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Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

Proposed Medicare Advantage Cuts Reversed

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Apr 05, 2013 @ 09:58 AM

Medicare SupplementsOn Monday the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services scrapped the proposed 2.2 percent cut to Medicare Advantage plans. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) was against the decrease all along, launching a campaign lobbying against it which included television ads, studies defending Medicare Advantage, and a letter-writing campaign with members of Congress. AHIP argued that seniors and those with disabilities enrolled in these plans would face higher premiums, reduced benefits and some loss of coverage options if these cuts were put into effect.

Instead, the Medicare agency announced that it would offer a 3.3 percent payment increase for next year. Jonathan Blum, CMS acting principal deputy administrator explained, "The policies announced today further the agency’s goal of improving payment accuracy in all our programs, while at the same time ensuring program stability and preserving beneficiary choice."

AHIP praised the agency for avoiding what it termed a "crushing blow" to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. President and CEO of AHIP, Karen Ignagni, stated "CMS has taken an important step to help stabilize Medicare Advantage at a time when the program is facing significant challenges." She continued by saying that AHIP will continue to work with policymakers in both parties "to strengthen this critically important part of Medicare that provides high-quality, affordable coverage to more than 14 million seniors and people with disabilities."

This change is seen as a huge victory for health insurance lobbyists who worked very hard to reverse these potentially devastating cuts. However this is hardly the end of the Medicare Advantage trial. Medicare Advantage plans are still on the road to several major long-term alterations in the next few years. We will just have to wait and see which ones actually go into effect.


Please give us your feedback!
Does this reversal suprise you? OR did you figure their cuts wouldn't go through? What do you think is next for Medicare Advantage?

 

Source: Benefitspro.com, National Review

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Tags: senior market news, Medicare Advantage News, Cigna Medicare Supplement, Omaha Insurance Company, Sentinel Life Hospital Indemnity

The State-by-State Impact of 2014 MA Cuts

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 @ 08:42 AM

Medicare SupplementsDue to the proposed tax included in the health care reform, those seniors in Medicare Advantage will be facing a $50-$90 per month increase in premiums and/or reductions in benefits next year. This week, new Oliver Wyman data released by America’s Health Insurance Plans’ (AHIP) Coalition for Medicare Choices (CMC) provided a breakdown of which states would be most impacted.

Seniors in Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas will be hit hardest with their plans increasing $80-$90 a month. California seniors are expected to face a $70-$80 a month increase on their premiums. Most other states will see increases of $50-$60 a month with North Dakota seeing the lowest increase of just $30-$40 a month in premiums.

USA map with 2014 MA Changes

In the past week 120 members of Congress have expressed their concerns about the impact the new cuts will have on seniors. Twenty-two Senators sent a bipartisan letter to the CMS about their concern saying "we are concert that the proposals could result in reduced access for our constituents who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Plans have informed us that they may exit certain markets as a result of CMS’ proposal." The ninety-eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ letter stated, "The assumption on the SGR is particularly problematic because it almost certainly will turn out to be wrong and it directly translates into lower funding to support the health benefits of the 14 million Medicare beneficiaries who currently are enrolled in MA plans."

Meanwhile, AHIP has offered a recommendation to stabilize the program and avoid significant disruption to seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage. The 2014 MA payment rates are scheduled to be finalized April 1.

Medicare Supplements Precision Senior Marketing will be closed after 1pm Friday, March 29 for the Easter holiday weekend. Regular 8am-5pm CDT hours will resume Monday, April 1. We wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday. We appreciate your business and the opportunity to serve your needs.


Please give us your feedback!
Are you surprised by these Medicare Advantage increases? How do you think it will affect the program?

 

Source: Marketwatch, MedicareChoices.org

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Tags: senior market news, Medicare Advantage, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage News, Equitable Life Medicare Supplement, Omaha Insurance Company

The Perfect Medicare Supplement for AEP

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Oct 05, 2012 @ 10:47 AM

Medicare Supplements Great news! Combined Insurance has released a Medicare Supplement with some of the most competitive rates in the market today. This opportunity offers an ideal blend of competitive premiums as well as terrific agent compensation, all while being backed by one of the industry’s most customer-centric, "A" Rated carriers.

Combined Insurance founder W. Clement Stone had the desire to "make the world a better place for this and future generations," a philosophy that is still very evident in how Combined Insurance conducts business today.

The Combined Insurance Advantage:
  • "A" Rated A.M. Best Carrier
  • Competitive Premiums
  • Industry-Leading Commissions
Agent Benefits:
  • New Co-Op Lead Program
  • Advancing Available

Tier 1 States:
Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas

Tier 2 States: (coming soon)
Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

*Limited Time Offer* - 50 Free Senior Market Prospects available once your appointment is complete!

