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30 Policy Goals for Medicare’s Future

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Tue, Aug 13, 2019 @ 03:47 PM

The Future of Medicare Blog Pic

 30 Policy Goals for Medicare’s Future

Thinking ahead to the next 30 years, it’s critically important to broadly modernize benefits in both Original Medicare and private Medicare plans. At the same time, it’s essential to pursue changes that improve how 60+ million people with Medicare navigate their coverage on a daily basis. In no particular order, here are our evolving 30 policy goals for Medicare’s future.

1. Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable

Medicare Rights supports efforts to meaningfully reduce drug prices and lower costs for both people with Medicare and the program as a whole. Potentially effective strategies include allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, increasing pricing transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain, and imposing limits on beneficiary out-of-pocket spending. Changes to the current system must be carefully considered and only adopted if they do not threaten to undermine beneficiary protections or access to medications, such as by weakening the protected classes or introducing additional, inappropriate utilization management strategies.

2. Allow Open Enrollment, Guaranteed Issue, and Community Rating in Medigap for All People with Medicare

Though Medigaps help a growing number of people with Original Medicare afford needed care, not everyone is eligible to buy the plans, and most are only guaranteed the right to do so during very limited time frames. Congress must ensure that all beneficiaries have access to affordable, high-quality Medigap policies as well as the opportunity to re-evaluate their coverage choices as their needs change. This includes extending the same federal Medigap protections to beneficiaries under 65 as those provided to beneficiaries over 65 and providing for open enrollment, guaranteed issue, and community rating of Medigap for all people with Medicare.

3. Add a Standard Medicare Out-Of-Pocket Maximum for Beneficiary Cost Sharing

Original Medicare and Part D have no out-of-pocket maximums, exposing beneficiaries to limitless financial risk. While Medicare Advantage (MA) plans do include an out-of-pocket maximum in their benefit packages, this threshold is too high—permitting costs up to $6,700 in 2019. Congress should establish a standardized, affordable, out-of-pocket maximum for Original Medicare, MA, and Part D. To both lower costs for beneficiaries and the system, this change must be coupled with efforts address the underlying problem of high drug prices.

4. Eliminate the Observation Status Penalty

Medicare beneficiaries who need post-hospital care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) may be forced to pay out-of-pocket for this care when the hospital chooses to assign them to “observation status” instead of admitting them as an inpatient. Congress should reevaluate the three-day hospital stay requirement, and all days in the hospital should count toward coverage for needed SNF care.

5. Ease Access to Medicare Low-income Assistance Programs

Medicare’s low-income assistance programs (Medicare Savings Programs and Part D’s Extra Help) were established to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities afford needed medicines. But today, complex, bureaucratic application processes and outdated eligibility thresholds unnecessarily limit participation. These policies must be modernized to reflect financial realities and to align with reforms made elsewhere in the health care system. Accordingly, Congress should ease or eliminate the asset tests for Medicare low-income assistance programs; lower and align eligibility thresholds; and integrate the programs’ application processes, qualifying criteria, and administration.

6. Address the Medicare Part D “Cliff”

Absent congressional action, an Affordable Care Act provision slowing the growth of the Part D catastrophic coverage threshold will expire after 2019. As a result, Medicare Part D enrollees with high drug costs will have to pay much more out of pocket next year, when the catastrophic coverage threshold increases from $5,100 in 2019 to $6,350 in 2020. Congress must take steps to protect beneficiaries from these higher costs.

7. Require all States to Enter Part A Buy-in Agreements

Part A Buy-in agreements are contracts between state Medicaid offices and the Social Security Administration that allow eligible individuals with very low incomes and limited assets to enroll in Medicare outside of standard enrollment periods. Not only are Buy-in agreements helpful to beneficiaries who might otherwise face higher costs and gaps in coverage, they reduce state Medicaid costs, decrease costly reliance on emergency room care, and minimize future medical expenses by ensuring that those eligible for Medicare are enrolled in the program. Congress should require all states to enter into Part A Buy-in agreements.

8. Eliminate the Two-year Medicare Waiting Period for People with Disabilities

In 1972, Congress granted Medicare benefits to people receiving Social Security disability benefits. This historic step forward was marred by an arbitrary limit, requiring that people with disabilities wait a full two years before gaining access to needed coverage. This provision was included merely to cut costs. Now, people with disabilities are at risk of lacking coverage as they wait for Medicare eligibility. They are forced to navigate two benefit start dates and obtain temporary coverage during this gap. Congress should eliminate this outdated, complicated, and confusing waiting period and allow people with disabilities access to Medicare at the same time they receive their disability benefits.

