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Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

Carly Callahan

Inbound Marketing Specialist at Precision Senior Marketing
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[INFOGRAPHIC] 2016 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles Announced

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

2016_MEDICARE_PARTS_A__B.png

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

Everything Your Senior Clients Need to Know About the Budget Deal

Posted by Carly Callahan on Thu, Nov 05, 2015 @ 02:52 PM

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On Monday, November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law a two-year budget deal that diverts a spike in Medicare Part B premiums, but conversely wipes out billions in potential future Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program benefits for Baby Boomers.

While the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 has certainly granted much needed relief to nearly 15 million Medicare beneficiaries by lessening premium and deductible Part B increases, its approval has triggered an undesirable response to upcoming SSDI program changes.

Whether or not your clients will be negatively affected by the budget deal all comes down to one very important criterion: While the reforms within the budget deal are projected to save the SSDI program $168 billion over 75 years, seniors who rely upon implementing certain strategies to increase the amount they’ll get from SSDI will ultimately lose if they fail to rethink their retirement plans.

So, what are those strategies to disappear in just six short months and how can your clients get through this?

Saying “goodbye” to the “file and suspend” strategy

One strategy, commonly referred to as “file and suspend”, has meant an extra $10,000 to $60,000 in SSDI benefits for some married couples age 66 to 70. Under current law this strategy allows you to sign up for benefits at age 66, but not claim them. For four years those unclaimed benefits will grow at the rate of 8% per year through delayed retirement credits. In the meantime your spouse may immediately begin collecting half of your check starting at age 66. (Divorced persons may utilize the strategy if they were once married for 10 years and are currently single.)

Restricting a restricted claim of spousal benefits

Author of A Social Security Owner’s Manual, Jim Blankenship, believes divorced people “will be the big losers” due to the dismissal of the “restricted application” strategy. Under current law this strategy allows you or your spouse to file just for spousal benefits at Full Retirement Age and then let his or her own retirement benefits continue to grow.

The end to the lump sum

Senior policy analyst Web Phillips of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) says the end of the lump sum SSDI benefits is another “good deal that goes away” in 2016.

Under current law if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness at age 68 you may collect a lump sum SSDI check for the benefits you had suspended over the past two years. Under the new law this would not be the case – you could certainly begin getting retirement checks immediately, but you sure wouldn’t get a check for those back payments.

What should senior couples do regarding the change?

  1. Take a close look at your potential benefits.
  2. Decide whether it makes sense to implement a file and suspend approach.

David Leland, a managing director of Merrill Lynch in Beverly, Massachusetts advises seniors to refrain from panicking. In the future spouses will have a choice of the larger of either their own benefit or the spousal benefit when applying for SSDI benefits. Any benefit they choose they “are stuck with”, said Leland.

 

While your clients may have already seen headlines disclosing relief to their Medicare Part B premium and deductible (to rise by 15% opposed to the projected 52%), it is important to inform them of the above information regarding the vanishing of strategies to SSDI benefits to come. Checking up on and reaching out to your current clients to share news of this political and economic reform could be a wonderful platform for you to display your appreciation for their business. By doing so you’re essentially dropping by to say, “Hey, Mrs. Smith! I thought of you when you read this and how it could affect your and Mr. Smith’s financials.”

A.K.A. “Hey, I really care about you!”

 

Want to keep up-to-date with more stories like these? Give Precision Senior Marketing's Facebook page a “Like”, follow us on Twitter and request to join our LinkedIn group, titled "Senior Insurance Agents", providing a central exchange for information among insurance agents. to stay informed! :)

 

http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2015/11/3/obama-signs-twoyear-budget-deal-with-aca-medicare-provisions

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/11/02/relief-on-medicare-premiums-but-you-may-have-just-lost-a-way-to-max-social-security-benefits/print/


Sources: www.californiahealthline.com, www.forbes.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare Part B, Social Security, Retirement Planning

Medicare Scare De-Fanged

Posted by Carly Callahan on Fri, Oct 30, 2015 @ 10:55 AM

lamp-halloween-lantern-pumpkin.jpg

The Senate voted early Friday morning to approve a two-year budget deal intended to spook years of gridlock and frequent scares of government shutdowns.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the agreement [pumpkin] patched by the White House and congressional leaders.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 extends the nation's debt limit through 2017 and mummifies spending levels through September of that year to keep things under wraps. It also lifts the spirits of ghostly spending caps set in place in 2011, providing for $80 billion in sequester relief.

