Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

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

Additional Updates:
  • Lower Rates with Higher Commissions in ID, MI, MO, NJ, NM, NV, PA, SD, WA - Learn More

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

Med Supp Policyholder Satisfaction Up

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 @ 10:13 AM

Medicare SupplementsA recent study by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) commissioned by American Viewpoint, Inc. concluded that there is a high rate of Medicare Supplement policyholder satisfaction (90% of those polled), comparable to the survey results in 2009 (91%) and 2005 (87%). The survey asked Medigap enrollees about both their satisfaction and experience with their coverage. Medicare Supplement coverage continues to be an important option to Medicare beneficiaries and their survey concluded:

  • Nine out of ten (90%) Med Supp policyholders are satisfied with their coverage.

  • Over half of enrollees (79%) say their Med Supp policy is excellent or good value for the money.

  • Just over nine out of ten (91%) would recommend a Med Supp plan to a friend or relative who they become eligible for Medicare benefits.

  • Policyholders highlighted several benefits when asked what they liked most about their coverage, including limits on out-of-pocket costs, ease of dealing with medical bills and paperwork, and being able to budget for unexpected medical costs.

  • Enrollees also appreciated their freedom of choice for doctors, and that their plan covered hospital expenses and physician costs not covered by traditional Medicare.

  • Top concerns Medicare beneficiaries had were out-of-pocked loss, maintaining financial security and peace of mind.

The study also showed that enrollment in Medigap is stable with 49% of those polled having maintained the same coverage for the past five years, and an additional 20% purchased for the first time during the five year period. Of those polled, 39% transferred from their Employer-sponsored coverage when they became eligible, and 34% switched from another form of coverage.

With client satisfaction up, the Boomer generation aging into the market, and great new products like Combined Insurance, Stonebridge Life, and Heartland National becoming available in new areas, now is a great time to be selling Medicare Supplements. Feel free to call a marketer at 1-800-998-7715 for advice on finding a target niche and what new products would fit into your portfolio.


Please give us your feedback!
Have you seen an increase in client satisfaction? What percent of your clients have maintained the same policy for 5 years? Is that as common as the survey results make it seem?

Source: ProtectMedigap.org

Additional Updates:
  • PSM Partners with Norvax to Provide Essential Sales Tools for Today’s Independent Agent - Learn More
  • Heartland National Med Supp New Telephone Application - Learn More
  • Attention Heartland Agents: Important New Business Processing Changes - Learn More
  • New! Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement - Learn More

Tags: Medicare News, senior insurance market news, health insurance industry, insurance news, Heartland National Medicare Supplement, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement

Med Supp Policy Growth Continues

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, May 04, 2012 @ 09:45 AM

Medicare SupplementsMedicare Supplement figures from MFA’s Medicare Supplement Market Data, Health Coverage Portal show a continued growth in the number of new policies being issued. New policies issued in the last three years increased by 7.5% in 2011 when compared to the previous year’s data; resulting in 9.9 million seniors being covered by Medicare Supplements as of December 31, 2011.

Med Supp carriers increased from 124 in 2010 to 129 in 2011, with one carrier no longer reporting new policies and another six reporting new policies. The plans earned a combined $21.359 billion in premiums and had $17.028 billion in claims. This was an increase of 4.1% and 5.4% between 2010 and 2011 respectively. The aggregate loss ratio, or incurred claims as a percent of earned premiums, returned to 80% in 2011 after decreasing slightly to 79% in 2010.

Plan F was chosen by 47% of consumers with Medicare Supplement coverage in 2011, increasing from 43% in 2010. Plan N gained 265,854 enrollees since it was introduced in June 2010.

UnitedHealth Group, including AARP, dominated the market share with 31% of the business. Mutual of Omaha ranked second with 11%. The Top seven companies have not changed in the last three years. Also, the study showed most companies are diversifying their Medicare offerings to include Med Supp, Med Advantage, and Plan D in order to have more opportunities as the senior market grows.

The senior market is constantly growing, especially now that the Boomer generation is entering the market. The Med Supp landscape continues to grow and change and exciting new products continue to enter this dynamic market.


Lookin for Medicare Supplement coverage?  Get a Medigap quote.

Please give us your feedback!
Did you see an increase in your business between 2010 and 2011? Which product do you find you sell the most of?