9. Ensure Parity in Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage

Medicare Rights urges Congress to ensure equity between Medicare Advantage (MA) and Original Medicare, including both the scope of services provided and programmatic spending. This includes guaranteeing equal access to all services, such as supplemental benefits, implementing reforms that will eliminate overpayments to MA plans, and halting abuses of patient categorization rules—known as “upcoding”—that some health plans engage in to secure unacceptably high payments.

10. Provide Medicare Coverage for More Home Health and Long-term Care Services

Medicare (including Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage) does not cover many long-term services and supports. And it covers help with activities of daily living, like eating and bathing, only in very limited circumstances. Reflecting broad national trends, many callers to the Medicare Rights national helpline seek help paying for this care. Congress must modernize the Medicare program to meet this growing need by expanding coverage for services that allow beneficiaries to remain in their homes and for family caregiver supports, like respite care and adult day health care, and by filling existing coverage gaps, such as eliminating the requirement that Medicare beneficiaries need skilled care and be homebound to qualify for home health coverage, as well as the “use in the home” limitation on DME.

11. Strengthen Non-Medicare Home and Community-Based Services

Because Medicare generally does not cover many home and community-based services (HCBS) and long-term services and supports (LTSS), older adults and people with disabilities rely on a constellation of other programs to fully participate in their communities, including Medicaid and the Older American’s Act (OAA). Accordingly—while developing alternative, longer-term LTSS financing solutions—Congress must ensure these programs are up to the task. This includes best positioning Medicaid to serve beneficiaries in the least restrictive, most appropriate setting by expanding the Independence at Home demonstration, reauthorizing the Balancing Incentive Program, and making both the Money Follows the Person program and the HCBS spousal impoverishment protections permanent. At the same time, Congress must adequately fund OAA and other programs that help older adults and people with disabilities maintain their health and independence.

12. Support Family Caregivers and Strengthen the Health Care Workforce

The nation’s fragmented LTSS system means that people with Medicare who desire to age in the community often largely rely on unpaid family caregivers and undervalued home care workers to do so. Congress must better support these families and paid workers, including by creating federal paid family and medical leave that recognizes caring for relatives of all ages, adequately funding annually appropriated HCBS and caregiver support programs, and recruiting and retaining a robust home care workforce.

13. Address the Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. While comprehensively addressing the root causes of and health outcomes associated with social determinants of health is a complex, long-term endeavor, there are steps policymakers can take today to more holistically meet the needs of people with Medicare. We encourage policymakers to ensure that effective approaches are equally available to all beneficiaries.

14. Cover Oral Health Care

Despite the wealth of evidence that oral health is related to physical health, Medicare excludes routine dental care from coverage. While some Medicare Advantage plans may offer dental benefits, this coverage is often limited and can be inconsistent both across plans and from year to year. To address this unmet need, Congress must add a comprehensive oral health benefit to Part B. To best reflect the evidence base and align with the scope of current Medicare coverage, this benefit should be structured to include both medically necessary procedures as well as preventive care, and subject to the same cost sharing rules as other Part B services.

15. Cover Vision and Hearing Care

Lack of hearing coverage can increase the risk of dementia and contribute to social isolation, which can in turn heighten one’s risk for depression and chronic illness. Similarly, uncorrected vision acuity loss can also cause other, significant health issues and adversely affect quality of life. Despite these troubling—and costly—consequences, Medicare does not cover many routine vision or hearing care needs. While some Medicare Advantage (MA) plans may offer supplementary vision or audiology coverage, quality and cost vary considerably from plan to plan. The absence of meaningful coverage for these basic health needs represents a stark gap in coverage for older adults and people with disabilities. Congress should add standardized, high-quality, affordable vision and hearing benefits to Original Medicare and MA plans.

16. Provide Mental Health Parity in Medicare

Medicare is not fully subject to the federal law requiring equivalent coverage for mental and physical health conditions. As a result, unequal treatment remains. For instance, Medicare caps coverage for care at inpatient psychiatric hospitals at 190 days over a beneficiary’s lifetime. This same limit does not apply to inpatient psychiatric care received at non-specialized facilities, or for non-psychiatric care. Congress should eliminate this and other barriers to care, and ensure the full range of mental health services providers are eligible for Medicare reimbursement.

