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How to Make the Most Out of the ACA Chaos

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Fri, Feb 05, 2016 @ 08:28 AM


Agents who have been selling health insurance for several years – you sure have hit a series of tough speed bumps recently with all of the ACA chaos going on, haven’t you? While these disruptions can certainly be scary, they can also serve unique chances to revitalize and revolutionize the way you do business.

The good news is that the Medicare market promises agents an opportunity like no other. Unlike any other market in this day and age, the T-65 market supplies 10,000+ new prospects per day. With plenty of potential clients, isn’t it time that you consider introducing Medicare products into your portfolio?

Succeeding in the midst of the chaos requires proactive efforts to seek out opportunity and summon the bravery to act. To make the most of this disruption, here are some tips upon how to go about entering the Medicare market:

Connect with experts

Find a trustworthy, knowledgeable FMO who specializes in the Medicare market to do some of the thinking for you. This will help relieve you of the stress in fully educating yourself upon a brand new market and shift your perspective outside of what you do on a day-to-day basis.

Get the most out of the market

If you really want to capitalize on your investment in the Medicare market, you should take time to identify opportunities that aren’t necessarily close to home. In today’s day and age, technology allows for agents who live in rural communities in Wyoming, for example, to serve health insurance products to shoppers in Florida. Visit the National Insurance Producer Registry website to learn just how easy it is to get licensed in additional states.

Identify which carriers you want to represent

Contract work and commissions can vary with each carrier, so it's important to conduct some research before making any decisions upon the carriers you wish to represent. Check out online communities like Insurance-Forums and speak with agents in your local chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) to get feedback and reviews on the best Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement carriers in your target states.

Certify to sell Medicare Advantage and PDP

If you wish to sell Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plans, a basic health insurance license is unfortunately not enough. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that all licensed sales representatives, agents and brokers also complete a CMS certification program and receive certification before they can start marketing those two Medicare products. If you need help, an FMO can also help you certify to sell Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug products.

Look to your centers of influence

The relationships you’ve made in the industry, whether that be with CPAs or marketing firms, are valuable sources of information. They can also serve as referral generators, so be sure to keep dialog going about trends and clients.

Keep your current clients in the loop

When you see a disruption on the horizon, communicate it with your existing base of customers and address any fears or concerns they might have. Don’t forget - competitors may also be willing to leverage disruption by going after your clients, so be sure to keep them up-to-date with what they need to know to maintain trust!

Seek out inspiration and get creative

See the glass half full. Look for a creative solution to the obstacle in front of you. It may derive from an unlikely source, so never stop learning! Read the news, hire an FMO, and be open to being influenced by what people in the Medicare market may have to say.

Change will almost always feel uncomfortable. Although the ACA chaos may seem like too much to handle right now, the good news is that it’s all going to be okay. Something great is right around the corner and you have to have the tenacity to seize it.

Make the most of the commotion and give one of our expert marketers a call today at + 1 (800) 998-7715 to learn more about how you can enter the Medicare market.

Additional Updates:

Tags: Obamacare, Medicare, New Business Opportunities, ACA, New Markets

Facebook Page Reviews: Valuable Real Estate You're Losing Deals On

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 @ 04:45 PM


While surfing Facebook, you come across a local senior market insurance agent's page and see that he or she got a couple dozen people to slap some stars down and write a pleasant sentence or two about him.

"What’s so great about that," you ask?

Facebook page reviews go beyond just twinkling stars and kind words: they provide valuable real estate that opens new doors, re-opens old ones and presents new business opportunities that weren't previously apparent.

By neglecting the reviews section on your Facebook page, you're likely losing out on deals you could be winning. So, how exactly do you begin generating revenue from this valuable real estate? Read through this post to understand core ways that Facebook page reviews can benefit you.

Generating new business from existing clients

Be proactive in collecting Facebook page reviews by asking your clients to write them. Not only will this extra outreach [hopefully] add to your collection of positive reviews, but also serve as an excellent opportunity to reconnect with them.

For example, let's say you were to contact a client asking for a review who you had previously sold a Medicare Advantage policy. The client could then inquire about a hospital indemnity product to compliment their existing MA policy. And BOOM - just like that, an existing client would bring in new business from your outreach.

Cataloging case studies  

Think of your Facebook page reviews section as an archive of case studies available to you when brainstorming new marketing materials to promote your business, such as email campaigns, presentations or proposals.

Use your Facebook page to your advantage by pointing prospects to reviews from clients facing challenges similar to their own. The larger your library, the better the odds.

Building trust with prospective clients

When a prospect stumbles upon your Facebook page, they are granted an opportunity to see what other senior clients may have to say about doing business with you.