Source: Mark Farrah Associates

Additional Updates:
  • Plan "G" - Increasing Sales for many PSM Agents - Learn More
  • Gerber Life WI Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare - Learn More

Tags: Medicare Supplement, insurance news, Medicare Sales, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement, Baby Boomers

Proposed 15% Surcharge to Med Supp Plans

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 @ 08:44 AM

Medicare SupplementsLast week the Obama administration proposed an effort to raise $2.5 billion over the next 10 years by implementing a surcharge to Medicare enrollees who purchase Medicare supplements. This surcharge would affect all new enrollees who purchase Medicare supplements by adding an average of 15% to the premium on their Medigap policy. Those currently receiving benefits and those near retirement would not be affected.

One official said, "Of particular concern are Medigap plans that cover substantially all Medicare copayments, including even the modest copayments for routine care that most beneficiaries can afford to pay out of pocket." Administration officials explain that the reason for the surcharge is that since there is so little out-of-pocket charge seniors often do not think about the costs associated with the care they receive.

Bonnie Burns of California Health Advocates warns that this surcharge would be terrible for consumers. Burns, along with several insurance industry representatives and consumer advocates, agree on the need for affordable insurance costs for seniors.

Burns said, "Blaming Medigap issuers and customers for any over-use of care seems particularly unfair because federal law prohibits sellers of Medigap insurance from determining whether the care a policyholder has received is medically necessary." Instead, she encourages the government to guard against Medicare by requiring providers to document that the care received is medically necessary.

This surcharge plan will go into the federal fiscal 2013 budget proposal, beginning October 1st, and if passed would take effect in 2017.

Please give us your feedback!
Have any of your clients asked you about this surcharge? What do you say to them about it? How do you think it will affect your Medicare Supplement business in the future?

Source: LifeHealthPro

Additional Updates:
  • United Healthcare Medicare Supplement: Multiply your sales opportunities - Learn More
  • Gerber Life 2012 Buyers Guide - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Medicare SELECT Provider Directory Update - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Underwriting Guidelines Update - Learn More

Tags: United Healthcare Medicare Supplement, senior market news, health insurance news, insurance news, industry news, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement

Optimistic Forecast for Med Supp Market

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Nov 04, 2011 @ 08:40 AM

Medicare SupplementsIn the last five years, insurance producers have gone through exciting and risky times. Medicare insurers are on the rise and have added millions of policyholders while other sectors of the insurance industry have seen very little growth. Though the changes in the market have yet to end, there are several reasons to be optimistic about the Medicare Supplement market in the coming years.

  1. Tremendous growth of Medicare beneficiaries. The projected increase from 2011 to 2030 is 70%, from 48.6 to 80 million. This is mainly due to the Baby Boomer generation qualifying for benefits at 3 million a year.

  2. Prescription drug costs are lower. Even with the talk about health care costs increasing, the Part D donut hole is closing and seniors are now paying less for their prescription drugs than they were in 2006. Also, due so several brand name medications becoming generics, this amount will continue to decrease, at a rate of approximately $0.65 a day until 2015.

  3. Quality Star Ratings. There is a consensus among Medicare agents that customer service from Medicare Supplement carriers exceeds that from Medicare Advantage carriers. However, in order to provide incentive for Med Advantage carriers to provide good service, CMS is now offering additional compensation for those carriers who score above three stars and the opportunity to sell year-round for those Med Advantage carriers with five stars.

  4. Employers favor individual plans. Several larger Fortune 500 companies are beginning to no longer offer group retiree benefits. Thus, those retirees have to shop the individual market for their plans. Though call centers have captured the majority of this business, the replacement market is growing and the trend is expected to continue.

  5. Interest in shopping online. The Boomer generation is very open to researching products online, and reaching buyers via Pay-Per-Click and Search Engine Optimization is becoming increasingly popular. Those agents interested in selling Medicare Supplements online have an advantage, especially for those seniors just turning 65.

Medicare is a growth-driven market due to the demographic shifts in the United States. With all of the agents needed to serve these seniors and the ability to reach infinite numbers online, the senior insurance market has many opportunities ahead. We at Precision Senior Marketing are dedicated to providing you with the best Med Supp products and Med Supp sales techniques to get the edge on the competition. Feel free to contact us directly at 800-998-7715 for more information.


Please give us your feedback!
Have you experienced the growth opportunities in the Medicare market? What do you think of the Med Advantage carriers with five stars getting to sell all year long? What aspects of the market excite you the most?