17. Expand Access to Telehealth

When thoughtfully designed and carefully implemented, telehealth can facilitate cost-effective care delivery. While administrative and legislative telehealth expansions tend to focus on increasing access within Medicare Advantage, we encourage policymakers to pursue parity with Original Medicare, so that all beneficiaries can access these services. Policymakers must also ensure robust consumer protections are in place before broadening telehealth options and require plans and providers to demonstrate how they intend to address inequalities in access to the internet and devices so that telehealth benefits are available to all enrollees.

18. Pass the BENES Act

Complex Medicare enrollment rules and lack of notification cause tens of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities to face lifetime penalties, coverage gaps, and other harmful consequences. The Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (S. 1280/H.R. 2477) would help people avoid making these costly errors by modernizing the Part B enrollment process. It would ensure that people approaching Medicare eligibility receive clear and timely information about Medicare Part B enrollment rules, simplify Part B enrollment periods, and improve transitions to Medicare by eliminating needless gaps in coverage.

19. Expand Special Enrollment Period (SEP) Rights

More people new to Medicare should have access to a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), allowing them to more easily enroll in Medicare after their existing coverage ends. Currently, federal law only grants a SEP to individuals with employer-sponsored group coverage and for eight months after that coverage ends. Making SEPs more widely available would help prevent enrollment errors that often result when people transition to Medicare from other, non-employer coverage. Medicare Rights supports making SEPs available to people with pre-Medicare coverage other than employer-sponsored group health plans, including COBRA, VA coverage, retiree insurance, and Marketplace plans.

20. Strengthen Equitable Relief

Limited avenues for relief are available to those who make mistakes when enrolling in Medicare. Specifically, beneficiaries facing lifetime penalties and gaps in coverage can only remedy their situation if they can prove that an agent of the federal government misinformed them about enrollment rules. Yet many people turn to their employer or health plan—not a federal agency—when transitioning to Medicare. To provide adequate recourse for those who make honest enrollment mistakes, Congress should expand equitable relief to include misinformation from non-federal sources, such as employers, employer-sponsored or individual market health plans, and insurance brokers.

21. Reduce or Eliminate the Part B Lifetime Late Enrollment Penalty

Erroneously delaying Medicare Part B can have significant consequences—including a lifetime premium penalty. Designed to encourage enrollment when first eligible, this late enrollment penalty is also imposed on those who simply make a mistake. For as long as they have Medicare, these individuals will pay the regular monthly Part B premium plus an additional 10 percent for each year they delayed signing up. While it is important that a penalty appropriately deter anyone who might actively seek to avoid Medicare enrollment, it must not punish those who make honest mistakes. Congress should enact policies to reduce or eliminate lifetime premium penalties for beneficiaries who were misinformed or uninformed about Medicare enrollment rules.

22. Consolidate and Standardize Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans

Selecting a Medicare Advantage (MA) or Part D plan is a daunting task for many. Alarmingly, only 13 percent of Medicare beneficiaries opt to reevaluate their coverage options year to year—despite annual changes to premiums, plan coverage rules, and cost-sharing. This decision-making process is likely to become even more difficult, as plans adopt new flexibilities around uniformity and benefit design. Congress should enact legislation to consolidate MA and Part D plan choices and standardize options in order to facilitate informed beneficiary decision-making.

23. Improve Decision-Making Tools

Policymakers must ensure that people with Medicare have access to accurate, actionable, personalized information they need to make optimal coverage decisions, both initially and annually. This includes improving Medicare Plan Finder—the federal government’s primary enrollment tool—to be more accurate complete, and easy to use. Similarly, Medicare Advantage and Part D plans should be required to provide a tailored Annual Notice of Change to all enrollees. This notice should be based on claims data and clearly describe how the plan will change in the coming year.

24. Prohibit Medicare Advantage Plans from Dropping Doctors Mid-year without Cause

Beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans should be able to count on stability in their plan networks and the knowledge that their doctors will be there when they need them. Congress should pass legislation that prohibits MA plans from dropping doctors without cause in the middle of the plan year and strengthens beneficiary notice regarding provider network changes.

25. Adequately Fund Medicare Outreach Programs

Medicare State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselors—most of whom are highly-trained volunteers—provide one-on-one, unbiased, personalized counseling to Medicare beneficiaries, helping them understand their rights and coverage options. And through the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), SHIPs, Area Agencies on Aging, and Aging and Disability Resource Centers help low-income Medicare beneficiaries access programs that make their health care and prescription drugs affordable. Congress should adequately fund these programs and make MIPPA permanent in order to better meet current and future needs.