The agreement includes long-term entitlement comebacks to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program — the first major boo-merang to Social Security since 1983 — and frightens a spike in Medicare B premiums for millions of seniors.

Once signed, 15 million older Americans will face a Part B premium increase of roughly 17 percent opposed to the projected 52 percent, easing pain in the neck for beneficiaries.

It's all grave-y for “held harmless” Medicare beneficiaries, as they will not see an increase in their Medicare Part B premiums due to a provision of federal law that draws blood for premiums from Social Security benefits.

The Part B deductible, which covers costs if Medicare beneficiaries are coffin and need to see a doctor, will rise to $167 rather than the $223 proposed.

To cover the cost of moderating the Medicare Part B premium increase, the U.S. Treasury will lend money to the Medicare blood bank.

To repay the loan, beneficiaries will pay a premium surcharge of three bones each month over about five years until 2021.

 

On behalf of the PSM staff, we wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween filled with unlimited amounts of candy corn and other delicious treats. In the case that you over-indulge on sweets, have no fear: We've got the perfect dental and vision product for you with no waiting periods on all services!

 

Original sources:

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/senate-approves-two-year-budget-deal-sends-bill-obama-n454311

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2015/10/27/budget-deal-blunts-but-doesnt-erase-increase-in-medicare-premiums/

 

Sources: www.nbcnews.com, www.washingtonpost.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Congress, Medicare Part B, Premium Increases

Federal Health Officials Bob-and-Weave to Prevent a Low Blow from Medicare Part B Premium Increases

Posted by Carly Callahan on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 @ 03:22 PM

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In hopes of a TKO in projected Medicare Part B premium increases for the coming year, congressional leaders and the White House have wrapped up their hands, thrown on their gloves, and forged a tentative budget agreement to go toe-to-toe with the pressing issue.

Under current law nearly 15 million Medicare beneficiaries, who do not collect Social Security and will be enrolling in Medicare’s Part B next year for the first time, either have incomes great enough that they are charged higher premiums, or are poor enough that they also qualify for Medicaid, are about to be sucker punched with an increase of more than 50 percent in their standard monthly Medicare Part B premiums.

If Congress throws in the towel at the main event and agrees on the tentative budget agreement, those 15 million older Americans will face a Part B premium increase of roughly 17 percent opposed to the projected 52 percent.

“Held harmless” Medicare beneficiaries will not see an increase in their Medicare Part B premiums due to a provision of federal law that links premiums to Social Security benefits.

Also, the Part B deductible, which affects all Medicare beneficiaries, will rise to $167 rather than the $223 proposed.

To cover the cost of moderating the Medicare Part B premium increase, the U.S. Treasury will lend money to the Medicare trust fund.

To repay the loan beneficiaries will pay a $3 premium surcharge each month over about five years until 2021.

On Tuesday AARP praised the agreement and urged Congress to adopt it rather than face the brawl.

We'll keep you up-to-date with coverage on Congress’s response to the open invitation.

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/federal-health-officials-bob-and-weave-prevent-low-blow-callahan

Original source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2015/10/27/budget-deal-blunts-but-doesnt-erase-increase-in-medicare-premiums/

 

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Congress, Medicare Part B, Premium Increases

3 Reasons Why Senior Market Insurance Agents Should Be Utilizing Facebook

Posted by Carly Callahan on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 @ 03:44 PM

Facebook-logo

Just recently, a research study conducted by Limelight Network, Inc. has concluded that Baby Boomers are spending more than 15 hours online per week, making them the majority power users online. With 55% of seniors on Facebook in 2014, implementing a Facebook marketing strategy should no longer be an afterthought for senior market insurance agents. Companies of all sizes from every industry have made the leap into Facebook and are actively planning strategic campaigns around their social activity, but senior market insurance agents have seemingly lagged behind.