Source: LifeHealthPro

Additional Updates:
  • MedAmerica Now Available in Iowa and Michigan - Learn More
  • UnitedHealthcare Med Advantage Plan Names & Enrollment Processing Info - Learn More
  • UnitedHealthcare Plan Selection on Applications - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for Missouri - Learn More

Tags: MedAmerica Transitions, senior market news, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, health insurance news, insurance news, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement

Strategies for Client Retention

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 @ 09:15 AM

Medicare SupplementsClient retention is an ongoing process that starts with providing excellent service and continual client contact from the very first contact and continues throughout your relationship.

Here are a few strategies you can employ to retain more of your existing clients:

  1. Respond to your client’s needs by changing your sales pitch for those who need you to listen and communicating via email, phone calls, or face-to-face meeting to show you care. Also, follow-ups like a newsletter, cards, or surveys will also help you clients know you care about them as a person rather than a number.
  2. Put your client’s needs first, listen to what they have to say, and make note of what is important to them. When you show how your customer service will exceed their expectations they will willingly contact you again with their questions, concerns, policy changes, or need to change a product or service.
  3. Meet your deadlines, call when you say you will, and show that you are responsible and that your clients can trust you to do what you say you will do.
  4. Treat them like you would any other business associate. Look out for their best interest, take their concerns seriously, and ask questions to meet both their current and future needs.
  5. Use referrals, testimonials, and other endorsements to allow others to speak for you and show your expertise within your field. This will give you credibility in your business and confirm your client’s decision to choose you to guide them with their supplemental insurance needs.
  6. Give your clients your all and gain their loyalty. When you have a strong base it will also be easier to leverage those testimonials to new clients.
Retaining clients takes time, energy, and a strong focus on building those relationships.  However, it is worth the effort in the end.  While you are prospecting you will have the residuals of your happy clients as supplemental income to help drive your business. After all, it is 5-10 times more expensive to find new clients than it is to retain the ones you already have on the books.

 


What have you found most important in retaining clients? Do you have any techniques that you use that would help other agents be successful?

Source: Insure Me


Additional Updates:
  • United of Omaha Released in New Jersey - Learn More
  • Mutual of Omaha United of Omaha, and United World Plan N Discontinued in all states - Learn More

Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Customer Retention, Quality Management, insurance news, Creating Value, Customer Service

How the Recession is Changing the Agent’s Role

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Mar 25, 2011 @ 08:45 AM

Medicare SupplementsEven when business is tough and consumers are becoming more selective, there is still a huge potential for agents to increase their commissions and customer portfolios. Plus, for those who are producing more, insurers are beginning to give better leads and the tools to continue to grow their business. "It’s increasing optimization. It’s increasing productivity. For good agents with talent, I would see the opportunities increasing," Marie Carr, principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers Diamond Advisory Services said. Insurers are doing only slightly better than the financial world in this economy; and, they are leaning toward giving more support to those agents writing more business, more profitable business, and more lines of business. Thus, overlooking agents who are not as high of producers. Carr explains, "They’re refining their portfolio of agents."

In recent years consumers have begun to purchase insurance in less traditional ways, selling Medicare Supplements over the phone and online. The pressure is on for agents to keep up with advancing technology. Technology is available to help agents enhance their business relationships, via social networking and online tools, and it will continue to drive business. It’s also important to continue to re-evaluate and define the value of your experience and services to your prospects. Consumers still want to be supported as they make their insurance decisions and it is up to agents to find their niche in the buying process. Once your prospect has become a client, personalized contact is definitely a great way to continue correspondence including handwritten notes, mailers, follow-up calls, and personal visits. Making sure your clients are happy and that they are getting what they need out of their policy is also a great way to continue to get referrals.

The role of the insurance agent is continuing to evolve, spurred from recent advancing in technology and customers looking for the best deals during the recession. Carr states, "I don't believe the agent is going to go away, but i do believe the agent as we understand him or her today is going to be dramatically redefined."


Do you see insurance companies favoring those producers with more business? How has the recession affected your business? What have you done to keep your business successful during the recession?

