrollments. Some of this was due to timing of our agent and borrowing expense, which will occur later in the year compared to 2019.

The increase in our marketing cost per approved Medicare member was driven primarily by a larger portion of applications originating from our online marketing channels, which tend to have a higher average marketing cost but also higher propensity to convert online with no or reduced agent involvement. Given a favorable trend in acquisition costs per Medicare member in Q3 and the fact that we anticipate we will be able to drive more enrollments per agent this AEP compared to a year ago, we expect that our fiscal-year 2020 acquisition cost per member, including agent and marketing cost, will decline approximately 10%. The decline would more than offset the forecasted reduction in our 2020 Medicare Advantage LTVs and will allow us to achieve a higher LTV to total acquisition cost per member ratio, as well as an increase in our overall EBITDA margin in our Medicare business compared to 2019. Turning to profitability metrics.

GAAP net loss for the third quarter of 2020 was $14.5 million, compared to GAAP net loss of $11 million for the third quarter of 2019. Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2020 was negative $13.3 million, compared to negative $18.8 million for the third quarter of 2019. Calculate adjusted EBITDA by adding stock-based compensation expense, change in fair value of earnout liability, depreciation and amortization, amortization of intangible assets, other income, and benefit from income taxes to our GAAP net loss. Our third-quarter cash flow from operations was $1.4 million, compared to a negative $15.9 million for the third quarter of 2019.

Cash flow from operations benefited from significant in-quarter carrier advertising revenue. As of September 30, we had $197.8 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, and we had no debt outstanding under our line of credit. Our balance sheet also reflects a significant commissions receivable balance of $604 million. Based on information available as of October 22, eHealth is reaffirming its guidance for the full year ending December 31, 2020.

Our guidance ranges are included in our third-quarter earnings release for your reference. I want to remind you that these comments in our guidance are based on current indications for our business on our current estimates, assumptions, and judgment, which may change at any time. Our actual results may differ as a result of changes in our estimates, assumptions, and judgment. We undertake no obligation to update our comments or our guidance.

And now, we will open the call for questions. Operator?

Questions & Answers:


Operator

[Operator instructions] Your first question comes from the line of Jailendra Singh from Credit Suisse. Your line is now open.

Jailendra Singh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Thanks. A quick clarification on your comments around member turnover point. So I know it's declining from 54,000 in the second quarter to 30,000 in the third quarter. But didn't your second quarter include like some 20,000-member turnover catch-up from the first quarter, so on an apples-to-apples basis, not that big decline? Can you flesh out a little bit more, or did we understand that wrong?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Hey, Jailendra, this is Derek. So you do remember correctly that in Q3 that we did have a catch-up on what was reported coming out of Q2, where there should have been a shift in the turnover members that it was reported in Q3 into Q2. So you're correct in remembering that.

From a seasonal basis, that is still a significant decline if you look at the absolute numbers even on an adjusted basis coming from Q2 to Q3 due to obviously what we typically see as the seasonal enrollment with AEP.

Jailendra Singh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

OK. I just want to also understand your trends in any approved members in third quarter. I understand second quarter had some SEP benefit but still a sequential decline from around 60,000 approved members in the second quarter to 45,000 in third quarter. Can you provide a little bit more color there? Would you say approved members in MA in third quarter kind of track to your expectation? Would you say there was some variance? Just any color there.

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Our enrollment volumes through Q3 was in line with our expectations as was the overall top-line expectations. So as you know, Q3 is a seasonally low quarter for our business. And from an investment perspective, our goal is to prepare for the annual enrollment period both for sales, marketing, and also for technology investments.

As you heard on the call, we feel very good about all those plans and everything that we've seen relative to how we have been executing. So we expect to deliver on our plan for the full year as we have provided in our guidance in Q2.

Jailendra Singh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Can you provide any -- given the trends in Q3, can you share like what kind of year-over-year growth are you expecting or are you reflecting your guidance for Medicare Advantage-approved member for fourth quarter?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, yeah. So implied in our guidance based on year-to-date results, our Medicare revenue in Q4 growth will be close to 50%. I think it's around 47%. The enrollment growth will be higher than that because our Medicare Advantage LTV is expected to be declining year over year by 10%.

