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Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

Jeremy Davis

Recent Posts

Medicare Open Enrollment Is Fast Approaching - Here's What We Know So Far

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Oct 03, 2014 @ 10:26 AM

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There will be somewhat fewer plans to pick from this year, but in general people will have plenty of options, experts say. And although premiums aren’t expected to rise markedly overall in 2015 - and in some cases may actually decline - some individual plans have signaled significantly higher rates. Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released some specifics about 2015 premiums and plans, many details about provider networks, drug formularies and the like won’t be available until later this fall. Here’s what we know so far about Part D and Medicare Advantage.



Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

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Tags: Medicare open enrollment, medicare enrollment october 15th, medicare deadline october 15 2014

New Med Advantage Guidelines Implemented OCT 1st

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 @ 09:57 AM

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Due to the combined efforts of MA plan sponsors working with AHIP, CMS has revisited the telephonic guidance that was issued on August 14, 2014 which prohibited agents from calling existing enrollees to discuss other plan options (Section 70.6). CMS announced last night that they have decided to rescind this guidance. AHIP was able to convince CMS of the many benefits that our agents are able to bring to Medicare beneficiaries by discussing the new, potentially cost saving plan options available to them.

CMS has made the decision to revert to their previous guidance which states Plans/Part D Sponsors may do the following:"Call members to promote other Medicare plan types, (e.g., sponsors may contact their PDP members to promote their MA-PD offerings; sponsors that are also Medigap issuers may marketing their MA, PDP, or cost plan products to their Medigap customers), and discuss plan benefits."

This change is effective immediately and the Medicare Marketing Guidelines will be updated to reflect this change when the next version of the guidelines is published.

This means beginning October 1 you may call your current members and talk about other plan options for 2015! You can also set appointments now to meet with your members after Oct 1, without discussing any 2015 rates or benefits.

Click here to view the official announcement document

Click here to see the Medicare Advantage companies available thru PSM

Source: Humana

Additional Updates:

Tags: New Medicare Advantage Guidelines 2015, New Medicare Advantage Guidelines 2014, New Med Advantage Rules

Medicare vs. ACA Exchanges (A Q&A Document)

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 @ 09:16 AM

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There's a lot of confusion among many Baby Boomers (and the occasional insurance industry professional ...) about Medicare and how/if/when it integrates with the ACA's Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchanges). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services just issued new guidance that is as beneficial for agents and marketers as it is for consumers:



Source: http://www.cms.gov

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Tags: medicare vs aca exchanges, medicare services, medicaid services, medicare integrate with aca health insurance

Final Expense Sales: $400 in 2013

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 @ 08:54 AM

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In a positive piece of news for the life insurance industry, it has been reported that final expense insurance sales reached nearly $400 million in 2013. The Life Insurance Council and CSG Actuarial conducted a survey of 25 insurers, finding that final expense insurance new premium totaled nearly $400 million in 2013, representing 613,000 policies.

“The final expense market has great potential. According to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute research, 1.5 million Americans are projected to retire each year until 2025 and many of them will need the protection final expense insurance will provide,” noted Jeffrey S. Shaw, LIC executive director. “We are seeing renewed interest from larger insurers, as well as new firms entering the market.”



Source: http://www.lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: Final Expense, Medicare Supplement, Life Insurance Council survey

Sorting Out Medicare Enrollment Dates

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Sep 05, 2014 @ 11:10 AM

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Medicare has many enrollment periods for the various parts of Medicare. These enrollment periods provide beneficiaries with the chance to get Medicare coverage, but the different periods and their acronyms can be confusing for agents, marketers and beneficiaries alike.

A beneficiary who doesn’t act carefully may miss a window of opportunity to have various parts of Medicare coverage and face a waiting period to get coverage, incurring high out-of-pocket costs in the interim as well as paying lifelong penalties. By understanding Medicare enrollment periods, agents and marketers can help their clients avoid these problems.

Click on Graphic Below to Enlarge



Source: http://www.onefpa.org

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare Supplement, medicare enrollment, medicare deadline

19 things to know about Medicare Advantage

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 11:01 AM

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Medicare Advantage (formerly known as Medicare+Choice) permits contracts between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and a variety of different private managed care and fee-for-service entities. Most Medicare beneficiaries may choose to receive benefits either through the original Medicare fee-for-service program (Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)). Main types of Medicare Advantage plans include:

  • Coordinated care plans, including Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), and Provider-Sponsored Organizations (PSOs).
  • Private fee-for-service plans which reimburse providers on a fee-for-service basis.
Click on the link below to view all 19 things every agent should know about Medicare Advantage.




Source: lifehealthpro.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage information, Medicare Advantage blog

Getting the appointment: Use a well-practiced script

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

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Most financial professionals are really good talkers. We like people and we tend to be out-going and friendly.

This trait is important when you are in a relationship-oriented business. However, sometimes your natural ability to talk does not work for you on the phone.

When setting an appointment with a new prospect, it is critical to come across in a professional manner. Although you want to sound natural and friendly, that does not mean eliminating a script. It means having a script that:

  • says what you want it to
  • sounds like you and the way you normally talk; and
  • has "natural-sounding" sentences that get your point across.
The challenge starts with your script. If you write a "literary" script that would work for an SAT exam, then it won't come across in a conversational way. So the trick to sounding natural is to write the script and then PRACTICE!!

I conduct role-playing sessions with several agencies. I am appalled that someone who professes to be a financial professional would get on the phone without knowing what they are going to say. And the newer you are, the less you can fake your way through a call.

I hear producers say many, many good things over the phone, but when they aren't linked together properly (i.e. having a beginning, middle and end that matches my ABCDEFG format) the impact of the words gets lost.

