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Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

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:
  • It's here, a New Med Supp from Omaha Insurance Company - Learn More
  • Assured Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for Iowa - Learn More
  • New Medicare Supplement from Stonebridge Life - Learn More

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

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:
  • New Medicare Supplement from Stonebridge Life - Learn More
  • New United of Omaha Med Supp Available in AL, UT, and WA - Learn More
  • New United of Omaha Med Supp Available in MT - Learn More
  • Benefits of Medicare SELECT Plans - Learn More

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

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

Efforts to Defund the Health-Care Law Underway

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 @ 09:35 AM

Medicare SupplementsThis week Republican Denny Rehberg put up an amendment to the pending House bill to fund the final seven months of the yearly budget and prohibit administration from using any of the money to put the health-care law into effect. His proposal is likely to make it into the House budget bill. However, Rehberg's bill faces two obstacles: the Democrats control of the Senate and the White House and that most of the funds needed for the law were put into the law itself. The only way to have access to those funds is for Congress to enact legislation rescinding them, which will be hard to do since the Republicans currently only have majority in the House. Therefore, Republican House members are putting wording in the budget bills stating that none of Congress’ operating costs for federal agencies can go toward the health-care law. The money in question is not actually for the law itself, but the administration costs needed to carry it out. If the spending bills are adopted, they could cause these processes to stop. Richard Sorian, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services uses the example "Even though the funds for seniors’ checks are not affected, the salary of the person mailing it out is."

Another way Republicans are hoping to halt the health-care law is by cutting off funding to the Internal Revenue Service. This week, Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers introduced an amendment to the spending bill preventing agency’s from paying IRS employees working to implement the health-care reform law’s individual and employer mandates. She also offered an additional bill blocking the IRS from hiring anyone to enforce the requirement that all individuals buy health insurance beginning in 2014. Also this week the IRS released their budget request of $118.8 million in 2012 to implement the employer and individual insurance mandates, as well as the other provisions. The health-care reform law will be a huge undertaking by the IRS and represents the largest set of tax law changes in two decades.

Most believe these bills are likely to die out in the Senate or have a presidential veto; however, Congress must agree on a budget bill before March 4th when the current funding will expire. Otherwise, there is a threat of government shutdown if no agreement can be made. However, McMorris Rodgers assures "We’re going to do everything we can to work with the Senate to avoid that."

What do you think of the efforts by the Republicans to defund the health-care law? Do you think they will be successful? Do you think Congress will be able to come to an agreement by their deadline of March 4, 2011?

Grow Your Business Online - PSM Can Show You How

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Do you know how to grow your business online while still managing everything else in your company? Discover 30 Ways to Grow Your Business Online with this guide.

United of Omaha Now Available in Maine

Effective February 16, 2011 United of Omaha is available in Maine – please see the United of Omaha Maine Rates and Application.

Assured Life Now Available in Tennessee

Effective February 9, 2011 Assured Life Medicare Supplement is available in Tennessee – please see the Assured Life Tennessee Rates and Assured Life Tennessee Application.

 

Sources: KHN, The Washington Post, The Hill

Tags: Success Tips, technology, Medicare, Medicare News, Assured Life Medicare Supplement, health care reform, United of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Medicare Part D Price Increase for High Income Seniors

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 @ 09:55 AM

Medicare SupplementsStarting in January more affluent seniors have begun to pay higher premiums for their prescription drug benefits. Since 2007 high income beneficiaries have paid more on a sliding scale for Medicare Part B but this is the first year that scale has included Medicare Part D as well. Additionally, the provision in the health care law froze the income threshold that determines their costs, and it will not be adjusted for inflation through 2019. Senior advocates warn that requiring high-income seniors to pay more for their Medicare premiums might encourage them to look elsewhere for their insurance coverage. This could be significant, as wealthier seniors also tend to be healthier, thus affecting the lower-income seniors left behind with increases. Still, supporters believe it makes sense to require seniors with higher incomes to pay more for their Medicare benefits because it is guarantee issue and community-rated. Switching to private insurance is risky and they doubt that seniors could get a better deal. At this time, James Blum, deputy of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service, is not aware of anyone leaving the program because of higher prices for their Part B coverage. Blum is confident more affluent seniors will continue to stay in the Part D program as well, citing that the Part D plan is generous and the 50% discount (beginning this year) on prescription drugs once they reach the doughnut hole. In the past, roughly 5% of Medicare beneficiaries had been paying the higher premiums; however, with the sliding scale no longer in place this will increase to 10% by 2019 raising approximately $36 billion for Medicare.