So if you're kind of back to that number, the enrollment growth in Q4 will be close to 60% year over year for Medicare Advantage.

Jailendra Singh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

OK. And then last one. I was wondering if you guys can comment on the recent developments in the competitive landscape with Walmart trying to enter the market. Just curious on your thoughts there, and I'm assuming you guys use Walmart as one of your channel partner, and if this has any implication on that relationship.

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Well, we don't know what Walmart's long-term strategy is, but they've been a partner of ours in years past and continue to be this year. We're expecting enhanced spillover calls from Walmart this year over last year of a fairly significant amount. So we see them as a partner, not a competitor.

Jailendra Singh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Thanks.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of George Sutton from Craig-Hallum. Your line is now open.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Thank you. I wonder if you could go into a little more detail on what you referred to as encouraging results from the first month of your retention initiatives given that, obviously, the trailing 12-month indicator is not really representative of any of that impact.

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Is Tim on the line?

Tim Hannan -- Chief Revenue Officer

Yeah, I can take that one. So obviously, in the last call, we talked about the full review we were doing and initiatives that we were putting in place. And one of the largest, most impactful was our retention team. And that team started up in early September with the first wave of agents that we took from our existing sales floor, as well as new recruits.

And right out of the gate, we could see very encouraging signs on the impact they were having on our consumers. Most notably, when consumers were calling to cancel, 90% of the time, we were able to keep them as eHealth customers and the overwhelming majority in their current plan. So there was a gap in how we were serving our customers that was very apparent very quickly. So that is one of the main reasons why we expanded our retention team in the run-up to AEP to add in agents to do outbound calling to our high-risk customers and to be able to handle a larger inflow with licensed agents for our existing customers.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

OK. Just so I heard correctly, you would call folks, and 90% of the folks that you were talking to that were going to churn, you were able to keep in -- did I hear that correctly?

Tim Hannan -- Chief Revenue Officer

Yes. Sorry. These are inbound calls, so customers will call with a concern of some kind and previously would be routed to a sales agent who was attempting to sell them something new when that probably wasn't appropriate. And so when somebody would call in and expressed that they wanted to cancel or make a change, 90% of those calls resulted in them remaining an eHealth customer.

And prior to the establishment of this team, we would not have had any ability to save them the way we do now.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

You were getting 10%, I believe, the math was before. So that's an encouraging change.

Tim Hannan -- Chief Revenue Officer

Right.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

One more question. So you mentioned that you're going to have less focus on "high conversion customer" volume and more focus on higher LTV opportunities, meaning it looks like folks that would churn at a slower pace. Can you just give us a picture of what those different kinds of customers look like and how predictable that is?

Tim Hannan -- Chief Revenue Officer

Yeah. I'll take that one again, Scott. So we have been able to leverage our data and analytics to better understand what drives persistency. And at a high level, we talk about channel being a big driver of that, but the main reason for that is the kinds of customers that we attract through different channels.

And we have been able to change the targeting within all of our channels. Some are just more likely to produce the right kinds of customers than others. And I won't go into all the details about what makes somebody a good customer because it's competitively sensitive, but we used to look for high conversion rates exclusively. And we can now see there were unprofitable pockets of customers, customer types that we should avoid and certainly not prioritize the way we had been previously.

So conversion is still important as a significant driver of LTV. But the long-term expected value of the customer is now what we rank calls on and evaluate our agents on their ability to drive.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Perfect. Thank you.

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

George, just one more thing to add to that. You know, the other two leading indicators in terms of what we expect to improvement in persistency and LTVs are based on fulfillment mix that we commented on in terms of mix of online, which is 25% to 30% more favorable historically on LTVs, and also the use of internal agents versus vendor agents. So all that combined, in addition to what Tim is doing, has been positive relative to what we expect in terms of increased persistency.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Perfect. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Greg Peters from Raymond James. Your line is now open.

Greg Peters -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Good afternoon. Thanks for taking -- I have one question and one follow-up. The first question and I know it's hard to adjust your scripts on the fly, but the stock is down in the aftermarket, guys. And at first blush, I think if we look at some of the metrics around your declining estimated customer care and enrollment per approved member, we look at the declines in IFP and we look at the guidance that's effectively flat relative to the second quarter, it might suggest that there's a slowing growth rate of the organization.

