Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is Back for 2019

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Tue, May 22, 2018 @ 10:14 AM

Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
is Back for 2019

Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is Back for 2019-1Starting January 1st, 2019 there will be an Open Enrollment Period that will allow Medicare beneficiaries to make “like plan” changes until March 31st, 2019. This is not just an extension of AEP which is between October 15th and December 7th each year. The AEP dates remain unchanged.

The new OEP will allow clients to dis-enroll from their current plan and switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan one time only. They can also dis-enroll from an advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare and then purchase a supplement and/or a PDP.

Just like with the MADP, they can only enroll in the PDP plan if they had drug coverage with the MAPD they dropped. The effective plan dates will be the first of the following month after the client’s signature date.

Below is an example of the criteria for allowed changes:

  • MAPD to MAPD
  • MAPD to Original Medicare and a Part D
  • Original Medicare and a Part D to MAPD
  • MA Only plan to MA Only plan
  • MA Only plan to Original Medicare
  • Original Medicare to MA Only plan

Some may see it as an opportunity and others as a bother. Nevertheless, prepare yourself and your clients and you should be able to navigate the new OEP with ease.

If you have any questions or need assistance in getting appointed with our leading Medicare Advantage and Part D companies, call us today and one of our knowledgeable marketers would be happy to assist.

Disclaimer:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is still working through guidance on how the new election period will run, including marketing rules.  The above is a synopsis of the OEP as it existed in the past and these details/rules are subject to change. We will do our best to provide more details when the final guidance is released this summer.

Review the full legislation here.

Additional Updates:
  • Medicare Part D in 2018: Latest on enrollment, premiums and cost sharing - View
  • Continued Growth for Medicare Supplement Plans - View
  • Trump Administration unveils drug pricing strategy - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Tags: medicare advantage updates, medicare updates, Medicare Open Enrollment Period, OEP

Medicare Supplement 1st Quarter 2018 Results

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, May 17, 2018 @ 11:09 AM

Medicare Supplement 1st Quarter 2018 Results

Medicare Supplement 1st Quarter 2018 Results
Last month CSG Actuarial reported the 1st quarter 2018 Medicare Supplement enrollment results for UnitedHealthcare.  We now have updates from other market leaders Aetna, Humana, CNO Financial, and Torchmark, summarized below.

Aetna Reports Medicare Supplement Results for 1st Quarter 2018

For 1st quarter 2018, Aetna reported Medicare Supplement member in-force counts of 748,000, up 8,000 from 4th quarter 2017 and 37,000 over the past 12 months.  The 8,000 increase in membership during 1st quarter 2018 is 69% lower than the membership growth in 1st quarter 2017.  Aetna’s Medicare Supplement membership growth rate slowed considerably since 2016 due to an overall weakening of competitive positioning and increased competition from other market leaders on Plan G.  The table below shows Aetna’s Medicare Supplement enrollment counts by quarter since 4th quarter 2011 and annual increase in Medicare Supplement enrollment counts by quarter since 4th quarter 2012.  CSG Actuarial projects Aetna’s overall Medicare Supplement sales at 4th in the overall market over the past 12 months.

blog pic 2


Humana Reports Medicare Supplement Results for 1st Quarter 2018

Humana reported 1st quarter 2018 Medicare Supplement lives of 238,700, a 1.2% increase over 4th quarter 2017 and a 3% increase over 1st quarter 2017.  The 2,800 increase in membership during 1st quarter 2018 is 78% lower than the membership growth in 1st quarter 2017.  The table below shows Humana’s Medicare Supplement enrollment counts by quarter since 1st quarter 2011.  Humana also reported 1st quarter 2018 Medicare Supplement premiums of $125 million, up 6% from 1st quarter 2017.  Based on estimates from CSG Actuarial, Humana’s sales ranked 7th in the market over the past 12 months.

blog pic 4

CNO Financial Group Reports Medicare Supplement Sales in 1st Quarter 2018

CNO Financial Group (parent company of Bankers Life & Casualty, Washington National, and Colonial Penn) reported 1st quarter 2018 Medicare Supplement sales of $12.9 million, down 20% from 1st quarter 2017.  For the past 12 months CNO Financial Group reported Medicare Supplement sales of $62.7 million, ranking in the top 10 in the Medicare Supplement market.  CNO Financial Group also reported 1st quarter 2018 Medicare Supplement earned premiums of $206 million, down $4 million from 1st quarter 2017.

