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Low Rates to the Rescue: NEW! Cigna Medicare Supplement

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 @ 10:57 AM

Cigna, one of the biggest names in the insurance industry, is releasing a new Medicare Supplement in the following states: AL, CO, IA, OK, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MS, MT, NE, NV, NM, NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV, WY. The Medicare Supplement is insured by the American Retirement Life Insurance Company and features competitive rates nationwide.

Become appointed with Cigna Supplemental Benefits and take advantage of:

  • Competitive Rates Nationwide
  • High Commissions
  • Online Contracting
  • Paperless Application Process - No Wet Signature Required
  • Clean Cases Issue in 2-4 days
  • Daily Advances Available

Contact us today at 1-800-998-7715 or click the link below to complete your contracting and start selling!


Request Information

Additional Updates:
  • New Medicare Supplement from Cigna - Learn More
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Tags: Cigna, senior market news, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Sales, Cigna Medicare Supplement

The Fiscal-Cliff and Medicare

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jan 04, 2013 @ 01:14 PM

Medicare Supplements On Tuesday, Congress passed a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff called the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. This bill delayed the budget sequestration by two months in order to give more time for negotiations between the parties on how to reduce the deficit. This highly controversial bill still leaves several unresolved budget issues, including cuts to Medicare and Medicare payments. It also fails to address the required increase to the national debt ceiling.

Some of the highlights included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 are:
(for a full list, go here)

  • Medicare Advantage, health plans, hospitals, and dialysis centers were hit the hardest with payment cuts. Physicians, pharmacies, and other providers also saw large reductions.

  • Physicians avoided a 26.5 percent cut that is required under the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Also, 2013 will be another year without any Medicare rate increases.*

  • The law sets up another SGR physician rate cut for January 2014. Congress “punted” again because it’s easier for them to find $25 billion to delay the SGR cuts than it is for them to find $300 billion to repeal the formula altogether.

  • State run Medicaid will see a $4.2 billion federal funding cut in 2022 for safety-net hospitals that serve a disproportionate low-income and uninsured population.

  • Several special programs and add-on payments extended

CEOs, economists, and President Obama all agree that the fiscal cliff deal is barely a start, and while it has several breakthroughs, it also has several things it fails to do. There are two ways to look at the battle over the “fiscal cliff.” The first is the short term, limiting damage to the already weakened economy. The other is the long term, determining the shape of the government for years to come. Many more discussions and negotiations will be taking place in the upcoming months as Congress works to reach an agreement.

*This bill does not include an increase to Medicare.

Please give us your feedback!
What do you think of the things Congress has done so far in relation to the fiscal-cliff? What other changes do you think their discussion will bring to Medicare?

 

Source: Piper Report

Additional Updates:

Tags: senior market news, health insurance news, health insurance industry, Medicare Advantage News

2013 Medicare Changes

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Dec 07, 2012 @ 08:41 AM

Medicare Supplements The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that Medicare Parts A and B will face modest increases for 2013 deductible and premium rates. The Part A premium for those voluntarily enrolled, uninsured individuals even decreased for next year. Also, while creating a contingency margin for the 2013 Part B premium, the CMS determined that Congress would not allow the impeding physician fee schedule increase or the scheduled sequestration of benefits payment cap to take effect.

Medicare Part A Changes:

This estimates that most hospitals would submit quality data and receive the full market basket payment update and the multifactor productivity adjustment.

  1. 2013 impatient hospital deductible is $1,184
  2. Daily coinsurance amount for days 61 through 90 of hospital stays will be $296
  3. Daily coinsurance amount for lifetime reserve days will be $592
  4. Daily coinsurance amount for beneficiaries receiving extended care services at a skilled nursing facility for days 21 through 100 will be $148.