Give your clients the peace of mind they deserve, instantly download free sales materials and rates here.

Combined Click Here for More Information

Additional Updates:
  • Mutual of Omaha Companies Now Available in MS, NV, WI - Learn More
  • Upcoming UnitedHealthcare AEP Trainings - Learn More

Tags: United Healthcare Medicare Supplement, Medicare Supplement, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, Omaha Insurance Company, Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Upholding the Health Care Law and its Effect on Medicare

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 @ 10:54 AM

Medicare SupplementsThursday the Supreme Court upheld the entire proposed health care law, concluding that Congress was acting within its powers under the Constitution to require most Americans carry a health insurance policy. This ruling is considered a victory for President Obama and the Democratic Party, passing the biggest reworking of the health care system since Medicare was introduced in the 1960s. This ruling also eliminates disruptions for hospitals, doctors, and employers who have spent the last two years preparing for the law to be put into place.

How has the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act affected the senior market since its inception in 2010 and how does Health Care Reform impact the future of Medicare Supplements?

  1. Modernized Medicare Supplement plans, including new Plans M and N, created new opportunities for agents to sell more economical options for coverage.

  2. New carriers entering the market are providing more choice for consumers. The added competition is healthy and promotes new innovations to the market, including telephone and electronic applications, which can help reduce pending requirements and speed up issue time.

  3. Many employers are reconsidering if, or for how long, they should offer group coverage for their retired workers due to Taxation of the Retiree Drug Subsidy (RDS) effective January 1, 2013. This tax can affect large company’s bottom line by tens and hundreds of millions and many have already started transitioning from group to individual coverage using a Medicare Coordinator model.

  4. Deficit reduction talks have the politicians from both parties talking about ways to save money with Medicare. One suggestion is to add copayments to all Medicare Supplement plans, not just Plans M & N. Another proposal suggests charging up to a 20% tax on seniors choosing plans with First Dollar Coverage.

Other important things to note pertaining to the senior market is that from now until 2020 the “donut hole” is still in effect, with seniors receiving a 50% discount on covered brand name drugs; and, Medicare Advantage will continue with payment system reforms laid out in the ACA.

However, the debate is far from over. With the January 1, 2014 date of implementation and a Presidential election looming, there is certain to be several repeals and proposals before the final version of the health care law is agreed upon and actually goes into effect.

As an agent in the Medicare Supplement market, don’t worry. Medigap plans are the least impacted by health care reform so no big changes are on the horizon. Reduction in Medicare Advantage payment rates and the impact this will have on plan benefits appears to be the biggest unknown. For clients looking to avoid any unforeseen surprises, Medicare Supplements still appear to be the best solution for many of your clients.


Please give us your feedback!
What is your take on the health care law being upheld? How do you think it will affect senior market insurance and Medicare Supplements?

Source: Red Pen Edition, Wall Street Journal, Healthcare.gov

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Tags: senior insurance market news, health insurance news, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, health care reform, industry news, Omaha Insurance Company

Big Changes to Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 @ 08:53 AM

Medicare SupplementsIn the next few months Mutual of Omaha will be implementing some big changes to their Medicare Supplement plans. For seventeen states, their Med Supps will be introduced under different companies in order to offer lower rates, a household discount in most states, and increased commission.

In order to receive your advances on the new United of Omaha and Mutual of Omaha products you will need to complete an updated advance agreement. Also, for several states, the new Omaha Insurance Company Medicare Supplement product will be available and those currently contracted will need to fill out an updated General Agent Agreement and Advance Agreement (optional). Omaha Insurance Company is the newest Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement carrier and offers all the benefits you would expect from their company.

The states directly affected by these changes are as follows:

New United of Omaha states
AL, MT, UT, WA, WY - Approved for sale
Download United of Omaha Advance Agreement

New Mutual of Omaha states
MO - Approved for sale 03/17/2012
ID, IL, TN - Pending approval
Download Mutual of Omaha Advance Agreement

New Omaha Insurance company states
KY, MD, MI, OH, PA, SC, WV, CT - Pending approval
Download Omaha Insurance Company Contract Addendum

In order to avoid delays in New Business, please return the documents to PSM as soon as possible. If you need any updated supplies or have any further questions about the impending changes, please contact your Marketing Director at 1-800-998-7715.

Additionally, PSM offers top Omaha Insurance Company contracts and commissions to qualified agents. Request information online or give us a call.

Additional Updates:
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Tags: Medicare Supplement, Assured Life Medicare Supplement, industry news, Omaha Insurance Company, Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement, United of Omaha Medicare Supplement

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