Torchmark Reports Medicare Supplement Sales in 1st Quarter 2018

Torchmark reported 1st quarter 2018 Medicare Supplement annualized new sales of $15.7 million, up 22% from 1st quarter 2017.  For the past 12 months, Torchmark reported Medicare Supplement annualized new sales of $69.1 million, ranking in the top 10 in the market.

blog pic 6

Source

Additional Updates:
  • Great article on how to get started in Medicare Sales - View
  • UnitedHealthcare Voice signature now available in new states - View
  • UnitedHealthcare Med Supp Bonus in FL and GA - View
  • A meditation to recharge your mind - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Tags: Aetna Medicare Supplement, UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement, medicare supplement insurance, humana medicare supplement

Medicare Advantage Plans Can Pay for Many LTC Services in 2019

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, May 09, 2018 @ 11:25 AM

Medicare Advantage Plans Can Pay for Many
LTC Services in 2019

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is getting ready to let Medicare Advantage plan issuers add major new long-term care benefits to their supplemental benefits menus.

Medicare Advantage Plans Can Pay for Many LTC Services in 2019The Better Medicare Alliance, a Washington-based coalition for companies and groups with an interest in the Medicare Advantage  has posted a copy of a memo that shows CMS is reinterpreting the phrase “primarily health related” when deciding whether a Medicare Advantage plan can cover a specific benefit.

Kathryn Coleman, director of the CMS Medicare Drug & Health Plan Contract Administration Group, writes in the memo, which was sent to Medicare Advantage organizations April 27, that CMS will let a plan cover adult day care services for adults who need help with either the basic “activities of daily living,” such as walking or going to the bathroom, or with “instrumental activities of daily living,” such as the ability to cook, clean or shop.

A Medicare Advantage plan could not, apparently, cover skilled nursing home care, or assisted living facility fees. But, in addition to adult day care, a Medicare Advantage plan could pay for:

  • In-home support services to help people with disabilities or medical conditions perform activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living within the home, “to compensate for physical impairments, ameliorate the functional/psychological impact of injuries or health conditions, or reduce avoidable emergency and health care utilization.”

  • Short-term “respite care” or other support services for family caregivers.

  • Making non-Medicare-covered safety changes, such as installing grab bars, that might help people stay in their homes.

  • Non-emergency transportation to health care services. (Plans can already pay for ambulance services for enrollees experiencing medical emergencies.)

The Better Market Alliance says the memo is a form of subregulatory guidance. It’s possible that CMS could revise the guidance, and there’s no indication whether any Medicare Advantage issuers will be in a position to add major LTC benefits to their benefits packages for 2019.

CMS said it would be changing the 2019 Medicare Advantage program benefits uniformity requirements in the preamble to a collection of 2019 Medicare program regulations posted in April.

The Medicare Advantage programs lets insurers offer consumers comprehensive plans that serve as an alternative to traditional Medicare coverage. CMS tries to control current costs, avoid any incentives for patients to get more care, and help patients shop for plans on an apples-to-apples basis by putting tight limits on the benefits the plan issuers can offer.

The Better Medicare Alliance serves many health care providers and provider groups. It also includes many insurance- and benefits-related players, including the National Association of Health Underwriters, the American Benefits Council, and Aetna Inc., Humana Inc., Scan Health Plan and UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Issuers of private long-term care insurance once treated Medicaid and Medicare benefits that “crowded out” private insurance benefits as a serious problem.

In recent years, however, as low interest rates, strict rate increase rules, and actuarial projection problems have reduced private insurers’ participation in the private LTCI market, the private issuers themselves have talked about the need for public-private partnerships.

Source

Additional Updates:
  • Humana may lead Aetna, Cigna in Medicare Advantage LTC race - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Tags: Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Advantage information, long term care, ltc

An Informative Guide on Breaking Into the Senior Market

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, May 02, 2018 @ 01:34 PM

An Informative Guide on Breaking Into the
Senior Market

Below is an excerpt from a new article just published by PSM. In the article we address the questions we get asked the most about getting started in selling Medicare products. Whether you’re a seasoned agent looking to add Medicare to your portfolio, or a Greenhorn looking to get started, there should be something in the article for everyone.