How do you feel about affluent seniors having to pay higher premiums for their Medicare Part D coverage as well?

The Diminishing Medicare Doughnut Hole

Starting in 2011 seniors who hit the doughnut hole will have substantial discounts on their prescription drugs, increasing over time and completely closing the gap by the year 2020. This is a significant part of the health care law because in the past those who reached the gap often stopped filling their prescriptions due to the financial burden. Previously, Medicare beneficiaries were responsible for 25% of their prescription drug cost and their drug plan paid the extra 75% until they reach a total of $2530 at which time the senior entered the doughnut hole. However starting this year after reaching the doughnut hole beneficiaries will get a 50% brand-name and 7% generic drug discount until they have spent $3607.50. At that time the senior will be out of the doughnut hole and the drug plan will cover approximately 95% of the prescription drugs for the remainder of the year. By 2020 Medicare beneficiaries will only be responsible for 25% of their bill, no matter how large. This year alone the new plan will save approximately 4 million low-income seniors up to $1800 each. However critics believe this will result in drug companies raising the price on their drugs, to cover the difference. A price increase would affect all of those on Medicare not just those in the doughnut hole, creating another problem needing a solution.

What do you think of the new Medicare Part D benefit? Do you think drug companies will raise their prices to cover the difference?

Medicare Select

Medicare Select

If you’re looking to offer your clients a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan to accompany their Medicare, SELECT Supplemental Insurance offers you a variety of choices. Medicare SELECT plans are essentially lower-cost versions of traditional Medigap Insurance Policies, saving your clients approximately 15% on their premiums. Also, since the risk pool is smaller, SELECT plans tend to have fewer increases as well. The primary difference is that Medicare SELECT Policies require a client to go hospital on the company’s network (except in the event of an emergency). Request more information on Medicare Select plans.

United of Omaha Approved in CA, NE and SD

Effective February 3, 2010 United of Omaha is released in Nebraska and South Dakota – please see the United of Omaha Nebraska Rates and the United of Omaha South Dakota Rates.

Effective February 16, 2011 United of Omaha is released in California - please see the United of Omaha California Rates and the United of Omaha California Application.

Request information or call your marketing representative at 1-800-998-7715 for more information on United of Omaha.

Forethought Now Available in KS and UT

Effective February 2, 2011 Forethought is released in Kansas and Utah – please see the Forethought Kansas Rates and Application and the Forethought Utah Rates and Application or call 1-800-998-7715 to get contracted.

 

Sources: KHN

Tags: Medicare Supplement, health insurance industry, health care reform, Forethought Medicare Supplement, United of Omaha Medicare Supplement, Medicare Select

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plan N Changes

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Thu, Feb 03, 2011 @ 10:04 AM

Mutual of Omaha has announced underwriting changes to their Plan N Medicare Supplements. This will affect all Mutual of Omaha companies including United World and United of Omaha. Exceptions will include New York, where health questions may not be asked (per state regulations) and in open enrollment or other guarantee issue situations where health questions normally do not apply.

New Application (Required after February 16, 2011)

The underwriting changes will also bring about new applications. Where the new applications are already approved, the new underwriting guidelines will be effective with applications signed on or after February 16th 2011. The states are where the new applications have already been approved are:

United World: AL, MD, MN, MT, ND, NJ, NM, PA, UT & WY

United of Omaha: AR, AZ, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MI, MO, MS, NC, NH, OH, OK, OR, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV & WI

Commission Changes

This change will also affect commissions on Plans M and N. Mutual of Omaha will have new commission schedules available shortly, but you can expect commissions on all plans to be uniform.

Here is a link to the announcement from Mutual of Omaha and more detailed information.

Even with these changes, Mutual of Omaha will continue be a leader in the Medicare Supplement marketplace. That being said, this will open up many new doors to other Medicare Supplement companies that want to offer guarantee issue or limited underwriting plans.

Tags: Medicare Supplement, Senior Market, industry news, Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement, United of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Reversing Federal Rule on End-of-Life Planning

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jan 07, 2011 @ 09:49 AM

Medicare SupplementsThis week the federal regulation allowing Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling (also called “death panels” by critics) has been reversed, in order to make sure all of the stakeholders had a say in the decision. The regulation was passed in November but people were not allowed to comment until January 3rd. Under this reversal doctors can still talk to their patients about end-of-life plans; however, they will not be paid by Medicare for the discussion. Supporters say advanced planning should be included in Medicare’s new annual well visit, it is important to encourage those with Medicare to plan ahead, and the service adds value to the Medicare benefit. Those opposed say this discussion is highly personal and the government should not be a part of the process. This reversal comes a week before the House is set to vote to repeal President Obama’s health care overhaul.

