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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

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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

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

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

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

Combined Insurance Med Supp E-App Now Available

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

Medicare Supplements

Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement is pleased to begin offering agents the opportunity to use their new E-App Platform when submitting your Med Supp business.

Benefits of using the Combined Med Supp E-App:

  • Expand your client base
  • Save time and gas
  • Reduce your daily overhead
  • Eliminate mistakes and unnecessary paperwork
  • Get paid quicker

For contracted agents, in order to get started selling with Combined Insurance’s E-App today, simply login to the Combined agent portal at www.aiatpa.com. Please contact your marketing representative if you need assistance in accessing the agent portal.

Also, to help you get started Combined Insurance has provided a FAQ and Quick Start Guide to make the process quick and efficient.

Combined Insurance has recently filed their competitive Medicare Supplement in the following states: GA, OH, MO, NJ, and PA.

Additional Approved States include: AL, AZ, IL, IN, KY, LA, MS, MT, NC, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, and WV.

Not yet appointed with Combined? Instantly download free sales materials and rates here.

Combined Click Here for More Information

For any other questions on getting contracted with Combined or getting started using the E-App please contact us at 1-800-998-7715.

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Tags: Web Tips, technology, Medicare Supplement, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement

Why You Should Be Selling Med Supp by Phone

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Mar 08, 2013 @ 09:23 AM

Medicare Supplements No matter if you are just getting into the senior market or have been in the industry for years, selling Medicare supplements or med supp over the phone is a great way to expand your business. When you prospect over the phone, you are able to broaden your sales horizon beyond your immediate driving area and allow yourself a virtually unlimited selling territory with no travel requirements. Therefore, you can connect with an entirely new market of qualified prospects, no matter the distance.

By tapping into this national pool of prospects you’ll see increased productivity through your ability to “see more people” in your normal workday. Having this freedom will additionally allow you to cherry pick your territory by marketing to areas where you know your products are the most competitive. You’ll reduce your daily overhead through savings on gasoline, tolls and parking, and also save time through the elimination of unnecessary paperwork further increasing overall productivity and efficiency.

When it comes to the sales process, a few options are available for completing an application over the phone. Most popular to agents, many carriers have developed electronic application (e-app) or telephonic application technology to speed up and simplify the process. Among these carriers you’ll find Mutual of Omaha, Cigna Medicare Supplement Solutions, Equitable Life & Casualty, Heartland National, Combined Insurance of America, and Sentinel Security Life.

The senior insurance market is exploding and selling Medicare supplements by phone will help you use technology to your advantage to reach prospects virtually anywhere in the United States, from the comfort of your work space. For more tips on selling med supp by phone, please contact your marketer at 1-800-998-7715.

Please give us your feedback!
Do you sell Med Supps over the phone? How has it changed your business?

 

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Tags: Success Tips, Senior Market Advice, Medicare Supplement, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, Equitable Life Medicare Supplement, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement, Cigna Medicare Supplement

Projected Hits for Medicare Advantage in 2014

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Mar 01, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

Medicare Supplements This week America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) warned that the potential 2.3 percent reduction in Medicare Advantage payments proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) combined with PPACA's payment cuts will result in benefit reductions and premium increases of $50 to $90 on average. These cuts would affect 14 million seniors which is roughly 28 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries. An analysis prepared for AHIP states that the effect of the changes from both PPACA and the new payment cuts will result in an estimated 6.9 to 7.8 percent cut to Medicare Advantage plans in 2014.

The cuts were proposed last week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). New rules will be published by CMS on April 1, 2013. Subsidies will be slashed and access to the report will be severely restricted, according to the AMAC industry analysts.

The analysis was made by actuaries at Oliver Wyman and was prepared for AHIP. The Oliver Wyman report states, "Virtually all of the 14.1 million Medicare beneficiaries are likely to be affected by these changes, either through increased premiums, reduced benefits, or plan exits from local markets."

The major impact of these changes will reduce Medicare Advantage in 2014 by more than eight percent or nearly $11 billion. Understandably, health insurance stocks reacted to the news negatively and took a hit. The costs per person for Medicare Advantage plans are a bigger drop than many analysts had anticipated.