You can read the full article here: How To Get Started In Medicare Sales

How to Get Started in Medicare Sales

Selling Medicare can be a very rewarding and lucrative career that offers the opportunity to own your own business and enjoy passive income for years into the future.

By 2030, 18% of the US population will be at least age 65 according to Pew Research. This avalanche of seniors into Medicare has created a groundswell opportunity, and many agents are capitalizing on it.

If you have any questions, as always, feel free to give us a call and continue the conversation with an experienced marketer.

Check out the full article here: How To Get Started In Medicare Sales

Happy Selling…

Additional Updates:
  • New Medicare Advantage and Part D Referral Program - View
  • Looking for prospects? Check out our lead program for producing agents - View
  • If you run an office, here is what may be missing from your job description - View
  • Infographic: Successful People Vs. Unsuccessful People - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Medicare Advantage Will Soon Have Even More Advantages

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Apr 25, 2018 @ 01:14 PM

Medicare Advantage Will Soon Have Even
More Advantages

Air conditioners for people with asthma, healthy groceries, rides to medical appointments and home-delivered meals may be among the new benefits added to Medicare Advantage coverage when new federal rules take effect next year.Medicare Advantage Will Soon Have Even More Advantages

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded how it defines the "primarily health-related" benefits that insurers are allowed to include in their Medicare Advantage policies. And insurers would include these extras on top of providing the benefits traditional Medicare offers.

"Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will have more supplemental benefits, making it easier for them to lead healthier, more independent lives," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

Of the 61 million people enrolled in Medicare last year, 20 million have opted for Medicare Advantage, a privately run alternative to the traditional government program. Advantage plans limit members to a network of providers. Similar restrictions may apply to the new benefits.

Many Medicare Advantage plans already offer some health benefits not covered by traditional Medicare, such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental care and gym memberships. But the new rules, which the industry sought, will expand that significantly to items and services that may not be directly considered medical treatment.

CMS said the insurers will be permitted to provide care and devices that prevent or treat illness or injuries, compensate for physical impairments, address the psychological effects of illness or injuries, or reduce emergency medical care.

Although insurers are still in the early stages of designing their 2019 policies, some companies have ideas about what they might include. In addition to transportation to doctors' offices or better food options, some health insurance experts said additional benefits could include simple modifications in beneficiaries' homes, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom, or aides to help with daily activities, including dressing, eating and other personal care needs.

"This will allow us to build off the existing benefits that we already have in place that are focused more on prevention of avoidable injuries or exacerbation of existing health conditions," said Alicia Kelley, director of Medicare sales for Capital District Physicians' Health Plan, a nonprofit serving 43,000 members in 24 upstate New York counties.

Even though a physician's order or prescription is not necessary, the new benefits must be "medically appropriate" and recommended by a licensed health care provider, according to the new rules.

Many beneficiaries have been attracted to Medicare Advantage because of its extra benefits and the limit on out-of-pocket expenses. However, CMS also cautioned that new supplemental benefits should not be items provided as an inducement to enroll.

UnitedHealthcare, the largest health insurer in the US, also welcomes the opportunity to expand benefits, said Matt Burns, a company spokesman. "Medicare benefits should not be one-size-fits-all, and continued rate stability and greater benefit design flexibility enable health plans to provide a more personalized health care experience," he said.

But patient advocates including David Lipschutz. Senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, are concerned about those who may be left behind.

"It's great for the people in Medicare Advantage plans, but what about the majority of the people who are in traditional Medicare?" he asked. "As we tip the scales more in favor of Medicare Advantage, it's to the detriment of people in traditional Medicare."

The details of the 2019 Medicare Advantage benefit packages must first be approved by CMS and will be released in the fall, when the annual open enrollment begins. It's very likely that all new benefits will not be available to all beneficiaries since there is "tremendous variation across the country" in what plans offer, said Gretchen Jacobson, associate director of the Kaiser Family Foundation's Program on Medicare Policy.