Encourage your clients to drop by your Facebook page and vocalize their opinion upon how you were an essential and influential resource in guiding them to select a plan that best-suits their healthcare needs. Not only does this build trust with prospective clients, but also relays social proof.

While you may not have previously deemed Facebook page reviews as valuable assets in your sales process, hopefully these core examples show how they can be. Implement these practices, and you'll quickly begin winning deals you may have been previously losing.

Additional Updates:

Tags: Social Media Marketing, New Business Opportunities, Facebook, Lead Generation

4 Quick Tips to Establishing and Maintaining Your Digital Footprint via LinkedIn

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 @ 09:50 AM


"You will never get a second chance to make a first impression." - Will Rogers

With all of the technology in this day and age, you probably wouldn’t need to be physically present to make a first impression. Go ahead - Google yourself. Did you stumble across your LinkedIn Profile as the first or second result? Me too.

All thanks to LinkedIn’s SEO efforts, this means your prospective clients are getting to know some bits and pieces prior to even shaking your hand and looking into the whites of your eyes.

Hence, it is more important than ever before that your LinkedIn Profile makes a positive first impression and a lasting one, at that. To help build out the most basic parts of your LinkedIn Profile, Precision Senior Marketing is here to share 4 quick tips to establishing and maintaining your digital footprint via LinkedIn. Take a peek!

1. Upload a professional headshot

Your headshot is one of the most essential elements in establishing your LinkedIn profile. In fact, your profile is 14x more likely to be viewed by simply having a profile picture in-place and will encourage viewers to peep the rest of your profile. 

2. Develop a professional tagline

Ask yourself, how would you would answer the question, “What do you do for a living?”

Instead of ending the conversation quickly by responding with a mere, "I’m an independent insurance agent,” you should go more in-depth concerning what you actually do. Think of your tagline as a mission statement - something along the lines of: “Educating the senior market to make informed decisions around their healthcare needs”. It is far more intriguing.

3. Provide a summary

Start with your value proposition

Utilize the first paragraph of your LinkedIn Profile summary to provide a quick, high-level overview of the type of work you do - without all of the details. This is not the place for senior market insurance industry jargon.

Add humanity

Following your value proposition, you have the chance to make a real connection with your prospects by showing your human side in the second paragraph. Write your LinkedIn Profile summary as you speak rather than in third person. Reflect and ask yourself, “What do my clients and I have in common?"

  • Shared interests
  • Shared values
  • Sense and pride within community
  • Volunteering experience
  • Volunteering opportunities
  • Supported organizations

Implement a call-to-action

Wrap up your LinkedIn Profile summary by making it easy for your connections to find your contact information by adding it to the closing paragraph.

For example, “If you want to learn more about how I can help you choose a healthcare plan that best suits your needs, feel free to reach out via phone at + 1 (800) 998-7715 or e-mail at ccallahan@psmbrokerage.com.”

4. Customize your public profile URL

Your LinkedIn Profile will be much easier to share upon customizing your Public Profile URL. Instead of a default URL with a oodles of confusing numbers at the end, customize it to something with a nice and clean look, like this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/carolinekcallahan.

Customize your LinkedIn Public Profile URL by clicking the gear icon to update your public profile settings beneath your profile photo.

This will redirect you to your Public Profile page, where you may edit your URL on the left hand side.

When utilizing these basic four tips, just remember to stay within your company’s compliance guidelines when making updates to your LinkedIn Profile.

If you are an independent senior market insurance agent needing further direction upon establishing and maintaining your digital footprint via LinkedIn, feel free to give PSM's expert team of marketers a buzz at + 1 (800) 998-7715.

Sources: www.lifehealthpro.com, www.linkedin.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Insurance Agents, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, LinkedIn

Everything You Need to Know About the Big Changes Coming to Medicare in 2016

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 @ 04:46 PM


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Monday Medicare is expanding a major experiment in efforts to keep seniors healthy and prevent common problems that may often lead to hospitalization.

Traditionally, Medicare pays your senior clients' bills as they come in from doctors and hospitals, but in 2016 the nation's flagship healthcare program is working to seek out better ways to balance cost, quality and accessibility by coordinating basic medical care.

With Medicare’s long-term financial future in jeopardy, much is at stake. Hence, we've put together this handy, comprehensive blog to help you, as a senior market insurance professional, better understand what changes your senior clients can expect for Medicare in 2016!

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are networks of doctors and hospitals that collaborate in efforts to improve quality and lower costs for patients with chronic medical conditions.

