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Lauren Hidalgo

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Keeping in Touch with Your Most Valuable Asset

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 @ 09:12 AM

Medicare Supplements The most important asset you have as an agent is your existing client base and they are essential to helping you grow your business. By taking the time and effort needed to stay in contact with those clients, your business will grow both by new sales to them through cross-marketing additional products such as Final Expense or Hospital Indemnity, and by their qualified referrals.

Many agents think that keeping in touch with the clients in their database takes too much time, effort and money. However, when you consider the return on your investment the solution is finding ways to communicate that are time-efficient, inexpensive, and effective.

Studies show that in order to keep in front of your clients you need to touch base with them approximately 14 times a year. Luckily, there are many different resources you can use when communicating with your clients. It could be through email, phone calls, snail mail, postcards, birthday and/or holiday cards, or in person meetings. There isn’t necessarily a textbook "best" or most effective way to touch base, but by mixing your communications with a variety of interesting and valuable methods works well.

Though the idea of sending out so many correspondences to each of your clients may sound daunting at first, it’s important to remember that whatever you decide to send doesn’t need to be large or expensive; It only needs to be of value to your clients. Plus, when you keep in contact with your clients a little over once a month you will remain at the forefront of their minds leading to positive reviews and referrals when talking with their friends and family.


Please give us your feedback!
What do you do to stay in front of your clients? Do you find that contacting them at multiple points during the year brings in more referrals?

 

Source: LifeHealthPro

Additional Updates:
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Tags: Sales Tips, Senior Market Advice, Customer Retention, Referrals, Creating Value, Customer Service, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement, Coventry Medicare Advantage

New Nationwide Medicare Card Scam

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 @ 09:34 AM

Medicare Supplements Nationwide, Medicare beneficiaries have been reporting scam phone calls that inform them a new Medicare card is in the mail. If your senior clients ask you about this, please advise them to hang up on these suspicious callers and do not fall for this attempt at gaining access to their personal information.

How the scam works:
A senior answers the phone and an unknown caller, usually with an accent, claims to be with Medicare or another government office. He will inform them that their new Medicare card is in the mail and they will receive it in a few days. However, in the meantime they need to set up their direct deposit so their Medicare funds can be deposited into their bank account. All they need to do is tell the caller their banking information and he will take care of the rest.

An alternative method has the caller asking the senior to verify their identity in order to receive their new card. They will ask for their Medicare card number (social security number) as well as other personal information they can then use to steal their identity.

Here’s how your clients can avoid Medicare Card Identity Theft:

  1. Don’t carry their Medicare card in their wallet. If the card is lost or stolen the scammer can use the information to commit identity theft.

  2. Don’t give their information over the Internet, over the phone, or to anyone to goes into their home uninvited. Only give personal information to doctors and providers approved by Medicare.

  3. If they suspect identity theft, or feel like they’ve given their personal information to someone they shouldn’t have, they need to call the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338.

Hopefully your senior clients won’t be targeted by this scam; however, it’s always best to be prepared in case. See Medicare.gov for more information about Medicare fraud, ID theft and other issues.


Please give us your feedback!
Have any of your clients contacted you asking about this scam? Do you warn your clients about scamming and give them tips on what not to do?

 

Source: The Banner

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Tags: Success Tips, senior market news, Quality Management, Equitable Life Medicare Supplement, Customer Service, Building Client Relationships, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement, Cigna Medicare Supplement

Proposed Bill would Pay Seniors to Say Healthy

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 @ 09:06 AM

Medicare Supplements A new bipartisan legislation was introduced last month by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that would allow Medicare to pay seniors to improve and maintain their health. The pinned Medicare Better Health Rewards program would measure the seniors' wellness using six criteria: blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco use, body mass index, diabetes indicators, and up-to-date vaccinations and screenings.

With this plan, seniors would work with their doctors during their yearly Medicare "wellness" visits to evaluate their performance and to improve their health based on the set standards. Successful beneficiaries will be eligible for up to $200 by the program’s second year and $400 by its third year.

Rob Kind, (D-Wisconsin), a co-sponsor of twin House legislation stated "This is exactly the kind of bold, concrete and common-sense legislation that we need to rein in health care spending and help our seniors live healthy lives."

The initiative would be funded by Medicare savings generated by healthier seniors. However, it's only one of the options being considered to lower the program’s healthcare costs.