So far in 2013, only four percent of PPACA's $200 billion in Medicare Advantage cuts have gone into effect. However, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that, after it's fully phased in, the cuts alone will result in three million less people in the program. The PPACA's new health insurance tax will begin in 2014 and Oliver Wyman has previously estimated that this tax alone will cause approximately $220 in higher out-of-pocket costs for seniors, reduced benefits for next year, and $3,500 in additional costs of the next 10 years.

AHIP contrasted the cuts by releasing projections for medical cost increasing three percent. Karen Ignagni of AHIP stated "The proposed changes to Medicare Advantage payments are a crushing blow to the millions of seniors and people with disabilities who count on this critically important part of Medicare."

Please give us your feedback!
How do you feel about these rate increases to Medicare Advantage? How do you think it will affect your business? Do you think this is positive for your Medicare Supplement business?

 

Source: LifeHealthPro

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Tags: Current Events, senior market news, Medicare News, Medicare Advantage News, Equitable Life Medicare Supplement, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement

Introducing Stonebridge Life Med Supp: Now Available

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

Medicare SupplementsStonebridge Life Insurance Company has released a new Medicare Supplement that's easy to sell, offers incredible affordability, and is backed by the strength of an industry leader. This will be one of the most sought after products for independent agents in 2012.

Stonebridge Life Insurance Company is a Transamerica company with more than 20 markets in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Currently, Stonebridge Life covers over 3.7 million consumers with a variety of life, health, accident, dental, and now Medicare Supplement insurance plans. They offer quality products with quick response times as well as courteous and dependable service.

Give your clients a Med Supp they can truly count on:

  • Competitive Rates
  • Excellent Commissions
  • Advancing Available
  • E-Application Available
  • A+ Superior 2 out of 16 as of 4/27/11 rating by AM Best

Stonebridge Medicare Supplement states:

California New Jersey
Delaware Oregon
Florida Pennsylvania
Kansas Washington
Michigan  


Stonebridge Medicare Supplement resources:

Underwriting Guide
Company Contacts
Fax Transmittal

PSM encourages independent insurance agents to request information by visiting the link below and/or call 1-800-998-7715 to learn more about the new Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement product.

Combined Click Here for More Information


Additional Updates:
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Tags: Medicare Supplement, Medicare News, health insurance industry, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement, insurance companies

Short Term Care - An Affordable Alternative to LTC

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 @ 08:28 AM

Medicare SupplementsWhen discussing your clients’ health care options and planning for their future, Short Term Care (STC) insurance is a great option for them to consider. Though it is human nature to not want to think about something happening to us, in reality sometimes an unexpected illness or accident forces us to change our lifestyle and adjust our finances. Created especially for the Baby Boomer generation, STC Insurance covers the costs of health care recovery. It gives your clients and their family breathing room and peace of mind during times of crisis.

With the costs of hospital stays skyrocketing, many seniors are now choosing to stay in a nursing home or have a caregiver come to their home in order to recover as quickly as possible. To give your clients perspective on the costs associated with this kind of care, the average price for an in-home care taker is $21 an hour, or $5,040 a month for 8 hours a day/7 days a week. If a nursing home is better suited, the average cost for a semi-private room is $5,940 a month. These costs multiply quickly, however with a monthly payment on par with the cost of a cable or phone bill an STC insurance policy can be in place and money will be made available for the policyholder to draw from when they need it.

Precision Senior Marketing has partnered with MedAmerica to offer our agents one of the most comprehensive and affordable Short Term Care Plans in the industry. To find out more about the benefits for your clients and generous agent commissions, please call PSM at 1-800-998-7715 or visit our MedAmerica Transitions Short Term Care page.

Please give us your feedback!
Do you sell Short Term Care policies to your clients? Do you find them receptive to the product? What benefits do you focus on when talking about it to your clients?

Additional Updates:
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Tags: Senior Market Advice, Health Insurance, Senior Market, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement, Short Term Care, United of Omaha Medicare Supplement

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