In hopes to redefine the way medical care is delivered to those patients, ACOs have taken a more hybrid approach emphasizing teamwork among clinicians, timely preventive services and close attention to detail regarding patients’ transitions from hospital to home.

In order to receive a portion of their payment from Medicare, ACOs are critiqued upon how well they meet those goals. Measurements may include [but are not limited to] coordinating regular follow-up visits for those patients with chronic medical conditions and making sure they're keeping up with their medications as prescribed, as well as eliminating duplicate tests.

Patrick Conway, Medicare’s chief medical officer, said organizations that take more responsibility for the bottom line often do better on quality, because they have a greater incentive to keep patients healthy.

Other Notable Changes Coming to Medicare in 2016

Hip and Knee Surgery

Beginning in April, 2016, hospitals in 67 metro areas and communities will be held responsible for managing the total cost for Medicare beneficiaries' most commonly noted surgical procedure: hip and knee replacements.

The experiment will cover a 90-day window from initial doctor visit, on to surgery and later to rehabilitation.

Hospice Flexibility

Medicare beneficiaries choosing hospice benefits toward the end of their lives have traditionally had to give up most remedial care.

Under Medicare’s new Care Choices model, those terminally ill patients will be granted an opportunity to receive hospice services without giving up treatment. For example, a cancer patient could continue to get chemo.

Beginning January 1, 2016, 70 hospices will start the experiment. Another 70 will join in two years.

While Medicare’s overall goal is to improve quality while lowering cost, hospitals hold much worry concerning financial consequences and advocates for patients say there’s a potential to skimp on care.

“What we are discovering with all this change is that trying to get to value over volume is very difficult to do,” said Missouri Hospital Association's head, Herb Kuhn.

To read up on the original article, please visit: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/big-changes-coming-to-medicare-in-2016/

Sources: www.pbs.org

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare, Hip and Knee Surgery, Accountable Care Organizations, Hospice Flexibility

4 Quick Tips to Becoming a Senior Market Insurance Top Earner in 2016

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Thu, Jan 07, 2016 @ 02:49 PM


Our friends at InsuranceNewsNet recently conducted a poll to find just what, exactly, the profiles of success in the insurance industry look like. While most of their readers reported to sell products traditionally associated with insurance, many of the top tier-earning producers tended to have practices that are slightly more hybrid. Lucky for you, Precision Senior Marketing has leveraged the data from INN to give our agents four quick tips to help you get closer to becoming a senior market insurance top earner in 2016.



1. Establish an efficient work environment

While many of the lower earners reported having worked out of their home and as a lone employee in their practice, the poll results show that working in an office with at least two to five people rather than from home and alone is a common trend among the top dogs.

This one goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway to emphasize: Spending enough time in your work and career is crucial to becoming a top earner in the senior market insurance industry. So, burn that midnight oil and put in 40+ hours per week!


2. Fine tune your work ethic toward prospecting efforts

While many, if not all, readers reported a vast majority of their business to have derived from referrals, we could not stress enough how important it is to keep in touch with your current clients. With 55% of online users age 65 and over using Facebook in 2014, it is essential for you to create a Facebook Page to service and retain those existing clients. The smallest of interactions, like dropping by a client’s Facebook to post a comment celebrating another rotation around the sun, helps emphasize your appreciation for their business. Not only will your Facebook Page improve the overall client experience, but also serve as a solid foundation for prospects to gain insight toward your role as a senior market insurance specialist. If social media isn't your thing, be sure to send out a birthday card to your clients and give them a ring every once in a while.

Other ways that the top earners generate new business include forming strategic alliances with attorneys, CPAs or other financial professionals. Think outside of the box!


3. Invest more time and money into your career

While the poll results show that you can expect to hold your insurance license for about 10 years before hitting the $100k mark, there are measures you can take to help get you there at a significantly faster rate.

For example, you could diversify your portfolio by adding an array of life insurance products such as term, universal, whole from the senior market insurance industry's leading carriers.

Annuities wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

If you haven't already considered this option for the near future, you might want to look into attaining your Series 6 license, which allows you to sell variable products, like variable annuities, variable universal life insurance and variable life insurance.

According to the poll results from top earners, it's also safe to say that it certainly helps to obtain at least a few designations (i.e. Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow or Chartered Life Underwriter).


4. Partake in extra curricular activities

Many of the top earners in the poll reported high involvement with industry groups. So, join NAIFA and get out there! Network with colleagues who face similar challenges as you. See what they have to say.

It's also advantageous of you, as a senior market insurance specialist, to hold informational seminars. This will not only help with prospecting, but will also assist in displaying your genuine care and concern for educating the senior market.