26. Improve Pharmacy Counter Communications with Beneficiaries

Knowing why a prescription drug is denied at the pharmacy counter is critical to helping beneficiaries determine their next steps—whether it is working with their physician to secure an alternative or appealing for coverage from their Part D plan. All Part D plans should be required to provide an individually tailored denial notice at the pharmacy counter, explaining why the prescription cannot be filled. Further, this notice should count as a coverage determination—eliminating a needless step in the appeals process for Medicare beneficiaries.

27. Improve Medicare Advantage and Part D Denial Notices

Among the most common calls to the Medicare Rights helpline are those from beneficiaries who were denied access to a health care service or prescription medication and don’t know how to proceed. Congress should require CMS to ensure Medicare Advantage and Part D plan denial notices include the correct information (including clinical content), are available in languages other than English, and are accessible to diverse health literacy levels.

28. Allow Independent Redeterminations

The first level of appeal following a plan’s initial decision must be a truly independent and good-faith effort to determine coverage eligibility. This would better ensure that plans are accurately effectuating their coverage determination decisions. Congress should pass legislation requiring that a plan’s initial coverage decision be reviewed by an independent entity, rather than the plan itself. In addition, overturned decisions must trigger a review of the file and necessary employee training.

29. Improve Transparency, Data Collection, and Plan Oversight

All Part D appeals conversations are hampered by limited data and transparency in the process. Beneficiaries and advocates alike can struggle not only to track an individual’s specific claims, but also plans’ or system-wide patterns that may be tied to hundreds of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries improperly going without their needed medication. Further, better data could lead to better solutions, as a more transparent system will lend itself to targeted recommendations and self-correction. Congress should require CMS to conduct and make publicly available a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the Part D appeals process. In part, this analysis should include data collection on specialty tier medications and should extend to all levels of appeals, from plans through the Medicare Appeals Council and federal court.

30. Allow Appeals on the Part D Specialty Tier

When medically necessary, people with Part D have the right to request that their plan allow them to pay less for high-cost medications when a similar, lower-cost medicine is available on their plan’s formulary—this is known as a tiering exception. Unfairly, these same rights are not granted to beneficiaries whose prescription drugs are placed on the plan’s specialty tier, where cost-sharing can be exorbitant. Congress should pass legislation allowing Medicare beneficiaries the right to a tiering exception for specialty tier medications.

Source: https://www.medicarerights.org/policy/30goals

Image: Canva

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Medicare

Aetna Medicare Retail Program

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, Aug 12, 2019 @ 01:34 PM

Aetna Retail blog

 

Aetna has just released details on their 2020 retail program and you do not want to miss out on this exciting opportunity. Below are some highlights.

Why should I participate?

  • Access to high traffic retail locations that can drive leads and sales
  • Program requirements that are more relaxed than industry norms
  • Cost efficient bundles that are competitively priced
  • Agents have the opportunity for a $100 MMS credit

How much does it cost?

  • CVS location will cost $275
  • All other retail locations will cost $175

Request details today and one of our marketing representatives with send you all the details on how to participate.

 

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, aetna, Retail Program

2020 AHIP and Carrier Certifications: Tips and Reminders

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, Aug 12, 2019 @ 11:03 AM

2020 AHIP and Carrier Certifications: Tips and Reminders

Prepare. 2020 AHIP and Carrier Certifications take time and brain power. It's a good idea to set aside a sufficient amount of time and energy to thoroughly comprehend and complete the required training.

Pace yourself. Rushing though certifications can greatly hinder you from learning essential information. It can also decrease the likeliness of passing the course. Taking small breaks between sections is an effective way to pace yourself throughout the training.

Pay attention. There are oftentimes important updates within the certification training. It is imperative that agents grasp the information being shared. These certifications also serve as excellent refreshers. Take advantage of the materials provided and challenge yourself to learn the information rather than simply pass the tests. 

Don't procrastinate! These certifications are not only helpful to you as an agent, but most are required for agents to complete in order to sell the products. The longer you wait, the more opportunities you'll miss out on.

Remember! Do not write any new business until you receive the carrier's "Ready to Sell" notification.

For more information regarding AHIP's Medicare Course, and a discount for the AHIP certification,visit our AHIP Information page

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Part D

How to decide what to write on your Insurance blog

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Fri, Aug 09, 2019 @ 01:30 PM



How to decide what to write on your Insurance blog
(Using Keyword research to find what your customers are looking for)

This is a question we get regularly when talking to agents about using their blog or social media to grow their business online.