Please give us your feedback!
What are your thoughts? Do you think this bill would help improve wellness and reduce healthcare costs?

 

Source: The Hill

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Tags: senior market news, Medicare News, health insurance news, health insurance industry, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, Cigna Medicare Supplement, Baby Boomers

The HHS Agrees with the NAIC on Cost Sharing

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 @ 09:09 AM

Medicare Supplements The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)'s advice not to impose a nominal cost sharing in Medicare Supplement insurance Parts C and F. Kathlee Sebelius, a former NAIC president herself, wrote in a letter to current NAIC President Jim Donelon "I value the NAIC's expertise on Medigap and other health insurance issues and the strong partnership between NAIC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This partnership has been instrumental in the effective implementation of numerous provisions of the Affordable Care Act."

The HHS had requested under PPACA that the NAIC revise the NAIC Medicare supplement insurance model to include a nominal cost sharing in Medigap Plans C and F to encourage the use of appropriate physician's services under Medicare Part B.

However, last December, the NAIC recommended against this nominal cost sharing and did not revise the standard benefit packages for these model plans. Besides studying the issue, the NAIC communicated caution with proceeding with nominal Medigap cost sharing because it could delay treatments that people really need. This would make the more vulnerable populations worse off in the long run with costly hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Also, when referencing the changes to Medigap's plan offerings that started in 2010, the NAIC stated "We are still learning the impact of these new offerings on both the Medigap market and to the Medicare program."

Despite the HHS agreeing to not go forward with these changes, the Medicare Trustee report has projected that the trust fund that finances Medicare's hospital insurance coverage will stay solvent until 2026, which is two years longer than it was projected last year. Additionally, Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D are both projected to remain funded into the foreseeable future because current law automatically provides financing each year to meet the next year's expected costs.


Please give us your feedback!
Are you glad the HHS has taken the NAIC's advice not the impose nomial cost sharing? Are you surprised by the decision or were you expecting it?

 

Source: LifeHealthPro

Additional Updates:

Tags: Medicare News, senior insurance market news, health care reform, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement

Medicare Supplement Market Projection

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 10:08 AM

Medicare Supplements The Medicare Supplement market continues to have long-term sustainability. By 2022, almost 68 million consumers are expected to be enrolled in Medicare. The recent growth in the Medicare Supplement market can be attributed to the number of Medicare enrollees growing by 11%, as well as a recent slowdown in the growth of Medicare Advantage enrollments. Additionally, employers have continued to remove Medicare-aged retirees from their employer health plans further supporting a growth in Medicare supplement sales. Medicare Supplement enrollments are projected to continue to grow over the next ten years, creating ample opportunities for insurance carriers, agents, and marketing organizations in the senior market.

Three factors contributing to Medicare Supplement’s growth:

  • Overall Medicare Growth: The ongoing growth in the Medicare market from Baby Boomers will increase the number of Medicare beneficiaries by 17 million over the next 11 years. The total number of Medicare beneficiaries in 2022 will be 34% higher than in 2012.

  • Medicare Advantage Funding Reductions: Over the past few years growth in Medicare Advantage enrollment has slowed. Predictions show that enrollment will plateau when additional bonus payments from the quality based demonstration programs end after 2014.

  • Decrease in Retiree Health Benefits: Companies and municipalities are eliminating or altering health care benefits for their retirees due to economic changes. Many are now offering those retirees a monthly stipend to purchase their own Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage coverage.

All these factors show a positive outlook for the Medicare Supplement market in the upcoming years. If you are considering getting into the senior market – now is the time! With 10,000 seniors becoming eligible every day the market is booming with no signs of slowing down.

To read the entire 2013 Medicare Supplement Market Projection by CSG Actuarial, please go here.


Please give us your feedback!
What do you think of CSG Actuarial's findings? Have you seen an increase in your Med Supp business as well?

 

Source: CSG Actuarial

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Tags: Medicare Supplement, Medicare News, insurance news, industry news, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement, Medicare Solutions

Medicare Advantage Plan Enrollment Hits Record High

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jun 14, 2013 @ 09:53 AM

Medicare Supplements In 2013, there are currently 14.4 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage. This is an increase of more than one million (9.7%) from 2012 and sets a record high for enrollees. Even though there were concerns that payment changes from the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) would lead to fewer enrollments, it has seen an increase of 30% since 2010. About 28% of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans today and there is very little evidence of an adverse effect on enrollment in low versus high cost counties as a result of payment rate change in the ACA.