Perhaps you could give us an update on how you see that looking forward because, as I said, the stock is down in the aftermarket.

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Let me kind of comment on your last comment there, which is a slowdown in growth. So the top line came in within our expectations both in terms of revenue and volume, and our preparations for what is really the heavy selling season, which is right now, in AEP is good. That's what you heard.

So our guidance has a revenue spread range of $40 million and EBITDA spread of $15 million. And we do expect that our results for the full year will fall in that range, which, if you back into it, is Q4 growth rate on a total-revenue basis of almost 40%; on the Medicare side, almost 50%, which we think is good growth. And at the same time, we are, as you have heard here, making good progress in our final implementation of retention initiatives, which won't show up on our reported metrics because we do need observations on how persistency has improved in order for LTVs to increase again. And as a reminder, we had forecasted LTVs for 2021 to get back to 2019 levels.

And given everything you heard on this call around what we see as the anticipated impact of initiatives, we feel very, very good about that being a likely conservative estimate in terms of what LTVs could be next year.

Greg Peters -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Got it. Well, I'd just like to ask the follow-up question, which is about commission receivable, both current and long term, because the rates of growth of that slowed in the third quarter on a sequential basis. And really, I think most of your investors view that as the pipeline of future earnings. And given that you're making the adjustments to the churn levels, do you expect the growth of those commission receivables to accelerate next year based on your current projections or if, of course, churn improves? Or do you anticipate that the growth rates of those receivable numbers will stagnate or, again, the growth rate deteriorate a little bit?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, Greg. So you're digging deep into our 606 accounting, which is great because we need more people like you who do that. The receivable growth is a bit tricky to look at, which I think is what you're pointing at because the receivable is large. So even when we are growing our revenue significantly as a percentage of the receivable, it's smaller.

So with that said, there are two drivers by which where the receivable will grow faster. One is obviously if your revenue growth is growing -- continues to grow at a healthy clip. Second one is, obviously, if our persistency improves. So given that we expect our persistency improve, I would, as a ratio of revenue growth to commission revenue -- receivable growth, I would expect the commission revenue growth to be increasing as we see the persistency improves.

Greg Peters -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you for your answers.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of George Hill from Deutsche Bank. Your line is now open.

George Hill -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Good afternoon, guys, and thanks for taking the question. I guess, Derek, just a first housekeeping question before we go into my follow-up is that did you guys actually disclose what the retention figure was for the third quarter. And I recognize it's a seasonally slower, softer quarter, but I think the number is important given the discussion from the Q2 call.

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So in our earnings slides, we updated the Medicare Advantage membership churn turnover chart, and that trailing 12-month metric is 42%.

George Hill -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Yeah, but not the turnaround rate, the retention figure.

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Oh, the retention figures. I'm sorry. I misunderstood. No, we did not talk about that.

And the way we look at that, the period by which that's most meaningful is after Q1 when we look at the retention that came out of what we saw in the annual enrollment period. So it's too early obviously to comment on that right now since we just started AEP.

George Hill -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

OK. And then maybe a quick follow-up, I guess, for you or for Scott is, I guess, given Walmart's -- we'll call it their entrance into the market, and you guys have your relationships with some of the pharmacy organizations, and a lot of the large MCOs are talking about both a slowdown in churn and an increase in their reliance on third-party brokers going into this AEP season. So I guess could you guys talk about kind of what you've done to either strengthen your partner channels either on the retailer side? And is there anything that you've done different on a year-over-year basis with your partnerships on the carrier side?

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Well, we've signed up thousands of pharmacies. And our partner channel is one of the bright spots in Q3, and we're expecting it to significantly outgrow our overall growth rate in Q4 for just the reasons that you've identified. And importantly, the enrollments from those channels have a propensity to roll online at a higher rate. And whether they enroll online or telephonically, they have higher persistency than the traditional DTC channels of direct mail and direct-response TV.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Elizabeth Anderson from Evercore. Your line is now open.