Luckily, there is a process that takes a lot of the mystery out of it.

In this article, I’ll assume you don’t want to be an expert but just want actionable tips you can quickly put to use to get a step ahead of where you are today, and where many of your competitors are.

How do you know what your customers are looking for?

Well, in case you haven’t yet, you could ask them. I think that’s a great starting point, just don’t stop there.

Next, begin by thinking of your customers and the problems they face, as well as the questions they have when deciding to buy your product or service. Those will always be ideas that can guide you, but you can dig deeper.

If you don’t know about keyword research yet, it may be time to learn a little about it.(I expand on this below) It’s just a small component of SEO(Search Engine Optimization), but it’s a good place to start getting found online and can bring big returns. Think of it as the low hanging fruit of SEO.

It’s fairly easy to apply and there are free keyword research tools available. It’s one of the easiest and best things you can do to help your business online until you either beef up your digital marketing skills, or hire an expert to take you further.

Whether you have something specific you want to write about or not, here’s how to find out what your customers are looking for online.

Open up a Google search page and type in words, phrases or questions you think your customers might have into google, like – “how to choose a life insurance policy”, and hit search. Notice that Google will try to finish your sentences.

It does that because it knows what people are searching for and is trying to help you. It may not guess your exact term but just be aware of those suggestions for now.

Look at the bottom the page in the “Searches related to..” section. That is a list of terms of similar queries people have searched for previously. That’s a very important resource. Google is giving you suggestions based on what you, and others, are looking for.

With this as a basic setup, let’s get a little more detailed and do some keyword research.

Simple, FREE tools to help you write relevant articles and social posts

Let’s start with some basic definitions just to clarify.

keyword is a word that describes the content on your page or post best. It's the search term that you want to rank for with a certain web page or blog.

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they're closer to a point-of-purchase. These are the terms we will work with most that will bring the quickest results.

With a keyword search tool you can see the volume of any term. Meaning, you can see how many people per month are actually searching for that term. If they’re not, then your information may not be what your customers are looking for, even though you may think it is.

Download a FREE search browser tool like SEO Quake, or Keywords Everywhere. Even better, install them both. If you don't want to install a browser tool then try a tool like Ubersuggest. Another great free keyword tool that is indispensable when doing keyword research, it just won't be live in your search browser. I suggest you try them all, and more, and find what works best for you.

Once installed, and you search for a term in Google, you will see information beneath the search field at the top of the page (from SEO Quake) and the boxes on the right side of the page that were not there before, from (Keywords Everywhere).

keyword example

In the screenshot above, note the information provided for the keywords - Volume, CPC(cost per click), and Competition.  If you look below past the paid ads(the results with the little green Ad box next to them), you will find the organic search results are now numbered. This makes it easy to locate the organic search terms, and make it easier to tell what rank a search result is as you scroll through.

What you first need to pay attention to is the Volume. This is the monthly queries for the term you searched for. If there is 0, then that’s not something people are looking for. The higher the volume the more people are searching for it.

Every time you search for something it will tell you how many people are looking for that exact term per month. This is Golden Information. And, did I mention it’s FREE??

Now, this doesn’t mean that when you find a term with a volume of 100,000/month you should try to write an article to tray and rank for it. With that much competition it will be way too competitive. (More on this below)

If your website isn’t already ranking #1 for a lot of key words, or you are just starting writing content for your site, you will want to start with keywords with smaller volumes. In general, less than a thousand thousand. You will likely see the best result from searches with less than a few hundred in volume

If you see a keyword you really think is relevant but is way too competitive, just find a long tail version of that keyword with smaller volume. It takes time for your site to build the authority needed to rank for the more competitive terms.

What to look for

Search for a term in Google until you find one with a reasonable volume. Then take a look at the top 3-5 results Google shows you.

Is the content in these articles the same as what you intended for your search? If so, then look at the volume and the companies on the first results page. Are they well known, influential companies,? If so, you want to keep searching similar long tail keywords until you find a comfort zone you can compete in.

By that I mean – Instead of searching for “life insurance”-volume 368,000, search for “how to choose a life insurance policy”- volume 390. This is a long tail keyword that we discussed above and will usually have a much smaller volume, and therefore, smaller competition.

It is also much more specific. So, someone searching this term is much closer to making a buying decision than the larger volume term. These are the ideal terms you are looking for. The “People Also Search For” box will helpful here.

In general, when searching keywords, look to find results from other companies similar to yours. That’s when you know you’re in the right neighborhood. Continue to use Google’s suggestions and trying new long tail term and start a list of what terms you could write about where the volume and competition is reasonable.