Don’t overlook the importance of adding a competitive Hospital Indemnity Plan to your senior care portfolio.


This growth is a continuation of the rapid growth in enrollment that occurred at the same time as the introduction of Part D in 2006. Also, the implementation of other changes to the Medicare Advantage program authorized by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003. This growth has happened despite the fact that the average number of plans available to enrollees nationwide declined from a high of 48 plans in 2009 to only 20 plans in 2012 and 2013.

With the Annual Enrollment period coming up, be sure to check out our Medicare Advantage product portfolio to make sure you have the best company rates in your area. If you have any questions about the products we offer or the Medicare Advantage market, please call our marketers at 1-800-998-7715.


Please give us your feedback!
Have you seen an increase in your Medicare Advantage business? Does this news make you want to add Medicare Advantage to your senior market portfolio?

 

Source: KHN

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Tags: Medicare Advantage, Senior Market, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage News, Medicare Advice, Cigna Medicare Supplement

Beyond the Low-Hanging Fruit

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jun 07, 2013 @ 09:22 AM

Medicare Supplements When things are going well, picking the low-hanging fruit works and your business continues to run. The process is easier and it’s comfortable because you’ve gotten so good at the technique needed to turn those prospects to clients. Some producers continue with this method because they feel like the risk isn’t greater than the reward. Take courage to stretch yourself and your business!

Obviously you should continue to pick the low-hanging fruit, however at the same time you should “keep your ladder handy” for those higher opportunities. The important thing to remember is not to get lazy or into a rut. Remember that picking the low-hanging fruit is a complacent, low-energy, passive activity. When you reach higher, it’s more strategic and proactive. Plus, the low-hanging fruit will not always be available. In order to prevent decreases in your business, implement a diversity strategy so you can continue to bring in revenue from different sources.

For some this will be identifying a new niche market to get into. Choose one that isn’t being served or one that is maybe being served by a competitor you know your business is superior to. For others it will be assigning different members of their staff to the low-hanging fruit which leaves them time to pursue new markets or challenges in order to expand their business. If you’re only concentrating on the low-hanging fruit you aren’t paying attention to the bigger picture and your business could get blind sighted.

The Titanic is a good example. No one thought the ship would sink. However, it did. What sunk the Titanic wasn’t the ice they could see but the ice they could not see – the ice they neither anticipated nor planned for. Have your plan ready for the circumstances outside your control; you and your company depend on it.


Please give us your feedback!
What do you do if your business gets into a rut? What suggestions do you have for other agents who might be facing the same problem?

 

Source: LifeHealthPro

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Tags: Success Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, Medicare Sales, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement, Cigna Medicare Supplement

How Healthcare Reform will Affect Med Supp Products

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, May 31, 2013 @ 09:26 AM

Medicare Supplements The largest portion of healthcare reform Affordability and Accountability Act "ACA" is set to go into effect in 2014. For the most part the Medicare Supplement market will be largely unaffected by ACA with most of the impact resulting indirectly from changes to Medicare Advantage.

Possible impact to Medicare Supplements:

Medicare Supplement::

  • Section 3210 of ACA required the NAIC to add a nominal cost sharing to plans C and F (however, the NAIC has recommended no cost sharing to plans C and F due to lack of evidence this would decrease utilization. This has not been decided upon.)
  • Mostly unaffected by ACA, as long as Plan F doesn't change

Medicare Advantage:
  • Medicare Advantage plans will be held to a minimum loss ratio of 85%
  • Restructures the funding levels to Medicare Advantage plans in order to reduce the payments closer to traditional Medicare
    • CBO estimates this will cut approximately $145 billion over the next 10 years
    • The payment restructuring was designed to be implemented over 3-6 years, which began in 2011

The changes to ACA may even prove positive for the Medicare Supplement market. Medicare Supplements will not be affected by minimum loss ratio changes or any major plan changes, whereas the Medicare Advantage market will most likely have a higher minimum loss radio requirement and continued political pressure on funding.

If there are any Medicare Supplement carriers you’d like to add to your portfolio, give your marketer a call at 1-800-998-7715; they can assist you with more information on all of the carriers PSM offers.