If you're interested in learning more about what it takes to be a top earner in the senior market insurance industry, feel free to give one of our expert marketers at PSM a call today at + 1 (800) 998-7715. It would be an absolute pleasure to assist you in reaching an all-time high in your production. :)

To read up on the original InsuranceNewsNet story, please visit: http://www.insurancenewsnetmagazine.com/article/profiles-of-success--what-it-takes-to-be-a-top-earner-3027#.Vo7kJbHnaB8

Sources: www.insurancenewsnetmagazine.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Annuities, Insurance Agents, Life Insurance

How Will the Proposed Changes in Medicare Advantage Impact Payments?

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 @ 08:26 AM

How Will the Proposed Changes in Medicare Advantage Impact Payments?

If you’re a senior market insurance industry professional, chances are you’ve already heard about the changes that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plan to introduce to Medicare Advantage (MA) for 2017.

A new analysis from Avalere Health proposed that the suggested modifications to MA could result in large changes in payments for beneficiaries in certain geographic areas.

So, how exactly would the risk adjustment affect the pockets of your senior clients?


It adjusts plan payments on an individual basis

Through a process called risk adjustment, CMS fine-tunes its payments to plans based on the expected healthcare costs of each plan’s beneficiaries. For each Medicare beneficiary, the agency calculates a risk score that measures the expected healthcare costs for that individual. The higher the risk score, the greater the expected health care costs, and hence the greater the Medicare payments the government makes to the plan. This means that plans are paid less for a lower risk score and more for a higher risk score. The agency has proposed changes to its risk adjustment model in an effort to address underpayments for certain low-income Medicare beneficiaries (“dual eligibles”), who tend to have higher healthcare costs than other individuals.

It creates geographic adjustments in payment, called "county benchmarks"

As a result of differences in how states cover dual eligibles, the changes could increase payments for some plans, while dramatically reducing payments for others. The country benchmarks adjust payments for beneficiaries depending upon their location to account for regional variations in the cost of healthcare. In their analysis, Avalere estimates that seven of the 10 counties with the largest MA enrollment as of September 2015 would experience a lower payment rate from the proposed adjustments. For example, Los Angeles would see a decrease of 3.4 percent. Avalere experts also note that the decrease could mean substantial reductions in additional benefits for beneficiaries in this county.estimated percent change

When plans bid to cover beneficiaries within a certain region at less than the cost of the regional benchmark, the extra payment grants "rebates" that can be used to provide enhanced benefits 

The difference between the bid and the benchmark will be reduced, creating fewer opportunities for those rebate-funded benefits and, in turn, fewer additional benefits.


“Because CMS does not plan to publish the 2017 county benchmarks until April 2016, Medicare Advantage plans may want to ask CMS for this information earlier in order to determine the potential impact of these changes and whether or not they would have an adverse impact on beneficiaries,” says Caroline Pearson, Senior Vice President at Avalere.


To read up on the original Avalere Health analysis, please visit: http://avalere.com/expertise/managed-care/insights/proposed-changes-in-medicare-advantage-could-cause-large-shifts-in-payments

Sources: www.avalere.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare Advantage, CMS, Risk Adjustment

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Universe of "Why"

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Thu, Dec 03, 2015 @ 03:10 PM


Earlier this week, LifeHealthPro put out an article regarding the power of “why” in the insurance industry, which highlighted some key points found within an all-time favorite business book, “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek.

Sinek’s TED Talk on the exact subject, called “The Golden Circle”, is something most certainly all insurance agents should watch.

The simplicity of “The Golden Circle” makes the philosophy easy to understand, however many insurance agents become puzzled in the attempt to apply it to their own business.

Every insurance agent knows what they do and can clearly explain how they do it, but few know why they do it.

As Sinek so eloquently states, “Why do you get out of bed each morning, and why should anyone care?”

For us, it's because we feel that agents are the backbone of the senior market insurance industry and are committed to meeting their distribution, marketing and administrative needs on a national scale.

If you can’t answer that question confidently, PSM has crafted it into an out-of-this-world infographic to give you some help. Check it out!


To read up on the original LifeHealthPro article, visit: http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/12/01/the-power-of-why-for-your-insurance-agency

To watch Sinek's TED Talk, "The Golden Circle", visit: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en

Sources: www.lifehealthpro.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Sales Strategies, Insurance Agents, TED Talks

A Turkey Trot Down Memory Lane

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 @ 02:27 PM

A Turkey Trot Down Memory Lane with PSM

It is a much talked about fact within the PSM office that we work with the nation’s greatest senior market insurance agents. The successes of our agents are our number one focus and everything we do is conceived and designed to best serve them.