Elizabeth Anderson -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Hi guys. Thanks for taking my question. I was wondering if you might be able to comment more broadly on your partnership strategy. I mean, I think you made some specific comment about Walmart, but I feel like that is a sort of underappreciated part of your story.

So I just didn't know in terms of where you're seeing with specific partnerships in terms of like the specific drivers of the applications or how you think about those regarding your LTVs.

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So I think you should think about the partner channel in two broad buckets. One is the provider channel. So these will be hospital systems that are partnering with eHealth to be their official and sole Medicare Advantage enrollment partner.

And that has been a rapidly growing area for us. We expect it to double this year in aggregate. And then the other would be the pharmacy channel where we assist the customers to enroll in Part D plans or MAPD plans, where the pharmacy client of ours is a preferred pharmacy, and that has been a rapidly growing business as well. And I do agree, Elizabeth, it is an underappreciated part of our story.

It's outgrowing all other aspects of our business in terms of lead source and having higher persistency and stronger online enrollment.

Elizabeth Anderson -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

OK. And is there any reason you would point to the stronger like persistency and online enrollment from that group? Or is it hard to characterize it in one bucket?

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Well, I'd say the most important reason is when we take a call from a provider, for example, we very often answer the call as the enrollment for -- if it's Cedars-Sinai or another hospital system. And so we know the client that's calling us is a patient of that hospital system. And so we already are getting them into the plan that will cover all of their physicians, all of their specialists. And so the most important factor in churn is getting a senior into the plan that covers all of their doctors and all of their drugs.

And while that's easy to say in one sentence, it's complicated to execute in part because the beneficiary does not always recall all the physicians that they see in the course of a year. They don't always recall every drug that they're on. So when we had information, as we do in some cases with the pharmacies where we know we get an electronic link, where we know all of the drugs that are prescribed for that senior, we are able to get that senior into an optimal plan. So their propensity to churn is much less than, say, a direct-response TV call where someone's calling from their sofa.

They don't have their drugs in front of them. They're being spontaneously responding to an offer, and they may or may not give us complete information. Even though we try, we exert maximal effort to extract all of that information. This is why very often, it's inaccurate or incomplete.

Now, this is why the retention team that Tim mentioned is so critical because what happens when a senior shows up to use their plan early in the new year, they'll often have a drug that's not included in the Part D plan or specialists that they forgot to mention that they see once a year. And then they can call us, and we can either identify that the specialist is in the plan or move them to a plan that does cover all of their specialists. So as I said, it's more complicated getting seniors into the right plan than it seems because very often, they don't deliver complete information to us. And these partnerships give us access to a far more complete patient history.

So that's why it works so well.

Elizabeth Anderson -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

That makes sense. And then just on an unrelated note, the IFP guidance, I mean, I totally appreciate you're not wanting to update guidance one week into AEP. But on the IFP part, I mean, you guys have already done close to $43 million in revenue for the year. And just at the high end of your guidance, there is like $51 million.

So is there something we should think about in terms of a step-down? Because usually, we've seen like a seasonal step-up, and you obviously saw a great deal of outperformance in the third quarter there. So I just want to make sure we're taking into account what you guys are thinking in terms of the fourth quarter there.

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Elizabeth, that's a very good catch. So you're right. The IFP business has performed well.

We've seen, in particular, the policy durations continue to extend and, hence, the increase in tail revenue being recognized because we are having people staying on longer. I think we've seen nine quarters in a row now where LTVs for major medical IFP policies increase. So you're correct. So in terms of kind of how that measures the guidance, I think you're right.

You should expect that we would do closer to the top, if not kind of above the IFP SMB segment guidance for the full year given the performance year to date through Q3.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Dave Styblo from Jefferies. Your line is now open

Dave Styblo -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hi there. Great. Thanks for the questions. Appreciate it.

First question is just coming back to the Medicare Advantage business. I know the management team characterized the quarter as in line with your expectations. I guess the hard part I'm trying to wrap my arms around is the deceleration of the approved application growth down to 28%, which is less than half of the 60% to 65% growth we saw in the first half of the year. I guess that precipitous decline, I still want to understand the disconnect when you hired so many more reps this year.