Why is this?

Is it a lack of understanding about social media as a whole and how it integrates with marketing efforts?

Or, could it be somewhat of a fear of compliance with regulations set standard by CMS?

These obstacles should not stand in the way of building up Facebook marketing strategies, as they are all easily overcome. See, there's a lovely void of which YOU can take advantage: There aren't very many agents in the game and the bar for Facebook marketing strategy is set pretty darn low. With that in mind, let’s get into the three reasons why senior market insurance agents should be utilizing Facebook.

1) It helps you to better service and retain your existing clients

The rapid pace of consumer and technological change is like nothing seen before. Access to digital technologies has equipped consumers with the ability to research, read reviews, share recommendations and get instant answers to their inquiries. In turn, it’s caused much disruption to traditional insurance business models and has created quite a significant change in consumer expectations and behaviors.

Facebook is a great way to spread the word about the social, political and economic industry trends and changes. For example, there's plenty of misleading or confusing information on the Internet about Medicare - think about ways in which you can use your Facebook page to positively impact clients and the public to combat this. Be conscious of articles that may come across your eyes, such as those elaborating upon the rising Medicare Part B Premiums or the pressures mounting for Medicare drug benefits, and be sure to share your ideas upon them with your audience. The idea here is to limit self-promotional posts and instead focus on ways that help clients make sense of the abundance of product information, as your Facebook marketing strategy should not revolve around selling a product or a service.

2) It improves the overall client experience

To keep up-to-date with your clients and gain insight, use your Facebook as a way to inform, assist, and entertain them.

Engage with them. Show off your personality. Humanize your business as a senior market insurance agent. Respond to reviews and inquiries.

3) It will attract new clients

Apparently, Baby Boomers are spending more time online per week than we do sleeping each night. With that being said, it’s a no-brainer that Facebook can serve as a great way to reach prospective clients. Plus, as mentioned above, not many other senior market insurance agents have implemented their own Facebook marketing strategy.

Use Facebook as a platform to raise awareness to your business as a senior market insurance agent, or (if you have a personal website) to drive prospects toward landing pages so that you can nurture those leads into becoming clients. Your Facebook posts should be relevant, well-written and accompanied by media to grab your audience's attention. The sky is the limit here - Explaining the enrollment process through infographics, guiding them to video resources that may explain Medicare a little more in depth, etc.

 

No matter which segment your specialty lies within, whether it's Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage, Annuities or Final Expense, your Facebook marketing efforts will relay social proof that emphasizes your role as a highly-trusted, impartial advisor. When it comes down to it, this is what will get you shares, likes, retweets and favorites - in turn, landing you more referrals!

As the number of seniors on Facebook continues to evolve, more reasons for you to get started on your Facebook marketing strategy will come about. If it helps, you can always search around for other insurance agents on Facebook and get a sense for what they’re posting. Jot down some notes of what resonates with you versus what feels a bit off. After you get comfortable, you’re ready to create your Facebook page and start engaging with your clients on Facebook.

For ideas on what to post, or to stay up-to-date with industry trends and changes, be sure to like Precision Senior Marketing on Facebook! :)

Your senior market insurance business will flourish for years to come.


https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/3-reasons-why-senior-market-insurance-agents-should-caroline-callahan

 

Source: www.linkedin.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare, Insurance Marketing, Social Media Marketing

The Ultimate Annual Enrollment Period Check List

Posted by Carly Callahan on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 @ 10:15 AM

The Ultimate AEP Checklist

With thousands of seniors RSVP’ing for AEP each day and nearly three months of non-stop shows this fall tour, Precision Senior Marketing wants to help get you ready to rock!

So, have you created the perfect set list to shake up your Medicare sales this AEP?

Take a peep at this ROCKIN' SlideShare, sharing all items ‪senior market‬ ‪insurance agents‬ need to take care of prior to their big show.