Source: Agent's Sales Journal


Additional Updates:
  • Grow your sales with Mutual of Omaha's Prospecting Materials - Learn More
  • 13 Strategies to Boost Your Website Conversion - Learn More

Tags: Medicare Supplement, health insurance industry, insurance news, industry news, Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement, United of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Impact of new MLR Requirements on Underage Health Market

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 @ 12:44 PM

Medicare SupplementsOn March 27th, the Professional Health Insurance Advisors Task force, part of the Executive Committee at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), is planning to hold a hearing on producer compensation in Austin, Texas. During the hearing the task force is requesting comments from all interested people on the following questions:

  • What is or is likely to be the impact of removing commissions from what is defined as premium under the MLR requirements?
  • Have commissions been reduced since the passage of the federal law? If so, what is the impact of present and potential future commission reductions? Will this cause access issues? Is it likely agents/brokers will abandon health insurance markets?
  • What will be the impact of a legislative change that treats producer commissions in the same manner as federal and state taxes for purposes of calculating the MLR?
  • What is your opinion on the optimal solution to balance health plan/insurer concerns, consumer interests and the interests of agents/brokers?
Anyone interested can submit comments to tmullen@naic.org by March 21st to be considered.

Under the new MLR provision, health insurers are now required to spend at least 85% of large group and 80% of individual and small group revenue on quality improvement in health care with the other going toward administrative costs. This will affect nearly 470,000 health insurance agents and cut nearly 50% of broker’s pay. The task force is focused on making sure that the MLR is not going to cause problems that critics have warned about, including smaller companies going out of business, extreme cuts in agent commissions, and reduced service and support to consumers.


Do you currently write underage health insurance? If passed, how will the new MLR requirements impact your business model?

Sources: National Underwriter, Employee Benefit Adviser, National Association of Health Underwriting, National Association of Insurance Commissioners


Additional Updates:
  • Grow Your Sales with PSM and Mutual of Omaha - Learn More
  • Assured Life/Woodmen May 2011 Rate Increase for AL, AZ, IL, OH, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT, WA, WV - Learn More
  • Woodmen of the World May 2011 Rate Increase for Idaho - Learn More

Tags: Assured Life Medicare Supplement, insurance news, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, health care reform, industry news, Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Obama: Help Improve Health Care Law and Move Forward

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 @ 09:48 AM

Medicare SupplementsTuesday President Obama gave the State of the Union annual address. He spoke on health care stating, "Instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and move forward." He challenged Republicans to help him improve the health care law; and, offered to help them make two changes, adding medical malpractice reform eliminating an unpopular paperwork requirement for small businesses.  Medical malpractice reform has been in the works for a while, with Republicans and Democrats butting heads on whether to have fixed caps on damages or not. However, both agree that something has to be done for the approximately 98,000 people a year who die from preventable medical errors. Also, with Obama’s suggested changes, small businesses would no longer have to file 1099 forms for payments $600 or more.

He insisted he’ll fight repeals to prevent going "back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition" and he explained how the law is already helping seniors pay for their prescriptions and young adults continue to be on their parent’s policies. President Obama also stated he is open to small changes and will consider new ideas to bring down health care costs, urging that repealing the law would increase the federal deficit by $230 billion over the next ten years. Also, during the State of the Union, the President called for more cost-cutting in Medicare and Medicaid. Critics fear Obama is not listening to what Americans want which is repeal, not just small changes. While still others commended him for saying he is open for changes.

How do you feel about President Obama’s stand on health care reform in the State of the Union? Do you think he is open enough for change?

Berwick Renominated to Continue to Head CMS

Wednesday the White House issued a renomination of Dr. Don Berwick as the head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Republicans, who strongly opposed him being nominated last year, dislike his controversial view in support of the British health system, supplying “eyes open or closed,” and question his qualifications and background. However, Berwick has received strong support from most major medical associations. Berwick will face a hearing in the Finance Committee as well as a confirmation by the full Senate before he becomes the head of the CMS. So far, it looks to be a difficult nomination process for him.

Do you like Dr. Don Berwick for the head of the CMS? Do you think he will pass the nomination process?

Medicare Toaster by John Hambrock

Medicare Toaster by John Hambrock
by John Hambrock for The Cartoonist Group from "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee"

2011 Supply Requisition

2011 Supplies
If you were busy in 2010, 2011 will be even busier! Make sure you have the right tools. Update your Med Supp materials for Mutual of Omaha, Forethought Life, Gerber Life, Sentinel Life, and Woodmen of the World/Assured Life to reflect the 2011 co-pays and deductibles.