Is there any other explanation in there? Perhaps it's just a retooling of the agency slow down growth and leads just to retrain the agents and get them back on track to improve duration as some of the -- and issues you've put forth. And then how do we get confidence that that is going to accelerate back up in the fourth quarter again?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Dave, so a few things. So it's not related to anything operational execution. I think what you heard on this call was confidence that our plans or AEP is positioning us well to achieve our plans. From a more macro perspective, there has been a change beyond the seasonal pattern that we typically see with Q1 having the open enrollment period and then Q2 for that special enrollment period.

So we did have something different this year in terms of sequential change for enrollment growth. And then the last thing I'd say, which we'll reiterate, is really given the choice of investing for growth in Q3 versus Q4, we would push to Q4 given the much better economics of how we deploy the capital. And we feel very good about how we have kind of allocated our sales and marketing investments toward Q4 growth versus enrollment growth in Q3.

Dave Styblo -- Jefferies -- Analyst

OK. And is that different than last year? Because in the third quarter of last year, the approved application growth accelerated. And in the last year, we had the AEP and the OEP. And my understanding was the special enrollment period this year wasn't that big of a factor based on maybe some of the conversations you've had before.

So I'm just struggling a little bit to understand that step-down when you look at why...

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, yes. OK. Let me explain that. So last year in Q3, we did have very, very good growth in terms of Medicare Advantage-approved member enrollments, right? That was a benefit of a very easy comp from the year before.

So the year before, in Q3 2018, we had 0% growth for Medicare Advantage year over year. So we had a very, very light comp in Q3 2019.

Dave Styblo -- Jefferies -- Analyst

OK. Got it. And then the second follow-up really is just in the past, the management team has opportunistically spent more, especially during the AEP, to grow faster and deliver upside to the guidance metrics. How do you guys think about it for this year? Do you have the same desire of these AEPs to invest more if you see opportunities to grow the business? Or are you a little bit more reserved just to make sure that again, all these new initiatives you've put in place, you kind of want to just stay within a little bit more the guardrail to make sure you're getting things done right and the platform is right before maybe next year as the year where growth can flex again back up? So just curious how you think about that from an execution standpoint and investing standpoint.

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

That's astute observation, David. That is exactly how we're thinking about it. The upside for us is the quality of our enrollments rather than the volume of our enrollments this year. We're going to over-index on ensuring that we restore the LTVs and have a meaningful downtick in the churn percentage.

We're still going to have strong enrollment growth, over 50% enrollment growth. So based on any business I've ever been associated with, those would be seen as strong growth prospects. But compared to how we grew last year, where we optimize solely on conversion and took all the volume we could generate, this year, as we optimize around LTV and conversion, it will be a natural ceiling on our growth. So I think you're wise to see us within the revenue guidance range if that's what you're trying to interpret.

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

One place where we will be able to appropriate balance growth and also quality of enrollments in terms of persistency is online enrollments. So given the investments and the trend that we've been on, we do think that, as you heard, that we will make continued improvements and acceleration in online enrollment.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Steve Tanal from SVB Leerink. Your line is now open.

Steve Tanal -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Good afternoon, guys. Thanks for the question. A lot of good color on the AEP on the phone. We appreciate.

But I think just looking at the quarter, to me, I wanted to focus first on the LTV number. So $898 for MA in Q3 '20. Wondering how that first compares to your expectations. And second, what gives you confidence that that will be up 5% sequentially since that's sort of what's needed to hit the 4Q guide of down -- I think it had been down less than 10%.

Now, it's down 10%. So $945 in Q4, up 5% sequentially. Is that when you expect to see the bump from the commission rate increase? Or anything else there that gives you confidence?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Got it. Yeah. Steve, so when you look at the LTVs, it is important to look at them on a year-over-year basis. There is a seasonality with LTV.

And the primary driver of that seasonality has to do with when does that group of customers get to switch plans next. So if you enrolled in Q3, you have the opportunity to switch plans again in Q4. And therefore, Q3 LTVs are always going to be seasonally lower. So going into Q4, we expect sequential LTVs to be up given that pattern.

But of course, given the churn that we have seen, we are guiding to a lower LTV on a year-over-year basis.