With that being said, we could not express our gratitude enough for our agents this Thanksgiving holiday. Just eight short years ago, working with 1,000 agents was a glimmer in our mind’s eye. Today, we're proud to have reached a milestone of working with 15,000 agents and are incredibly thankful for each and every one of them.

This Thanksgiving holiday, we want to take a moment to express our extreme gratitude and heartfelt thanks in a big way.

PSM was started with one simple goal: to meet the distribution, marketing and administrative needs of independent senior market insurance agents on a national scale so that their businesses could continue to flourish. Through our upcoming expansion with the addition of five new Marketing Directors and two Administrative Assistants, that goal has not changed. With every product improvement, new product release and every offering in between, we have been and continue to be laser-focused on making sure that the tools we provide our agents with will ultimately help them grow their businesses.

We're ecstatic for the upcoming 2016 year, with the growth of our business, and know that we could not have done it without our ever-growing PSM community. We are truly grateful for all our incredible agents, marketing agency partners, employees and fans.

We wish that this Thanksgiving holiday finds you with plenty of reasons to give thanks. As we celebrate our gratitude, we look forward to adding 15,000 more agents to the PSM community and leave you with one final, heartfelt thought: THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU AND FOR CHOOSING PSM!

Additional Updates:

Tags: Senior Market Success, Insurance Agents

[INFOGRAPHIC] Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 @ 09:17 AM


Over the past few years, the markets for both Medicare Advantage and Medigap have continued to skyrocket in growth with respect to enrollment rates, plan options and beneficiary satisfaction. Thus, it is imperative, more now than ever, for senior market insurance agents to have a diversified portfolio to accommodate the demands of both respective client bases. As we prepare to break into a new year, Precision Senior Marketing has crafted this handy infographic to demonstrate trends and changes within those markets so that senior market insurance agents may create an efficient game plan for 2016.


Below are key takeaways from this infographic:

Growth in Enrollment Rates

  • Medicare Advantage ↑ 9% in 2014
  • Medigap ↑ 5.7% in 2014

Popular Medicare Advantage and Medigap Plans

  • Medicare Advantage
    • HMO plans ↑ 6% in 2015
    • Local PPO plans ↑ 8% in 2015
    • Regional PPO plans are fairly flat in enrollment
  • Medigap

Overall Beneficiary Satisfaction

  • Nearly half of all Medicare Advantage plans received a 4-star or better rating out of five stars
    • 70% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are enrolled in a plan that has a 4-star rating or better
  • 9 out of 10 beneficiaries would recommend Medigap to a friend or relative to fill the gaps left by traditional Medicare
  • 94% of Medigap beneficiaries are satisfied with their coverage

Take a peep below for some further insight!


To get more information on KFF.org's "Medicare Advantage 2015 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update", visit: http://kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-2015-spotlight-enrollment-market-update/

For more information on AHIP.org's "Trends in Medigap Enrollment and Coverage Options", visit: http://www.ahip.org/epub/medigap-trends-report/

Sources: www.kff.org, www.ahip.org

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, Medigap

[INFOGRAPHIC] 2016 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles Announced

Posted by Caroline Callahan on Thu, Nov 12, 2015 @ 12:35 PM


On Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2016 premiums and deductibles for the Medicare inpatient hospital (Part A) and physician and outpatient hospital services (Part B) programs.

Lucky for you, Precision Senior Marketing has taken the time to put together the following infographic summarizing what your senior clients can expect in result from the adjustments made via the Bipartisan Budget Act singed into law by President Obama last week.

P.S. Don't be too shy to share this infographic with your clients by positing it to your Facebook page :)

Medicare Part B Premium and Deductible

  • Most Medicare Part B beneficiaries are immune from any increase in premiums in 2016 and will pay $104.90, which is the same monthly premium they paid last year
  • 30% of beneficiaries not subject to the “hold harmless” provision will pay an increased Medicare Part B monthly premium of $121.80
  • The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries will be a flat rate of $166.00

Medicare Part A Deductible

  • Beneficiaries will face a 2% increase in Medicare Part A deductible and coinsurance amounts for inpatient hospital, skilled nursing facility, and some home health care services in 2016

Premiums for Medicare Advantage and MAPD plans already finalized are unaffected by this announcement.

Find the original press release from CMS here!

To get more information about state-by-state savings, visit the CMS website at: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-11-10.html .

For more information on the 2016 Medicare Parts A and B premiums and deductibles (CMS-8059-N, CMS-8060-N, and CMS-8061-N), visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection

Sources: www.cms.gov

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Premiums

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