You have to clearly identify yourself based on your relationship to the prospect; then:
  • tell them why you are calling (and it's not to get the appointment);
  • mention the idea of getting together; and
  • give them the benefit of the appointment. Don't interrupt the flow with a yes-no question ("Does that interest you?") or you lose control of the call. You end with your alternative choice close and then you are done. Then wait to hear their response.
If you think you sound scripted, then improve your delivery. Don't throw out the structured format just because you haven't mastered your use of it!

You can be sure that if your managers and peers think you sound like you are ad-libbing, then the prospect hears it too. Ad-libbing does not come across as friendly; it sounds like you are grasping for words and that reduces the professionalism of your call.

Write a good script, practice it so you can "talk" it, then make your calls!

Keep smilin' and dialin'




Source: lifehealthpro.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare Supplement, How to get an appointment with a client, sales advice

Boomer Retirement Confidence Slips

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 @ 09:50 AM

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According to a report released by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), baby boomer confidence in their financial preparedness for retirement dropped nine percent, from 44 percent in 2011 to 35 percent in 2014. When compared to 2013, only 35 percent of boomers are extremely or very confident that they are doing or did a good job preparing for retirement in 2014.

However, the report points out that there are signs of optimism among boomers, mainly related to having enough money to cover medical expenses and that their financial situation will continue to improve: 42 percent said they expect things to improve in five years, compared to 33 percent in 2013.

Another good indicator that the report shed light on is that boomers working with advisors tend to have more confidence in their expectations towards retirement. The survey interviewed a total of 800 participants between the ages of 51 and 67 from January 17 to 20, 2014.

You can find the full report here. View more highlights from the report in our infographic below.



Source: lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: Boomer Retirement, Insured Retirement Institute, Baby Boomer Medicare Stats

Medicare Drug Premiums to Rise for Second Year

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Aug 08, 2014 @ 11:13 AM

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Medicare says premiums for prescription drug plans will rise in 2015 for the second year in a row. Officials said Thursday that Medicare's average monthly drug premium will rise next year to $32. The modest increase of $1 a month comes amid worries over the future impact of costly new medications.

Sovaldi, for example, cures hepatitis C but costs $1,000 a pill. Most Medicare beneficiaries have prescription drug coverage. But consumers should pay attention because the average premium says little about what any one person pays. Premiums change every year, so consumer advocates say beneficiaries should check their plan during open enrollment, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and seek better deals if they're not satisfied.

This year, the average premium also went up by $1, after three stable years.


Source: miamiherald.com

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Tags: Medicare Supplement, med supp, medicare drug premiums, healthcare costs rise

The Subtle Art of the Sales Follow-Up

Posted by Jeremy Davis on Fri, Aug 01, 2014 @ 09:01 AM

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Everything that happens after your customer says “yes” is what separates sales leaders from the rest of the pack. In many cases a salesperson will work for weeks or months to secure a piece of business Then the real work begins: delivering on your promises. You can be awesome in sales, and you can be a great closer, but it is far more difficult to get repeat business and referrals if you don’t excel in the art of follow-up.

Five Critical Elements of Follow-Up

    • Be a finisher; take steps to ensure that the installation of your solution is completed successfully, down to the last detail. For some reason, average salespeople tend to slack off once the order is received, while great salespeople actually redouble their efforts. It is critical to ensure that your customers get exactly what they agreed to, and that you deliver on everything you promised. Make sure things happen exactly how and when you said they would! The pay-off is enormous when customers observe that you are someone who takes care of business, which, frankly, many salespeople don’t do.
    • Don’t run and hide; make sure you are accessible during delivery and implementation. Future sales are often sacrificed because the delivery of a product/service is rife with minor issues (including poor communication) that erode the trust you have worked so hard to develop. This can largely be avoided by overseeing the process and being proactive in communicating with the customer. After a sale is made, poor salespeople take longer to return calls, answer questions, and deal with issues, which – from the customers’ perspective – is tantamount to saying, “All I really care about is my commission.” Never fail to be visible and to communicate proactively.
    • Stand up and be counted; take ownership of any problems that arise. Once a sale is made, salespeople can easily be intimidated by customer complaints. No one likes confrontation or conflict, but when issues surface, great salespeople see an opportunity to validate the customer’s decision to buy from them rather than a competitor. Poor salespeople, however, pass the blame to others – the shipping department or accounting, for example – and fail to take responsibility for solving the problem. The result is a significant loss of credibility in the eyes of the customer. Remember, to the customer, YOU are the company. If you fail to take responsibility, handle the problem, and ensure the customer is satisfied, you substantially jeopardize future opportunities.
    • Be grateful; never, EVER forget the two most important words you know: “Thank you.” Gratitude is an extremely powerful emotion – for both the giver and the receiver. Tell customers you appreciate them. Thank them for the opportunity to contribute to their successes. There is absolutely no downside, and there is considerable upside. They feel good. You feel good. The relationship is strengthened. Since it requires very little effort, and costs absolutely nothing, it is simply inexcusable to fail to thank a customer for doing business with you.
    • Become invaluable; begin the personal marketing process. Great salespeople sell much more than a product or service; they sell themselves. To do that, they look for ways to benefit the customer beyond the products or services they provide. They create connections and deliver resources that provide additional value to the customer. This process is called “personal marketing” – the practice of reinforcing your personal brand and elevating your value to the customer. Connect your customers to other key contacts in your network. Seek out information that customers find useful and then deliver it. As opportunities arise introduce new ideas, and new product or service applications, into your customer’s business. Having done well in the first four elements of follow-up, becoming a resource to your customer is the icing on the cake.

Source: asalesguy.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: sales follow-up, closing sales, following up after the sale, Medicare Supplement

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