Steve Tanal -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Got it. So the commission rate increase is not part of that. Like anything particular that you could point to on why that goes back up 5%? You made the point earlier, Derek, that -- I think you said we need observations on how persistency has improved to get LTVs back up again. So what gives you the confidence that we're going to go up sequentially? Is there anything specific to point to?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

So specifically on seasonal pattern, on the commission rate increases, you're right. So what we have done historically is see how the commissions come in and make the adjustment of the increase on LTV. So that will happen kind of at end of Q4. So in our guide for this Q4, that commission rate increase is not built in.

Steve Tanal -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

OK, OK. Fair enough. So maybe that could help, I suppose. And I guess it kind of brings us back to the bigger question of if LTV stems from a statistical model that looks back 24 months and trailing 12-month churn is up year on year, why wouldn't LTV continue to go down, I suppose? And is there any color there, any commentary on why to get comfortable here?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So the statistical model actually takes in the entire history of the data that we have basically since 2011 since we have been in the business. It does weigh more heavily in the most recent two years given the most recent data has a more predictive impact. Another factor that drives the model is really the volume of data.

So it would take heavier weight for most recent and most volume data. So since last AEP was our biggest enrollment period and the most recent one, that is driving our LTV predictions more so than any other historical cohorts. So we have said that if churn were to remain where they have been the last 12 months coming out of AEP last year, we do not expect LTVs to go further lower than what we have already projected for this full year and this Q4.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Yaron Kinar from Goldman Sachs. Your line is now open.

Yaron Kinar -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Good afternoon, and thanks for taking my question. I want to go back to churn if I can. And, Derek, I think one of the points you made was that when you look at churn, you're really including everybody who switch plans, even those who remain within the eHealth platform. Can you maybe tell us what portion of that churn was such members?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So you heard that correctly, and we clarified that on the call because there have been a lot of questions about that. So we had discussed that our retention coming to AEP last year was around 10%. So there is 10% of the people who churn from a policy perspective that do come back to our platform.

So then if we don't count as churn, obviously, then our churn numbers will look better but not by much because 10% retention is not a number that we're quite proud of in terms of recapturing customers.

Yaron Kinar -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Right. OK. And that portion of those 10%, do you count those as new members then?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Correct. That's right.

Yaron Kinar -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

OK, OK. Got it. And then I apologize for beating a dead horse here with the slowdown of the Medicare-approved submissions this quarter. And, Derek, I heard you say several times it was within expectations, but I'm still trying to understand why the slowdown from 3Q '19 to 3Q '20 to this extent was within expectations.

So maybe I could take one more stab at trying to understand that.

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, yeah. So the biggest driver, if you're comparing those to comparison period, is because the last year, in Q3 2019, we had a very, very low comp compared to Q3 2018. So if you go back to Q3 '18, the year-over-year growth compared to Q3 '17 for Medicare Advantage was 0%. We didn't grow as flat.

Then the second part of that is a capital allocation for sales and marketing in terms of what we want to put forth that makes sense for Q3 enrollment versus what we can generate in Q4 where we have much better unit economics.

Yaron Kinar -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

OK. But I guess if I look at not necessarily 3Q '19 or 3Q '20, you do see kind of a trend that's been in the, I guess, 60% to 70% range of Medicare Advantage growth year over year for each of the last, call it, five, six quarters. So is it that honing in on the units of economics in the fourth quarter that has led you to slow down growth this quarter, in particular?

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, that is definitely part of it. I mean, what we're trying to do is obviously maximize for the LTV-to-acquisition costs for the full year. And in that, to the extent that we can generate more enrollments out of Q4 versus Q3, that is exactly what we wanted to do. And then on your broader comment around kind of the sequential growth obviously, in Q2, last quarter, we did have a different environment with special enrollment period.

It created more opportunities, and Q1 is open enrollment. So we've had a sequence of actually more unusual macro factors that allow enrollment growth to have more tailwinds. So we did not see that in Q3 and in addition to us wanting to optimize for return on investments between Q3 and Q4.

Yaron Kinar -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

That's helpful. I appreciate the call.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Daniel Grosslight from Citi. Your line is now open.