Bear in mind, this is a simplification of SEO and how search engines work, but if you aren’t applying these tactics already, then starting with these simple steps will get you started on the road to growing your organic traffic.

And don’t forget to have a good call to action somewhere within the article. After educated your prospective clients let them fill out a form to schedule a call(that way you get their email) and let  them know that you are there to help them with any questions they may have. The goal is, after all, getting people to like the value you’re giving them so much, that they want to work with you.

Key Takeaway

Ok, this can get a bit dry so let’s put it all together. Doing some simple keyword research can tell you not only what people are looking for, but what google is serving up for each term and who the competition is.

The point of this exercise is, you don’t have to guess what people want to read about. Start searching for what your customers may be interested in, and let the volume of searches and google suggestions be your guide. It’s not infallible, but it is a great start.

Take a good look at the first couple articles. Google put them there because they have content that it thought was the best of the best. Read through and get an understanding of what they did, and do it even better. Add some more detail, take pieces of the top 3 or 5 articles and make a more complete article.

You’re not trying to copy, just getting an idea on what made those articles great, in Googles eyes, so you can provide even more value to your prospective clients.

It takes time for articles to rank on the first page, but when they do, they will deliver for you day after day. 

If you want organic traffic from search engines, and you should, then you need to know what people are searching for. Nevertheless, that does not mean you should never write about something that has no search volume.

You know your business best. If you know that some information is important but just doesn’t have a lot of volume, according to google, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be written. You always need to use your expertise and discernment before making a decision.

Writing and posting content is a lot like investing. The results can be slow at first, but over time it will compound and really start to add up. Hopefully you see your business as a marathon and not a sprint.

Take the time to plant those seeds today. You'll be glad you did.

Best of luck.

Additional Updates:
Social Media Marketing For Insurance Agents
14 Ways To Generate Medicare Leads
Online Enrollment Tool For Medicare Advantage
An Easier Way To Manage Your Business - Agent Xcelerator

Mutual of Omaha: New Med Supp Benefit – Mutually Well

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Aug 07, 2019 @ 03:28 PM

MOO LOGO

Mutually Well Fitness and Wellness Benefit

Mutual of Omaha is excited to announce a new benefit for our Medicare supplement policyholders coming soon. We have partnered with Tivity Health to provide our customers with a comprehensive fitness and wellness offering called Mutually Well. This new benefit allows an individual to tailor a fitness and wellness plan to meet their needs.

Customers will have access to:

  • Discounts of up to 30% on healthy living products and services from 20,000+ specialists. Examples of discounted services are chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy and nutritional programs
  • Flexible, budget friendly fitness program with access to 10,000+ fitness locations with no enrollment fee or contracts for a low cost of $25.00 a month
  • Free 30-day walking program and personalized weekly planning for their nutrition, fitness and wellness needs

A press release will be sent in a couple of weeks announcing this new benefit, and effective October 1, our Medicare supplement policyholders will have access to begin using this great benefit. Watch for more detailed information and additional resources that will be provided as we get closer to launch.

Not appointing with Mutual of Omaha? Request details here

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

State of Medicare Advantage

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Tue, Aug 06, 2019 @ 01:09 PM

 

Every day 10,000 seniors age into Medicare.

According to the US Census Bureau, the number of Americans over age 65 is projected to double over the next four decades, growing from nearly 48 million seniors today to about 98 million by 2060.1

 

By 2030, the entire baby boom generation will be older than age 65, meaning one in five U.S. residents will be over 65. In 2035, just five years later, roughly 78 million Americans will be over age 65.2

Not only is the aging population growing but older adults are also living longer, and many are living with serious chronic conditions. 67% of Medicare beneficiaries have two or more chronic conditions. Nearly all health costs are driven by patients with chronic conditions, for whom the federal government is the dominant payer. Individuals with multiple chronic conditions account for 94% of Medicare spending.3

As health care costs continue to increase and consumer costs rise, there is an urgency to improve quality and manage costs. The future of Medicare is the move away from traditional fee-for-service (FFS) models, which reimburse care based on volume of services provided. Medicare Advantage instead rewards the value of health outcomes delivered, which is essential to achieve better outcomes and better costs. Medicare Advantage, the modern, private-public option, is the future of Medicare.3

Medicare Advantage is leading the innovative use of value-based care offering beneficiaries the choice of an integrated care plan, with a focus on patient-centered primary care, early intervention, and care coordination. It means greater simplicity, affordability, and enhanced benefits to improve health and well-being for the millions of individuals.