Medicare Part B Changes:

CMS announced that the standard monthly premium rate for 2013 is $104.90. However, they also noted that those who file individual tax returns with income over $85,000 and those who file joint tax returns with an income greater than $170,000 will pay 35, 50, 65, or even 80 percent more. Premium rates will increase by 5 percent. The annual Part B Deductible for 2013 is $147.

Although, typically Plan F is the more popular plan in the industry, with the 2013 increases Plan G is becoming an even more attractive option. The only difference between a Plan F and a Plan G is that your client will have to pay the Part B Deductible. This means, if the premiums for a Plan F exceed $147 or more than the premiums for a Plan G, the Plan G is the more cost efficient option for your client – especially your healthy clients.

Other things to consider about Plan G:

  • Plan "G" is not exposed to Guarantee Issue. This drastically reduces the potential risk associated with Plans A, C and F.
  • Plan "G" has statistically fewer rate increases. As a result of less bad business, the rate increases are more modest and happen less often than with a Plan "F".>
  • Plan "G" is tougher to replace. Once a client has a Plan "G" and has seen the benefit of paying less over the year they are less likely to be swayed to a Plan "F". Thus, you will have an easier time retaining those clients, resulting in stronger persistency and higher renewals.

Several of our agents have success selling the Forethought Life Medicare Supplement, which has the most competitive Plan G to Plan F ratio. Other products with a Plan G option include Woodmen of the World/Assured Life, Gerber Life, Heartland National, The Manhattan Life, Stonebridge Life, and the Mutual of Omaha Companies.

With AEP ending today and the holidays closing in, now is a great time to take the time to look over your portfolio and decide what products and plans will best suite your clients going into the New Year. If you have any question or would like suggestions on your business plan for next year, please contact your marketer at 1-800-998-7715.


Please give us your feedback!
How do you feel about the impending changes? Do you think you will start selling more Plan G in order to keep costs down for your senior clients?

 

Source: Wolters Kluwer

Tags: senior market news, Medicare, Senior Market, Medicare News, health care reform

Obama vs. Romney: Key differences in Medicare/Medicaid

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Nov 02, 2012 @ 12:47 PM

Medicare Supplements As the Presidential race draws to a close most people have chosen which candidate they are going to support next Tuesday in the election. One of the main topics this election season has been health care, with Medicare being a heated topic. The candidates differ from how much the government should be involved, to where the funding should come from, and in the case of Medicare, at what age beneficiaries should become eligible.

Here are a few key differences to consider about the future of Medicare and Medicaid based on each of the candidates’ platforms.

  1. Medicare
    1. Obama: Says that PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) has already made important changes for Medicare. Things like requiring basic Medicare to include basic preventive services to patients and reducing the size of the Medicare Part D doughnut hole. With his plan, the Medicare system would be structured the same way and begin at the same age that it does currently.

    2. Romney: For retirees and near retirees, Medicare will be the same. However, in the future seniors will receive vouchers and have insurance options that provide coverage as least as good as today’s Medicare, with traditional Medicare as one of the options to choose from. Romney says, “Competition among plans to provide high quality service while charging low premiums will hold costs down while also improving the quality of coverage enjoyed by seniors.”

  2. Medicaid
    1. Obama: Under his plan, Medicaid would work the same way it does currently.

    2. Romney: Says that he would replace the current funding for Medicaid with a “block grant” program providing every state with a set amount of funding that it could use as it wished. He says he would “limit federal standards and requirements.”

With only a few days left, most of us are excited and anxious to see what the outcome will be. For sports fans, that result might come a little bit sooner. Since the 1984 election, the winner of the Alabama-LSU game has coincided with the party who has won the election. With Alabama’s wins aligned with the Democratic Party and LSU with the Republican. Obviously, statistics are made to be broken, but it still adds another element of intensity to the SEC game this weekend and gives friends and family something to speculate about.

Hopefully you are having a productive and prosperous AEP so far. Remember that your marketer at PSM is available to answer any questions that arise and help you with any issues you encounter. Just give them a call at 1-800-998-7715.