Daniel Grosslight -- Citi -- Analyst

Hey, guys, thanks for taking the question. I want to go back to that partner channel, which was looking very strong. I would have expected those channel partners to be most affected by COVID-19 given they're largely in person. I guess can you talk about what has offset some of the reduced traffic in hospitals and pharmacies recently? And how do you think about perhaps a surge in the winter during AEP and how that might affect traffic at these channel partners?

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I mean, we do watch the provider channel and follow the public systems, and clearly, they are struggling with the lack of elective surgeries. But from an enrollment standpoint, most of our enrollments come from having the email and physical addresses of their patients. And so we promote directly to them.

And so even though we do have signage and brochures in each of the facilities, it really is our direct marketing to those patients that brings them to our site, our platform either telephonically or online. So we aren't seeing or expecting anything but fast, continued growth. I will tell you they are in -- we do hear from the partner channel, biz dev team, that there are a lot of hospital systems who are smaller that are in deep financial distress. Those that don't have large charitable endowments are really struggling.

Daniel Grosslight -- Citi -- Analyst

OK, OK. And they essentially sell you their patient list and split the revenue with you.

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

There's no economic exchange here. Yes, the partnership is done by them. Their objective is to capture 100% of the share of wallet of the beneficiary. So what they're wanting is that senior to sign up with an MA plan, where all of the specialists, all of the services, are provided within their system and network.

Daniel Grosslight -- Citi -- Analyst

Yes. Makes sense. OK. And then I guess just one on productivity.

I think last quarter, you mentioned that you expect agent productivity to go up around 10%. Is that still the case here? And given most of the -- you've hired a lot of internal folks this past quarter, and you generally don't get productivity until the second AEP period. Can you talk about how the newer folks on the platform, how you're expecting them to perform, and then how that gives you a boost into 2021?

Tim Hannan -- Chief Revenue Officer

Sure. This is Tim. I can take that one. So we do still believe we will see the productivity gains that we've outlined that are a key part of our AEP plans for this year.

There's a couple of different ways that we will get there. You're right that tenure does help agents perform better. So one of the things that our algorithms do is make sure that our best-performing agents are kept busiest with the best leads. And so having a foundation of core agents who've been with us for a while gives us the ability to funnel more volume and more high-quality volume to them.

So that's one. Second, we have updated all of our training materials. Our agents are now better equipped going into the AEP than they have been in years past, so we have a better idea of how to get people ready than we've had in years past. And that is both for internal and our partner agents.

And then third, we have better technology for all of our agents to get up to speed faster. So better recommendation algorithms, better cues for them on the call, things they could be looking out for. So all in all, we are confident in that ability to get to that goal. And it's going to be related by leveraging the core of experienced agents but by having a better performance of newer agents than we've seen in years past.

Daniel Grosslight -- Citi -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks, guys.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Frank Morgan from RBC Capital Markets. Your line is now open.

Frank Morgan -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Good afternoon. Most of my questions have been answered, but I did want to go back to your assumptions around the growth in the online channel. I think you said 45% to 50% of your apps would be online. I'm just curious what gives you -- that's a really big number and very differentiated from your competitors.

What gives you confidence that you can really achieve that much enrollment growth? Are there any early indicators to suggest that that's achievable? And then secondly, would you care to share what the potential split would be between pure enrollment online versus assisted? That would be my first question.

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Frank, I'm going to introduce Phillip Morelock, who's our chief digital officer and oversees all product, data, and technology for eHealth, who is responsible for architecting, executing, and launching the customer center, because I really want him on the hook for these results. So, Phillip, you can take it and run.

Phillip Morelock -- Chief Digital Officer and Oversees All product, Data, and Technology

Thanks, Scott. We have made substantial investments in our platform in the last two years. But certainly, this year, we've gone to market not just with the customer center but with an entire redesign of our e-commerce funnel, taking into account customer research that we've done, first-party research, as well as extensive A/B testing. So far, in the AEP period, we're seeing our conversion rates up over 50% on the online platform.

And so we're very confident that the design changes that we thought we would have results from – we'll, in fact, deliver those results. Additionally, we're seeing rapid adoption of the customer center technology. We saw very quickly got to over 10,000 enrollments in the customer center itself. And we are seeing more time spent by those customer center users, better conversion from those customer center users.