What do you think of this reversal? Do you think end-of-life planning is important or should the government stay out of it?

CVS Caremark to Buy Universal American’s Medicare Prescription Drug Business

Last week, CVS Caremark purchased Universal American’s Medicare Part D business for eight times the operating earnings. This buy-out more than doubles the size of CVS Caremark’s 1.2 million drug plan members; and, the addition of the 1.9 million that have United American makes CVS Caremark a major competitor in a short period of time. Universal American’s stock shares soared over 40% after the news of the deal was announced on Thursday, December 30th, and those stock holders can expect to receive between $12.80 and $13.00 per share for the business. Meanwhile, CVS’s shares values remain the same. The Universal American acquisition makes CVS Caremark a larger competitor to health insurers like UnitedHealth Group, Inc. and Humana, Inc. Also, the merge comes in time for the Baby Boomer generation to begin receiving Medicare benefits, the anticipated shift from employer coverage to Medicare in those who are retired, and Walgreens, CVS’s main competitor and the #1 drug store chain in America, trying to get out of the pharmacy business. Supporters of the acquisition also say that this merger will benefit CVS stores as well, with more people going into the store to pick up their prescriptions and possibly other items they might have gone elsewhere for otherwise.

How do you feel about this buy out? How do you think this will affect your Medicare Part D business?

Beginning Internet Prospecting: Do You Have Any Questions?

It’s bound to have come up at some point in your agency business, either a client asks you for your agency URL, you’re looking for a new way to get leads, or you need a place to share all of your industry knowledge. In the last few years, the internet has completely changed the way we interact and it’s now vital for business to establish an up-to-date internet presence. Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to get started. Several template-based, user friendly, Content Management System (CMS) website platforms are available for you to use, with little to no HTML or coding knowledge. We at Precision Senior Marketing use Hubspot; however, Joomla, Intuit, and Wordpress (as well as several others) are also good options. Or, if you do not have the time to create your website yourself, you can hire a graphic design or marketing firm team of professionals to create something completely custom to your agency. It is important to remember your website should be professional, give a great first impression, and be a reflection of who you are as an agent. New to selling Medicare Supplements? Mastering the art of Medicare Supplements is a great place to start.

Once you have a website filled with content about you, your agency, your contact information, Medicare Supplement products, and possibly an online form for requesting a Medicare Supplement quote you need to spread the word about your online presence. One suggestion is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is a series of techniques used to have your website appear in searches. You might consider learning more yourself about the techniques involved or hiring a SEO professional to help you. Other suggestions are social networking (through Twitter, Facebook, ect), blogging, and Pay-Per-Click search. It is important to note that ranking in the top search engines does not happen overnight nor can you set a specific date as to when you will see the rankings you want. Search engines use a complex system of algorithms to determine which sites show up in which position. Keyword density, age of URL, and relevancy all factor in to making your site appear early in the search results for the keywords you are targeting.

How has internet prospecting helped your agency? Do you have any questions about getting your own website, Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click, Social Networking, Blogging, or E-Blasting? Let us know in the comments! Questions submitted will be answered on future blogs.

United of Omaha Phase VI - CA, CO, KS, ME, NE, NJ, and SD

United of Omaha has proposed NEW Medicare Supplement rates for California, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, and South Dakota, tentatively effective 02/01/2011 (pending state approval). With Ultra-competitive rates, excellent commissions and a name your clients will know and trust, this is an opportunity you cannot afford to pass up. Partner with PSM and ensure you have the most competitive edge in the Senior Market. Request more information now or call 1-800-998-7715 for more information.

Sentinel Life Rate Increase for Louisiana

Effective for all Louisiana applications signed on or after January 14, 2011 there are new rates for Sentinel Life Medicare Supplement LA and Sentinel Life Medicare Select LA. Call 1-800-998-7715 to get contracted with Sentinel Life.

 

Sources: KHN, Reuters, Agent’s Sales Journal, Politico, The Associated Press

Tags: United of Omaha Phase VI, senior market news, Medicare Supplement, Medicare News, Sentinel Life Medicare Supplement, United of Omaha Medicare Supplement

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