Today, one in three Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, benefiting from a higher quality of care at lower consumer costs.4


Source: https://www.bettermedicarealliance.org/about-medicare-advantage/state-medicare-advantage

Image: Canva

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Part D

Mutual of Omaha: New Medicare Supplement Release - Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Tue, Aug 06, 2019 @ 11:27 AM

 

Mutual of Omaha has some exciting new opportunities with the release of a new Medicare Supplement in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Check out the below details for more information.

Alabama

Converting from Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company to Omaha Insurance Company

  • The paper application and outline of coverage are attached
  • Producers can start taking paper apps in Alabama on August 5th, with an application sign date of August 5th or later; however, as we have system updates to install later this month, the soonest applications can issue is August 23rd
  • Orders for paper applications may be placed starting today by calling our Sales Support team at 1-800-693-6083
  • Paper applications and outlines of coverage can be downloaded from our agent portal Sales Professional Access on August 7th
  • The e-Application will be available on August 23rd
  • The household discount is 12%
  • Commissions are not changing. New schedules will be available on Sales Professional Access soon 
  • Alabama is included in our Q3 Med supp Broker Bonus program
  • As of September 30, 2019, we will no longer accept Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement apps in Alabama    
  • An official announcement regarding this new product launch will be in Express on August 7th

Mississippi

Converting from Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company to United World Life Insurance Company

  • The paper application and outline of coverage are attached
  • Producers can start taking paper apps in Mississippi on August 5th, with an application sign date of August 5th or later; however, as we have system updates to install later this month, the soonest applications can issue is August 23rd
  • Orders for paper applications may be placed starting today by calling our Sales Support team at 1-800-693-6083
  • Paper applications and outlines of coverage can be downloaded from our agent portal Sales Professional Access on August 7th
  • The e-Application will be available on August 23rd
  • The household discount is 12%
  • Commissions are not changing. New schedules will be available on Sales Professional Access soon 
  • Mississippi is included in our Q3 Med supp Broker Bonus program
  • As of September 30, 2019, we will no longer accept Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement apps in Mississippi    
  • An official announcement regarding this new product launch will be in Express on August 7th

Tennessee

Converting from Omaha Insurance Company to United World Life Insurance Company

  • The paper application and outline of coverage are attached
  • Producers can start taking paper apps in Tennessee on August 5th, with an application sign date of August 5th or later; however, as we have system updates to install later this month, the soonest applications can issue is August 23rd
  • Orders for paper applications may be placed starting today by calling our Sales Support team at 1-800-693-6083
  • Paper applications and outlines of coverage can be downloaded from our agent portal Sales Professional Access on August 7th
  • The e-Application will be available on August 23rd
  • The household discount is 12%
  • Commissions are not changing. New schedules will be available on Sales Professional Access soon 
  • Tennessee is included in our Q3 Med supp Broker Bonus program
  • As of September 30, 2019, we will no longer accept Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement apps in Tennessee    
  • An official announcement regarding this new product launch will be in Express on August 7th

Not appointing with Mutual of Omaha? Request details here

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Humana's Medicare Advantage Enrollment Soars

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, Aug 05, 2019 @ 04:15 PM


 

Humana increased its full-year projections for Medicare Advantage growth to a “range of 480,000 to 500,00 members,” or 16% growth for 2019. That compares to a previous range of 415,000 to 440,000, the insurer reported.

Humana is the latest health insurer to tout solid profits thanks in part to seniors flocking to Medicare Advantage. Centene, WellCare Health Plans, UnitedHealth Group and Anthem have already reported record Medicare Advantage enrollment as well and Cigna will release its updated second-quarter figures on Thursday.

Medicare Advantage plans contract with the federal government to provide extra benefits and services to seniors, such as disease management and nurse help hotlines, with some even providing vision and dental care and wellness programs. And the federal government has changed rules to allow private health insurers to offer more supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage plans they sell.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2019/07/31/as-democrats-debate-humana-sees-record-medicare-advantage-growth/#229eed0e12eb

 
Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Humana, Medicare Advantage, Medicare

New Report Examines Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefit Policies

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, Aug 05, 2019 @ 03:32 PM

 

A new report from the AARP Public Policy Institute examines changes to Medicare Advantage (MA) supplemental benefit policies and the implications for people with Medicare.
 
MA plans have long been able to offer benefits beyond what is required by law. However, the Balanced Budget Act of 2018 and recent regulatory decisions, including those in the 2019 Part C and D final rule and the Final Call Letter for 2019, have greatly increased this authority.
 