Best of luck this enrollment window and we look forward to offering you the products, training and resources to make your business a success. - The PSM Team

http://www.slideshare.net/CarolineCallahan/the-ultimate-annual-enrollment-period-check-list-53887521

 

Source: www.slideshare.net

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare Advantage, MAPD, PDP

How to Become a Senior Market Insurance Rock Star

Posted by Carly Callahan on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 @ 10:56 AM

How to optimize your local reach to attract new clients

We've all fallen victim to a burnout of prospecting ideas at one point or another.

Agents- You know what I'm talking about...When you've gotten a big, fat 0% return on your direct mail drop investment, knocked on ten doors to hear "I think I'll stay with my company" in all ten instances, cold-called all of the leads you've purchased this quarter until you were blue in the face to only frustratingly be hung up on. You get it.

With AEP around the corner, you're in need of some fresh, innovative ideas to attract prospects and generate leads- So, what are the tricks in expanding your senior market insurance business to reach an all-time rock star status in your community?

How to optimize your local reach to attract new clients

1. Adopt an omni-channel approach

Embracing the growth of new digital and omni-channel capabilities provides clients and prospects with what they desire: convenient access to advice and assistance. The first step toward better-serving this need is to establish your digital presence.

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 your 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.

While nearly 33% of participants in GenRe’s recent study: The Role of the Agent in Medicare Supplement Sales reported seeking assistance and not receiving any type of help, it is critical for you, as a senior market insurance specialist, to affiliate your name and business with the zip code you serve on search engines. Suggestions upon how you may go about getting in touch with those senior prospects looking for advice-oriented services include creating a Google My Business account, registering for a free membership with AgentReview, becoming a Sub Moderator on Reddit for r/insurance, and, if applicable, financially and educationally investing in SEO practices for your personal website.

2. Facilitate interactions with advice-oriented sales and services

Outside the realm of selling senior market insurance products, it is in both your and the client's best interest to offer advice on risk management and value-added servicing (such as claims). In doing so, you will continuously build rapport within your community as a senior market insurance specialist so that prospects know where to turn when the time comes.

Digitally, there are multiple platforms for senior market insurance agents to engage with not only prospects who need advice, but also other agents, such as Insurance-Forums and the Inbound Insurance Marketing community on Google+.

You may also go about prospecting by physically placing promotional advertisements or branded products within local facilities with respect to senior market purchasing habits. For example, heading to an independently-owned golf course and asking the owner if he or she would be willing to accept a donation of 1,000 (or more) score cards if, in exchange, you were granted the opportunity to place a small ad upon them in the printing process. Same goes for bookmarks to book stores, calculators to tax centers, piggy banks to banks, coffee mugs to coffee shops or restaurants, coasters to furniture stores- etc.

I have also seen posts within Insurance-Forums regarding agents' technique in placing ads upon prescription bags at local pharmacies. I, however, am an out-of-the-box thinker and decided to get creative, ditch a logo and throw in a catchy slogan upon senior-related products to place at the pharmacy pick-up window for our independent agents with multiple carriers. Take a peek at these ideas:

Promotional idea to attract prospectsPromotional idea to attract prospects

Check out AnyPromo and see what awesome ideas YOU can come up with to promote your business. (If you happen to be reading this before 10/17, be sure to use coupon code: PINK25 for $25 off your order of $250 or more or PINK75 for $75 off your order of $500 or more!)

3. Leverage data to achieve insight-driven actions and outcomes

Be sure to keep up-to-date with the political, social and economic trends and changes within the senior market insurance industry. You may do so by bookmarking and frequently revisiting resources, such as LifeHealthPro's Boomer Market and Senior Market sections, SeniorJournal, AARP's Medicare section, The New York Times' Medicare section, and most certainly the Medicare and CMS blogs.

Or, just simply subscribe to Precision Senior Marketing's Medicare Blog- We'll do the leveraging work for you, but we want to hear your ideas!

So, how do YOU prospect in your community?

Please, share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-become-senior-market-insurance-rock-star-caroline-callahan

Source: www.linkedin.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Insurance, Senior Market, Prospecting new clients

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