Source

Additional Updates:
  • New Medicare Advantage and Part D Referral Program - View
  • Looking for prospects? Check out our lead program for producing agents - View
  • If you run an office, here is what may be missing from your job description - View
  • Infographic: Successful People Vs. Unsuccessful People - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Tags: Medicare Advantage plans, medicare updates

Medicare Advantage expected to grow to 50% of market, says UnitedHealth Group

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 @ 04:26 PM

Medicare Advantage expected to grow to 50% of the market, says UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group reported first quarter earnings from operations growth of 18.8 percent year-over-year, driven by a strong performance in the Medicare Advantage and Medicaid markets as well as double-digit percent increases in its Optum segments.

Medicare Advantage expected to grow to 50 of market, says UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group reported $4.1 billion in Q1 earnings from compared to $3.4 billion for the three months ended March 31, 2017. First quarter net earnings grew by 28.7 percent over the previous year.

Based on first quarter results and the business outlook for the balance of the year, UnitedHealth Group has increased its outlook for 2018 net earnings.

UnitedHealth Group looks very different from five years ago, said CEO David S. Wichmann during Tuesday's earnings call. Today clinical and technical professions are the first and third largest job categories across UnitedHealth Group. Five years from now the company will also be different.

"Within 10 years, we expect half of all Americans will be receiving their healthcare from physicians operating in highly evolved and coordinated value-based care designs," Wichmann said.

UnitedHealthcare, the company's insurance arm, reported earnings from operations for the quarter of $2.4 billion, compared to $2.1 billion the year before, a 12.5 percent increase.

The insurer serves 2.2 million more consumers quarter-over- quarter, but as forecasted, the employer and individual market served 195,000 fewer people in commercial group plans.

This was due to employers shifting their retirees from self-funded offerings to group Medicare Advantage plans and lower retention due to pricing to cover the full cost of the health insurance tax.

The Medicare Advantage and Medicaid markets are growing. UnitedHealthcare grew to serve 375,000 more seniors with medical benefits during the first 90 days of this year, including 330,000 more in Medicare Advantage, according to Steve Nelson, CEO of UnitedHealthcare.

RelatedMedicare Advantage cleared to go beyond medical coverage - View

Medicare Advantage enrollment grew 10.6 percent year-over-year.

The Medicare Advantage market has always been competitive, said Brian Thompson, CEO for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, to a question on other insurers jumping into the space.

But the Medicare Advantage market is also under-penetrated, he said. It has 33 percent of senior citizens in plans today, but the company sees a path to over 50 percent in the next 5-10 years, he said.

"In Medicaid we continue to expect strong revenue growth in 2018, and that includes ongoing national growth serving dual special needs members, providing them aligned benefits and comprehensive service to address their often times more complex care needs," Nelson said.

The insurer closed gaps in care through simple preventative measures such as flu vaccines, to serving more complex needs. The social determinants of health such as lack of affordable housing, food insecurity and isolation weigh heavily on gaps in care.

Social investments are the next frontier to serving the whole person, executives said.

Source

Additional Updates:
  • How To Get Started in Medicare Sales - View
  • Medicare Advantage cleared to go beyond medical coverage - View
  • United Healthcare introduces lifetime renewals on Med Supp - View
  • Be a rainmaker, not a rain barrel - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Tags: Medicare Advantage plans, medicare updates

CMS Gives Medicare Advantage a Raise

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Apr 04, 2018 @ 02:58 PM

CMS Gives Medicare Advantage Plans a Raise

The CMS finalized a rule Monday giving Medicare Advantage plans a 3.4% pay hike in 2019. That's well above the 1.84% bump the agency initially proposed and higher than the 2.95% increase for 2018.CMS gives Medicare Advantage plans a raise

The CMS is also moving forward with plans to increase the use of encounter data to determine risk scores for plans. As a result of the finalized rule, 75% of Medicare Advantage risk scores will be based on traditional fee-for-service data, and 25% based on encounter data. That differs from 2018, when the agency used a risk score blend of 85% fee-for-service data and 15% encounter data.

Stakeholders such as the American Hospital Association have pushed back at using encounter data after a January 2017 Government Accountability Office report found such information often isn't accurate.

"Since the quality of the encounter data has improved, CMS believes it is appropriate to move forward with the proposed increased percentage of encounter data in the blend," the agency said in a release Monday.