Among the reforms with significant consequences for consumers are those that expand the array of benefits MA plans can offer and grant the insurers more latitude to design and target those packages.

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Part D

Medicare Plan Finder Being Updated

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, Aug 05, 2019 @ 03:10 PM

 

Process is too complex for beneficiaries to use it effectively

The CMS is planning to launch updates to its Medicare Plan Finder this month after a report from a government watchdog flagged significant usability concerns with the tool. The GAO analyzed the experience of comparing plans on MPF and found 58% of beneficiaries described the process as “difficult” while just 13% of beneficiaries said it was easy. “These selections can be difficult due to the Medicare program’s complexity, and can have important implications for beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs and access to providers,” the GAO said. This can limit a beneficiary’s ability to compare their options in traditional Medicare fully with Medicare Advantage plans, according to the report. The tool also lacks information on provider networks offered in M/A plans, which can also confuse the selection process, since it requires a beneficiary to visit individual plan websites to find that information.

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Part D

Answers to Everything Medicare

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, Aug 05, 2019 @ 02:14 PM

 

In its annual Data Book report, MedPac’s exhaustive 206-page report on All Things Medicare addresses pretty much anything and everything you ever wanted to know about Medicare. Such as: the Congressional Budget Office projects nearly half of all Medicare beneficiaries (47%) will be in a Medicare Advantage plan by 2029; Medicare paid M/A plans about $230 billion in 2018 to cover Part A and Part B services for M/A enrollees; the number of M/A plans from which beneficiaries may choose in 2019 is higher than at any time since 2012; in 2019, beneficiaries may choose from an average of 23 M/A plans operating in their county.

Medicare Advantage Enrollment: 2003-2019


In 2017, 88% of Beneficiaries Were Enrolled in Part D

 

In 2017, more than three-quarters of Medicare beneficiaries either signed up for Part D plans or had prescription drug coverage through employer-sponsored plans. Other enrollees in stand-alone PDPs accounted for 30% of all Medicare beneficiaries. Another 22% of beneficiaries were enrolled in MA–PDs and did not receive low-income subsidies.

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Part D

Medicare In The Future

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, Aug 05, 2019 @ 01:58 PM


What will the population of America look like in 2050 – and how will that affect the cost of Medicare? That’s one of the questions Politico looked at
in a recent article by Tucker Doherty, which described the “Medicare time bomb” coming, with 7 charts.

One chart, showing expected age distribution by year according to U.S. Census estimates, shows 16% of the population, 52+ million people, eligible for Medicare. By 2050, estimates are that 23.6% of the population will be of Medicare-age, at more than 98 million people.

But the real distribution change is at the very top, of the oldest Americans. While 65-years-old or older Americans will grow by 67% from now until 2050, 85-years-old or older Americans will grow by an astronomical 189%.

And with more Americans living longer, than older group will make up for a large percentage of overall Medicare spending. As we’ve previously written about, 74% of Medicare spending goes to beneficiaries with four or more chronic conditions. According to politico, “by age 85, nearly 1-in-4 has more than five chronic conditions.”

Communication can help – a recent Healthmine survey found that 46% of Medicare members receive no communication from their plans about their chronic condition, while 19% report communication occurring just once per year. Plans communicating more with their members can help control costs and prevent further expensive conditions from getting worse.

“The combination of all of these factors has set the program on a path to dramatically expand as a share of the economy,” reports Politico’s Doherty. What plans and political leaders do in the near future will have major reverberating financial effects.

Source: https://www.healthmine.com/node/109

Image: Canva

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Medicare

As Medicare population booms, MA plans eye growth opportunities

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Aug 01, 2019 @ 04:06 PM

As Medicare population booms, MA plans eye growth opportunities

 

Business is booming in Medicare Advantage, and many insurers say they have plans to grow M/A, says a new survey; 201 insurance executives who work with M/A plans found 92% were either growing or intended to grow their M/A business more quickly than traditional Medicare business lines. In 2019, 22 million people chose an M/A plan over traditional Medicare, which is about 34% of the total Medicare population. “It's a super competitive market, where you don’t have to hit that big of a critical mass number,” said Steve Krupa, CEO of HealthEdge. “If you have 10,000 to 20,000 members, you have a substantial revenue base.”

Source: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payer/survey-as-medicare-population-booms-ma-plans-eye-growth-opportunities

Image: Canva

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Medicare Advantage

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