Please give us your feedback!
Which candidate do you think has the better plan for Medicare? Do you think a voucher system is a good idea? If not, why? Do you think a state-controled program would better regulate the system? If not, what would?

(We realize this is a polarizing topic, please remember to be respectful of other commenters. Thank you.)

 

Source: LifeHealthPro

Additional Updates:
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  • Start Spreading the News: Manhattan Life Med Supp - Learn More

Tags: Manhattan Life Medicare Supplement, senior market news, Medicare Discussion, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, industry news

Health Care Costs a Top Retirement Fear

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, May 11, 2012 @ 10:27 AM

Medicare SupplementsAs the Boomer generation reaches retirement and Medicare eligibility a survey done by Nationwide Financial shows not only is health care costs their top fear but they have underestimated what they will have to pay. John Carter, president of Nationwide Financial Distributors adds, "Americans — even those who have diligently saved for their golden years — are not prepared for the reality of health care costs in retirement and don't really understand how Medicare works."

Half of those who have at least $250,000 in household assets fear rising health care costs will deplete their retirement savings. The survey showed that those that fear health care costs estimate their annual payments will be $5,621, a drastic underestimate. A 2011 study done by Nationwide shows that those out-of-pocket expenses will be more like $10,750 a year. One major cost most pre-retirees assume Medicare covers is long term care. Also, they do not realize eye care, dental, and hearing are not covered under traditional Medicare.

Issued last month, a government trustee report showed that Medicare as it is now will be exhausted by 2024 and Social Security by 2033. This has more people planning on working longer, in order to save enough to retire with enough to cover all of their expenses.

It is important to educate your aging 65 clients to prepare for their future health care costs. Especially in this election year, fear runs high as statistics are cited between candidates and plans are proposed. By suggesting Medicare Supplements that help your clients to budget their health care costs in easy to manage monthly payments you will help them ease into their retirement years knowing they are secure in their health care.


Please give us your feedback!
What questions do your turning 65 prospects ask? Do they seem worried about saving enough to cover their health care during retirement?

Source: USAToday

Additional Updates:
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for NV & SC - Learn More
  • Plan "G" - Increasing Sales for many PSM Agents - Learn More

Tags: senior market news, Medicare Supplement, health insurance industry, Senior News, health care reform, Customer Service, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement

GAO Calls for End of Medicare Advantage Bonus Program

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 @ 09:43 AM

Medicare SupplementsThis week government auditors called for a cancellation of an $8.3 billion dollar Medicare program that some congressional Republicans think is a political ploy by the Obama administration. The money is going toward a three-year project intended to make quality improvements to Medicare Advantage plans and financially reward those plans that are scoring well by the Department of Health and Human Services. However the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative agency of Congress, uncovered that the plan’s spending "dwarfs" all other Medicare pilots undertaken in the last 20 years. Plus, they found the majority of the money is going to plans earning only three to three-and-half stars, an "average" score.

Available through 2014, these quality bonuses to Medicare Advantage plans will postpone the drastic cuts Medicare Advantage plans will be faced with under the new health care law. However, the GAO questions whether the bonus program will actually be an incentive to promote quality in insurance providers. Defending the bonuses, the Health and Human Services Department issued a statement saying, "the demonstration supports our national strategy to improve the delivery of health care services, patient health outcomes, and population health."

Orrin Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate panel which oversees Medicare, questioned if the administration had the legal authority to create the program. Hatch stated, "The White House does not have the authority to green-light spending on whatever program it wants. This report is just the beginning — I will be demanding answers."

Hatch also questioned the Obama administration’s use of a technicality in order to sidestep Congress and "write itself a blank check to spend more money for political purposes leading into this year’s elections." He and other congressional Republicans see the spending as a way to appease seniors, a key constituency of swing voters during this election year.