And it's early, but we're optimistic that will have a positive impact on our retention figures as well. In addition, as Scott was mentioning, the partner channel is a material driver for online for us, and we are seeing increased conversion rates in that partner channel as well from many of the partners that we have due to those data integrations that Scott was talking about.

Frank Morgan -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

And I think, historically, that pure, unassisted enrollment number was fairly low. Based on the new studies you've done, any changes there in the mix between assisted, unassisted online enrollment?

Phillip Morelock -- Chief Digital Officer and Oversees All product, Data, and Technology

Both are growing rapidly. We do see the unassisted growing a little bit faster, and we are optimistic about that because of all of the changes that we've made to our conversion funnel.

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

And the economics.

Frank Morgan -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

And I guess one final one. In terms of the change as it relates to retention, some of the changes you made are related to the compensation for your sales force, your internal sales force. How has that been received so far? Has there been any pushback from adopting this new structure tied or retention?

Tim Hannan -- Chief Revenue Officer

This is Tim. I'll take that one. So, so far, there hasn't been any pushback within the agent workforce. Our best-performing agents, this is a chance for them to earn more.

And it's certainly our hope and expectation that they will. And we see great retention rates of our core agents. So of our top 75% of agents, we keep 94% of them on an annual basis. So they're engaged.

They were consulted in the process of building this plan. And for high performers, this is a chance to earn more money in the long run.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Tobey Sommer from Truist. Your line is now open.

Tobey Sommer -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Thank you. If we think of the multipronged approach you have to improving customer retention, does getting back to the prior LTV represents sort of the best outcome? Or if these initiatives turn out well, could you, in fact, do better then?

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

I'd like for Tim to answer that because he is singularly accountable to us for those results.

Tim Hannan -- Chief Revenue Officer

Thanks, Scott. Yeah, that's a very astute observation. We believe that there's opportunities to do much better than where we were in 2019 because we had none of these initiatives in place at that time either. So when we built that goal, we knew it had a degree of conservatism in it.

We know we're learning every single day how to adjust these programs, make them more impactful, tie them better together. So one of the things that we're doing is getting feedback from our retention team back to our sales team on ways that they can be improving on the front end. So we believe that the 2019 LTV is a fine short-term goal, but it is, by no means, the long-term success metric here.

Tobey Sommer -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

OK. Thank you. And then my last question is with respect to retention, do you ever to look at the book in your MA membership based on average star rankings here? Managed-care companies talk about that. And if you have looked at it on that dimension, has the ebb and flow of retention over the last 24 months then mirrored in a change in the sort of blended star ranking of your membership profile?

Tim Hannan -- Chief Revenue Officer

Scott, I'll take that one as well. So we do look at our retention across as many different dimensions as we possibly can, and what I would say is that the overwhelming drivers were factors within our control within our sales funnel and less to do with exogenous changes happening around us. So there is no doubt that plan expansion, plan changes, benefit changes, star rating changes do introduce some change, but they were a small driver of the deterioration that we saw. And so it's something we looked at, but again, it was not a big driver of our performance.

Tobey Sommer -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

There are no questions from participants online. Let me hand the conference over to the CEO, Mr. Scott Flanders, for the closing remarks. Please go ahead, sir.

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, everyone, for your informed questions. We're excited about how we're positioned for Q4 and looking forward to helping a record number of seniors get into the right Medicare Advantage plan and a growing IFP business and look forward to getting back on the phone with you after we have a successful Q4. Thank you, everyone.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 79 minutes

Call participants:

Kate Sidorovich -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Scott Flanders -- Chief Executive Officer

Derek Yung -- Chief Financial Officer

Jailendra Singh -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Tim Hannan -- Chief Revenue Officer

Greg Peters -- Raymond James -- Analyst

George Hill -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Elizabeth Anderson -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Dave Styblo -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Steve Tanal -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Yaron Kinar -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Daniel Grosslight -- Citi -- Analyst

Frank Morgan -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Phillip Morelock -- Chief Digital Officer and Oversees All product, Data, and Technology

Tobey Sommer -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

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