The CMS also finalized a policy to prevent Medicare beneficiaries who are deemed at risk for opioid misuse or abuse from obtaining prescription drugs from multiple doctors or pharmacies. Instead, they'll be locked into one pharmacy or prescriber for Medicare Part D benefits.

This lock-in will limit an at-risk beneficiary's access to coverage for frequently abused drugs to those that are prescribed by a specified pharmacy or provider.

Medicare Advantage enrollment is projected to grow by 9% to 20.4 million in 2018. The CMS estimated that more than one-third of all Medicare enrollees, or 34%, will be in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2018.

Source: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20180402/NEWS/180409987/cms-gives-medicare-advantage-plans-a-raise

Additional Updates:
  • United Healthcare introduces lifetime renewals on Med Supp - View
  • Liberty Bankers Life new Med Supp release in AZ and NV - View
  • Walmart in early talks to buy Humana - View
  • Make "You" your competitive advantage - View
  • How CMS will lower drug costs - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Tags: Medicare Advantage plans, medicare updates

How Devastating Drug Price Increases Are Harming America’s Seniors

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Mar 28, 2018 @ 12:44 PM

Manufactured Crisis: How Devastating Drug Price Increases Are Harming America’s Seniors

How Devastating Drug Price Increases Are Harming America’s Seniors-1

As policymakers gear up to address rising drug costs, a new report highlights just how much prices have gone up in recent years.

View the full report

The prices of some of the most popular brand-name drugs have increased by 12% on average each year from 2012 to 2017, based on Medicare Part D data, according to a report released by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. That's 10 times greater than the rate of inflation during that same period.

Though the number of these prescriptions decreased by 48 million in that window, profits increased by $8.5 billion. Twelve of the 20 medications included in McCaskill's report saw prices increase by 50% between 2012 and 2017. For six drugs, prices increased by more than 100% during that period.

"Can you imagine if you went to an auto dealership and last year's exact model was being sold at a 20% markup, and then you went back the next year and it had happened again?" McCaskill said in a statement. "That's exactly what's happening in the prescription drug industry, where the cost of identical drugs skyrockets year after year."

RELATED: Hospitals—not pharma—to blame for rising healthcare costs, drug experts say

McCaskill's report comes as the Trump administration is planning a multi-pronged approach to lower the drug costs. During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump said controlling drug costs is a major goal for his administration in the coming year.

The White House's plan includes pushing pharmacy benefit managers to share rebates directly with members, an issue that has been a matter of contention between payers and pharmaceutical companies. Payers take the savings from rebates and apply them across the board to lower premiums, though copays are based on a drug's list price, not the price after rebates.

Drugmakers have deflected blame for rising drug costs by pointing a finger at PBMs.

RELATED: UnitedHealthcare to share drug rebates with 7M members; the Trump administration approves, says HHS' Alex Azar

The administration's plan for drug prices, which was compiled by the Council of Economic Advisers, also suggests that some generic drugs should be offered for free and takes aim at "free-riding" abroad, where countries that have single-payer health systems purchase drugs at a low price, leading pharmaceutical companies to jack up the price for patients in the U.S.

Increasing profits, these companies argue, is crucial to funding additional drug research and development.

Some experts said that the administration's plan is unlikely to drive down costs. Critics have also been skeptical that Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who headed Eli Lilly's U.S. operations, will lead the charge on drug prices.

McCaskill's report notes that Medicare beneficiaries' spending on drugs is expected to continue to grow over the next several years. Prior research projects that that spending on medications will rise from 41% of per capita Social Security income to 50% by 2030.

Drug prices are a major concern among healthcare executives, and a recent survey shows that 70% feel they may need to operate their own pharmacies to help control costs.

View the full report

Source: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/finance/rising-drug-prices-healthcare-costs-claire-mccaskill

Additional Updates:
  • America's view on drug pricing and Medicare for all - View
  • 3 Medicare Advantage giants just keep growing - View
  • Increase Your Sales with Our Complimentary Tools - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Tags: Part D Premiums, Part D, Prescription Drugs, medicare updates

Why You Should Be Selling Dental Insurance

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Mar 21, 2018 @ 12:51 PM

Why You Should Be Selling Dental Insurance.pngMedicare Still Doesn't Cover Dental Care. And That Can Be a Big Problem.