 

Sources: KHN, Politico, The Associated Press

Tags: senior market news, Medicare, Medicare Discussion, insurance news, health care reform

Under-Age Agents Affected by Health Care Reform

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jan 14, 2011 @ 09:32 AM

Medicare SupplementsAs part of the new health care reform law that went into effect January 1st, a Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) was instituted stating insurance companies must spend at least 80% of premiums on medical expenses in the under-age market, with the remaining 20% being shared with administrative costs. These new health reform rules will cut insurance brokers’ pay by 50% in some cases, effecting nearly 470,000 under-age market agents. Reports show commissions will drop from 15 to 20% on plans to 4 to 10%; and, for Blue Cross which used to pay 15% on the first year and 7% on residuals the following years will now pay 5% for both. Meanwhile, Golden Rule, owned by UnitedHealthCare is offering their brokers a per application bonus, understanding the cuts in commissions. By 2014, even without the MLR regulations, consumers will be able to find and obtain health insurance plans easily on their own. Under new health care regulations insurance agents, negotiating rates for those with pre-existing conditions, will be unnecessary. Health insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage based on conditions; therefore, making under-age insurance agent less and less vital for sales. Also in 2014, almost 32 million Americans will have insurance under the health care laws and MLR will negatively impact the way the public uses health care, with potential job loss due to lower commissions at a time when consumers need the most help because of all the changes. Critics argue smaller companies may go out of business, agents will see more cuts in compensation, and there will be reduced service quality to the consumer. Supporters say that industries are always changing and compare the change in the insurance industry to that of travel agents. Even though a lot of people buy their travel arrangements unassisted online there is still need for a travel agent. Now under-age insurance agents will just have to find their niche in the new insurance environment.

If you also work in the under-age market, have these lower commissions already affected you? Do you believe the result of MLR will be a drastic decline in service or do you think things will level off quickly, like with the travel industry?

Low Clearance by Mike Keefe

Low Clear by Mike Keefe for Denver Post
By Mike Keefe for The Denver Post, 01/06/11

With the Baby Boomer generation turning 65 this year and nearly 10,000 American’s a day qualifying for Medicare benefits- now is a great time to be a senior market agent selling Medicare Supplements.

Has the influx of Boomers helped your Medicare Supplement business? How are you preparing for the boost in those interested in Medicare Supplements?

Medicare "Wellness Visit" Check List

As of the first of 2011 Medicare beneficiaries are able to go to one “wellness visit” a year completely covered by Medicare. This new part of the health care law reflects that medicine needs to focus on prevention rather than waiting until the patient is sick. Dr. Eddie Phillips, director of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, has outlined what patients can expect at their wellness visit this year. First, the doctor will conduct a screening of a patient’s cognitive skills, depression, and risk of falling. They will develop a Personalized Prevention Plan talking about your diet, exercise, vaccinations, sleep, and stress; and, work to coordinate all of you caregivers. Also, you can choose to have a voluntary discussion of your end-of-life choices, getting a plan in place and having your wishes known. Dr. Phillips hopes this wellness visit will help people make lifestyle choices that will positively affect their health and health care costs.

What do you think of the new “wellness visit” provided by Medicare? Have either you or one of your clients partaken of yours this year? Was it a valuable benefit?

Foresters Prepared Accident Death Term Life Insurance

Foresters Prepared offers up to $300,000 in coverage with no medical exam and only a few health/lifestyle questions. It also offers extra-cost riders for disability income (accident only), waiver of premium (accident only) and return of premium. Contact PSM or call us 1-800-998-7715 to request information.

Woodmen of the World/Assured Life MADP Guidelines and Iowa Rate Increase Notification

New Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP): MA members are allowed to make one change during this period of January 1, 2011 to February 14, 2011 with an effective date of disenrollment after January 1, 2011.

Effective March 1, 2011 please see the rate increase notification for Iowa.

 

Sources: KHN, Politico, The Denver Post, CommonHealth

Tags: Foresters, Medicare Supplement, Senior Market, senior insurance market news, health insurance industry, insurance news, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advice

    Join thousands of insurance agents who receive weekly news updates and original articles.

    Like Precision Senior Marketing on Facebook!





    Follow Precision Senior Marketing on Twitter!

    Most Popular Posts

    Posts by Topic

    Click for More