The Medicare Advantage bonus program is the costliest in Medicare history, with money coming from the Medicare trust fund. Next week the Medicare trustees will be releasing their annual report on the status of the program, which is already facing a long-term financial crunch.


Please give us your feedback!
Do you think President Obama is misusing the $8.3 billion for his own agenda of being re-elected this year? Or do you think the bonus plan is a good incentive to make Medicare Advantage companies to take better care of their policyholders?

Source: CNN, Herald-Tribune

Additional Updates:
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Tags: senior market news, Medicare Advantage, health insurance news, Leads, Medicare Advantage News, health care reform

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

Proposed Increase for Medicare Eligibility to Save $148 Billion

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 @ 08:53 AM

Medicare SupplementsThis week the federal government released a projected savings of $148 billion dollars over the next 10 years by increasing Medicare eligibility by two years to age 67 by 2021. This is lower than the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) March estimate of $162 billion, however that calculation did not include premiums paid by seniors into the program. Even though the savings will not significantly affect the budget deficit, they will be able to pay for “doc fix”; a permanent pay raise legislated by Congress for Medicare doctors every year with the proposed money accumulated by raising the eligibility age.

President Obama supports increasing Medicare’s eligibility whereas most Democrats in Congress are against it. Some of the CBO’s findings warn that raising the eligibility age may lead to more people applying for Medicaid, therefore receiving lower quality care and paying more out-of-pocket than they would on Medicare.

However on the positive side, those between 65 and 67 who need private health insurance could have better access to doctors. This is especially true if Obama’s healthcare law remains in place. Seniors would have access to private coverage though the new insurance exchanges.

The CBO also found that increasing the Social Security age in two-month increments for those born between 1949 and 1960 will save an additional $144 billion. However, increasing the Social Security eligibility age has remained politically untouchable by both parties in the 112th Congress.

Please give us your feedback!
What do you think about the proposal to increase the Medicare eligibility year from 65 to 67? How will that affect your Medicare Supplement business? What is your opinion on the decision to propose increase the age of eligibility for Medicare rather than Social Security?

Source: The Hill

Additional Updates:
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  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for Arkansas - Learn More
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Tags: senior market news, health insurance news, industry news, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement, Stonebridge 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

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

Great New Med Supp Carrier for the Enrollment Period

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 @ 09:36 AM

Medicare SupplementsThe Heartland National Life Insurance Company was founded in 1994 in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Today, they have sales totaling 20 million which makes Heartland National one of the foremost Senior Health and Life Insurance distributors in the United States. The company has a conservative, no-nonsense approach, with unsurpassed service and quality insurance products for their agents and policyholders.

Heartland National Medicare Supplement is available in many states. They offer plans A, D, F, G, M, and N to all qualified, contracted agents. Plans are affordable and easy to sell with vested commissions and a quick turnaround on policy issue. Their application is a simple yes/no format and claims are usually paid in five days making the entire process quick and efficient.

The Heartland National Medicare Supplement product specializes in helping seniors with fixed incomes because they understand the importance of full coverage supplemental benefits for their consumers. With service exceeding expectations, you can be assured that your clients will have the support they need for their Medigap policy. Plus, Heartland National Medicare Supplement is available in all fifty states, no matter where they purchased their policy. Policies have unlimited lifetime benefits for as long as consumers keep their policy.

With low monthly premiums, the Heartland National Medicare Supplement is very competitive in several states. Be sure to include this economical plan in your portfolio to coincide with your client with fixed incomes. Please contact your marketer at Precision Senior Marketing, 1-800-998-7715, for more information and to get contracted to sell Heartland National Med Supp.


Please give us your feedback!
Have you heard about Heartland National from clients while prospecting? Are you excited to add this product to your senior market portfolio?

Additional Updates:
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Tags: Annual Enrollment Period, senior market news, Medicare Supplement, Assured Life Medicare Supplement, Heartland National Medicare Supplement, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement, insurance companies

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