This is a good read on the lack of dental coverage provided by Medicare and the important role of a insurance agent to help keep beneficiaries covered. PSM offers an array of dental plans available to our agents along with the guidance on how to best incorporate into your business.

From the article...

Many people view Medicare as the gold standard of United States health coverage, and any attempt to cut it incurs the wrath of older Americans, a politically powerful group. But there are substantial coverage gaps in traditional Medicare. One of them is care for your teeth.

Almost one in five adults of Medicare eligibility age (65 years old and older) have untreated cavities. The same proportion have lost all their teeth. Half of Medicare beneficiaries have some periodontal disease, or infection of structures around teeth, including the gums. Bacteria from such infections can circulate elsewhere in the body, contributing to other health problems such as heart disease and strokes.

And yet traditional Medicare does not cover routine dental care, like checkups, cleanings, fillings, dentures and tooth extraction.

Paying for dental care out of pocket is hard for many Medicare beneficiaries. Half have annual incomes below $23,000 per year. Those who have the means, but are looking for a deal, might travel abroad for cheaper dental care. Tens of thousands of Americans go to Mexico every year for dental work at lower prices. Many others travel the globe for care.

Although low-income Medicare beneficiaries can also qualify for Medicaid, that’s of little help for those living in states with gaps in Medicaid dental coverage.

According to a study published in Health Affairs, in a given year, three-quarters of low-income Medicare beneficiaries do not receive any dental care at all. Among higher-income beneficiaries, the figure is about one-quarter.

Traditional Medicare will cover dental procedures that are integral to other covered services. So if your Medicare-covered hospital procedure involved dental structures in some way, important related dental care would be covered. But paying for any other care is up to the patient.

Lack of dental coverage by Medicare is among the top concerns of beneficiaries. The program also lacks coverage for hearing, vision or long-term care services. However, many Medicare Advantage plans — private alternatives to the traditional program — cover these services.

For example, 58 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees have coverage for dental exams. In receiving these benefits through private plans, enrollees are also subject to plans’ efforts to limit use by, for example, requiring prior authorization or offering narrow networks of providers. These restrictions can be problematic for some beneficiaries, and about two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries opt for the traditional program, not a private plan.

Adding a dental benefit to Medicare is popular. A Families USA survey of likely voters found that the vast majority (86 percent) of likely voters support doing so. The survey also found that when people do not see a dentist, the top reason is cost.

Ms. Willink’s study estimated that a Medicare dental benefit that covered three-quarters of the cost of care would increase Medicare premiums by $7 per month, or about 5 percent. The rest would need to be financed by taxes.

The cost of such a benefit might be offset — or partly offset — by reductions in other health care spending, reflecting the fact that poor oral health contributes to other health problems.

Making a case for this in the political arena would not be easy, though. The initial cost would be an inviting target for politicians who express concern about fiscal prudence, regardless of any potential long-term gain. But expanding Medicare has been done before.

In 2006, a prescription drug benefit was added to the program. The law for that program was enacted in 2003, and in that same year, the surgeon general released a report calling for dental care to be treated and covered like other health care. Whether by Medicaid or Medicare, that wish is still unfulfilled.

As you can see, more than ever it is important to carry a strong dental product in your portfolio. We would love to assist with any questions you have and make sure you offer this comprehensive coverage to your clients

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/upshot/medicare-missing-dental-coverage.html

Additional Updates:
  • United World Med Supp released in Kentucky with great rates - View
  • Mutual of Omaha expands Med Supp Cash for Apps Program in new states - View
  • Mark Farrah Medicare Advantage Report - February 2018 - View
  • How to fight for mental focus - View
  • Phoenix releases new MYGA Annuity product - View
  • Increase Your Sales with Our Complimentary Tools - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Tags: dental hearing and vision insurance, Medicare Sales, Sales Strategies

Baby Boomers Embrace Technology

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 @ 03:51 PM

Baby Boomers Embrace TechnologyGetting Connected: Older Americans Embrace Technology to Enhance Their Lives

Most Americans have embraced technology in their daily lives and those over 50 are no exception.  Results of a new survey by AARP show older adults are using a variety of devices to stay informed, shop and connect with others.