Please give us your feedback!
Do you think the ACA will affect your Medicare Supplement sales? Your Medicare Advantage sales?

 

Source: CSG Actuarial

Tags: senior market news, Medicare Supplement, Medicare News, Medicare Advantage News, Medicare Sales

2014 Medicare Advantage and Part D Maximum Commissions

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, May 24, 2013 @ 08:38 AM

Medicare Supplements The CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has released the maximum commissions a company can pay to an individual producer for Medicare Advantage and PDP for 2014. In some cases, commissions could be less than the amounts released, depending on that specific insurance company’s contract.

Medicare Advantage:

  • National - $425 initial and $213 renewal/replacement
  • Connecticut, Pennsylvania and District of Columbia - $480 initial and $240 renewal/replacement
  • California and New Jersey - $532 initial and $266 renewal/replacement
Part D (PDP’s):
  • All states - $56 initial and $28 renewal/replacement

Medicare Supplements Precision Senior Marketing will be closed Monday, May 27 for the Memorial Day holiday. Regular 8am-5pm CDT hours will resume Tuesday, May 28. We wish you and your loved ones a Happy Memorial Day. PSM would like to thank our Armed Forces for serving our country and protecting our freedoms.



Additional Updates:
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Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage News, CMS, UnitedHealthcare

MA Enrollment On The Rise- An Untapped New Opportunity

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, May 17, 2013 @ 09:05 AM

Medicare Supplements

Introducing Hospital Indemnity plans designed specifically for Medicare Advantage members that cover Primary Care Doctor Visits, Inpatient Hospital Co-pays or Co-insurance, and much more. The average hospital stay for someone age 65 and over is 5.5 days. Would your average Medicare Advantage client be able to readily cover a $250 per day as a co-payment for days 1-5, totaling $1250?

Of the 14,500,000 people currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Program 56% of them are on a zero premium plan, many of which provide the member with a considerable monthly Part B premium giveback. With a Hospital Indemnity plan you can offer your clients a way to take their Medicare Advantage Part B premium giveback and apply it toward their plan to help them cover many of their most common co-payment with Medicare Advantage.

Benefits of a Hospital Indemnity Plan Include:

  • Hospital Admission for Days 1-5
  • Ambulance Transportation
  • Emergency Room Coverage
  • Laboratory & Radiology Benefits
  • Skilled Nursing Facility Benefits
  • Primary Care Doctor Office Visits (No Prior Hospital Stay Required)
  • Annual Wellness Benefits
  • Preventative Care Benefits

The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have said that a Hospital Indemnity Plan can be marketed and sold during a Medicare Advantage appointment as long as it was agreed on the Scope of Appointment form. You can also go back to your current clients with Medicare Advantage and do a basic Needs Analysis to see how the Hospital Indemnity Plan will benefit them and limit their out of pocket costs.

Not only will you be able to show your Medicare Advantage clients an affordable way to help protect themselves financially from large Maximum-Out-Of-Pocket (MOOP) liabilities, which can be as large as $6,700, but it’s also a great way to increase your commissionable income.

PSM offers several options for Hospital Indemnity. Plans from Sentinel Life, Equitable Life, GTL, and Heartland National are all available to be added to your portfolio. Please give your marketer a call at 1-800-998-7715 for more information on this versatile product for your senior insurance clients.

Article you may want to take into consideration for future product offering strategies

Coming Surge in Medicare Advantage?
Enrollment May Rise 50 Percent in Next 10 Years
By Alex Wayne and Alex Nussbaum – Bloomberg – May 16, 2013

Enrollment in the U.S.-funded Medicare plans run by UnitedHealth Group Inc., Humana Inc. and other insurers may rise 50 percent in the next decade rather than declining as predicted earlier, U.S. budget analysts said. Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly and disabled will swell to 21 million participants by fiscal 2023 from 14 million this year, the Congressional Budget Office said yesterday in its annual review of the federal budget. The CBO didn’t explain the revision from its previous estimate that enrollment would fall to 11 million and a spokeswoman didn’t respond to an e-mail. The reversal shows that a recent slowdown in health-care cost growth may be permanent, said Joseph Antos, a health economist at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington who has advised the CBO in the past. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-15/unitedhealth-humana-may-see-surge-in-medicare-advantage.html


Additional Updates:

Tags: Hospital Indemnity, Sales Tips, Senior Market, Cigna Medicare Supplement

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