It’s that time of year again, but this time many of you who sell Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplements will see that rate increases are significantly higher than usual. Click the links below to view the new rates for your state(s).
Mutual of Omaha Companies Med Supp Rate Increase Info is for the following states (April 2010):
AL, AR, AZ, CT, IL, KY, MI, ND, OH, OR, SC, SD, and TN
Ohio (April 1, 2010):
Missouri (April 1, 2010):
WellPoint Announces Rate Increases Between 25% - 39% in California
And if you think these are high, they aren’t as bad as those found in the under 65 market. This past week, WellPoint CEO Angela Braly addressed a U.S. House subcommittee regarding insurance rate increases of 25% to 39% announced by her company’s Anthem Blue Cross of California.
Committee Democrats argued that Anthem e-mails demonstrate that the company seeks to increase its profit margin and to reduce coverage. The politicians pointed out that in 2008, WellPoint paid $115 million to 85 senior executives, and compensated 39 executives more than $1 million each. The company also spent over $27 million on 103 executive retreats.
Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information
“Nobody wants to read your copy.”
This is the cold, hard truth about advertising according to popular copywriter Steven Pressfield, and I believe him.
There is a phenomenon in the advertising industry called “Client’s Disease.” Essentially every client, whether that client is your own organization or an external customer, mistakenly believes that because it cares about the product it’s advertising everyone else will as well.
The harsh reality is that no one cares, and it’s not because they are mean or have a grudge against you or your organization, it’s just that they have better things to do, such as solving their own problems.
Knowing and accepting this fact is half the battle in advertising. The other half is capitalizing on it by communicating to your audience that you can solve those problems. This is the only way to get your audience to even give your ad or website a few seconds of consideration. Though there is no concrete evidence, most experts agree that most people spend about 10-15 seconds to glance over a communications piece before deciding to continue to look into it or reject it. So it’s critical that your copy and other elements are finely tuned for maximum effect.
Here are 10 tips to enhance your copywriting so that your audience gets the message and decides to stick around long enough to buy into what you are selling.
1. Know your audience. More specifically, know what problems they want to solve. Also, know their demographics, interests, political affiliations, and other relevant info that can help you craft your message and gain their attention.
2. Communicate how your product or service solves your audience’s problem. Whether it’s protecting assets through insurance, increasing retirement income through an annuity, or getting the highest commission percentage possible, your audience has a need and it’s your biggest priority to tell them how you can meet it.
3. Explain why you are better than their other options. As an insurance agent or broker, you obviously have to deal with a lot of competition. So right after you tell your audience how you will solve their problem, you need to tell them why you’re their best option. Be very specific with this.
4. Tailor your message to the medium. One piece of copy isn’t going to universally work for all mediums. In fact, you may need a whole new message depending if you are communicating your message through a Google Ad, direct mail, e-Direct, or website.
5. Call them to action. Once you’re done explaining, it’s time to get your audience to respond. Whether it's getting them to call you, landing them on a specific page, or getting them to sign up, you need to tell them what is the first step they can take in solving their problem.
6. Be honest. Though everyone expects some exaggeration or puffery during the sales process, you must be careful to not step over the line into illegal territory that may lead to an expensive suit that can wreck your business.
7. Keep it concise. Keep your message as brief as possible and only focus on the audience and the solution they seek. No one cares about your rags to riches story or how your business has been around since the horse and carriage days.
8. Stay on message. If you are promoting solution X, then don’t get side tracked by also trying to promote solution Y that isn’t relevant to the problem. If you can get them to buy solution X, you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to promote solution Y.
9. Avoid clichés. People can immediately see laziness, especially in writing. If you’re using over-used and tired phrases or wording, such as “Step up to the plate and sign up now!” then your audience will tune you out, and you'll see your credibility diminished.
10. Proofread… and then proofread again.
As you can see, we have implemented both minor and major changes to our site to improve both the design and functionality of our site. We’ve implemented our new logo and color scheme, a new homepage design, added a drop down navigation bar, and most significant of all, we’ve added a new agent resource page that consolidates an array of useful information for you in one spot.
With all the changes to Medicare this year, we’ve created a dedicated Medicare 2010 information page that breaks down everything you need to know in an easy to digest format. We’ve created a tabbed panel for you to easily switch between the different types of information. On this dedicated Medicare 2010 information page you will find a concise overview, a tabled breakdown of all the plans, a list of Frequently Asked Questions provided by Mutual of Omaha, and links to major Medicare websites. We will update this page with any new info that may arise, so we recommend checking this page periodically. Here is a direct link to the page:
Our resources page features the same tabbed panel structure for clear and easy to access information. On this page you will find a link to the aforementioned dedicated Medicare 2010 information page, a link to our E&O partner, links to helpful technology sites, information on incentives and events, information and links to educational resources, links to major news sites, and a convenient list of carrier contact info. We are always seeking the best resources for our agents; so when we discover them, know that we’ll post that information here first.
At PSM, we’re always trying to improve our service to our agents, so we appreciate any feedback you may have on any of the changes we’ve made.
According to a report released Thursday by the Community Oncology Alliance and Avalere Health, Medicare currently only pays 56% of chemotherapy expenses and will further decline by 20% down to 45% in 2013. The report states that the average oncology practice currently loses $500,000 a year and many are being forced to pass on some or all of their losses onto patients with private insurance.
The Reuters article from which this post is sourced, interviewed Dr. Shannon Penland of Jefferson Medical Associates in Laurel. Mississippi. Dr. Penland explained that the more business she took in, the more money was lost. In just eight months since starting she amassed a $300,000 debt. She later went on to state that treating cancer is threatening the entire practice, and that she is considering leaving cancer care and going into internal medicine.
The report concludes that many cancer centers are losing money on patients and predict many will be forced out of business. The report also identified that patients in rural areas are the most likely to see their cancer treatment centers closed first. One other thing to note about the report is that it mentions that the cuts to Medicare will threaten other specialties in the medical field as well.
Special Notice: Big changes are coming to psmbrokerage.com. Over the next few days we will be making changes to our site. This will not affect functionality of our site, however you may see some visual inconsistencies during the process. The changes we are making aim to improve site navigation, provided added content, and refresh the overall look of the site.