Over 90% of adults over 50 own a computer or laptop, 70% have a smartphone, and over 40% own a tablet, according to a national study of 1,520 adults conducted in November.  Adults 70+ are more likely to have more dated technology, such as desktops and feature phones, than those age 50-69.

Want to know what the grandkids are doing? Check on Facebook. Sure enough, across all devices, over seven in ten adults 50+ are on social media, and nine in ten (91%) of those with devices say they use technology to stay in touch with friends and family.

Different devices for different purposes

Smartphones help people be social while they are on the go. Over half of smartphone owners use a social app weekly. Texting (86%) has caught up to email (87%) as the top ways people use technology to communicate with others.

Among adults 50+, nine in ten say they use their smartphone to send instant messages, texts or emails, and over three quarters find them handy for getting directions or traffic information.  They also use them for purchasing apps, surfing the internet, getting news, and accessing social media, the AARP research found.

Just how adults use technology varies by age. Adults 50-59 are more likely to do banking activities and watch video on their smartphones than those who are over 60. However, smartphone users age 60-69 are leading the way in using their phone to manage medical care (they are significantly more likely to do so than those over 70: 33% vs. 21%).

Respondents report using tablets more for entertainment and computers for practical tasks. Adults in their 50s and 60s use their computers to engage in online learning activities and posting ratings and reviews more frequently than those older.  Further, Americans over 70 do fewer activities on their computers than those under 70, with a couple exceptions, including gaming (over half play games on their computer) and email.

When it comes to wearable technology (smartwatches, fitness trackers, etc.) and home assistants, just a small percentage of the 50+ market are on board.  Younger adults are more likely to own a wearable than those over 70.

Wary of security and virtual reality

In spite of the reliance on technology in many realms of life, just 18% of adults 50+ are extremely or very confident in their online privacy. Four in ten (41%) are not very or not at all confident in their privacy. Those over 70 are more skeptical their information is private online than those aged 60-69, the survey finds.

Most older adults do not completely trust companies to keep their data secure. The survey discovered respondents have more confidence in banks and health care organizations and less trust toward the media, social media sites, and membership organizations.

Despite security concerns, however, the survey found many older adults don’t take proactive steps to protect themselves (although men are more likely to do so in several instances). Overall, just 58% of respondents say they use a passcode to lock their tablets and 59% use one on their smartphones.  And changing passwords every few months? Just 45 percent of adults 50 and over take that security precaution.

Few older adults have used virtual reality, and many are unfamiliar with augmented reality. Most respondents had heard of virtual reality devices but few have tried them. Adults age 50-59 are the most likely to have checked out or own a virtual reality device, but adoption is still small. Over six in ten adults in the survey have never heard of augmented reality and very few have tried it -- although awareness was greater among those in their 50s.

This study was fielded from November 16-27, 2017 using GfK’s KnowledgePanel, a probability based web panel designed to be representative of the adult US population. Respondents needed to be age 50 or older to complete the survey. Completion rate was 59.9% and resulted in a total sample of 1,520. The data are weighted by age within gender, education, race/ethnicity, household income, language preferences, and Census division to reflect US adults age 50 or older. For more information contact G. Oscar Anderson at GAnderson@aarp.org.

At PSM, we provide the tools, knowledge and support to help take your business to new levels. If you have an interest on how to effectively sell online, we would love to assist you. 

Source: https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/technology/info-2018/technology-use-attitudes.html

Additional Updates:
  • Mutual of Omaha expands Dental product into new states -  IL, KS, ME and UT - View
  • Cigna has entered into an agreement to acquire Express Scripts - View
  • Transamerica has updated their guide for electronic signatures - View
  • New Medicare ID Cards - Aetna has compiled a helpful Q&A document - View
  • Increase Your Sales with Our Complimentary Tools - View
  • Express: Mutual of Omaha Weekly Updates - View
  • VALUES Quote of the Week - View
  • Current Agent Incentive Trips and Contests - View

Tags: Web Marketing Advice, Baby Boomer Medicare Stats, Insurance Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing

    Subscribe by Email

    Like Precision Senior Marketing on Facebook!





    Follow Precision Senior Marketing on Twitter!

    Most Popular Posts

    Posts by Topic

    Click for More