If you're just starting to sell Medicare Supplements and have questions about who you should sell to, let's review our list of ideal candidates who would benefit from purchasing a Medicare Supplement policy from you.
When you're talking to your clients about Medicare Supplements it's important to ask them questions about their health and lifestyle. Ideal candidates for Medicare Supplements don’t want to use network doctors, and they want the freedom to go to any hospital or doctor that accepts traditional Medicare. They typically want to know their costs every year, and don’t want to deal with copays and coinsurance.*
Many ideal customers live in rural areas where Medicare Advantage plans and networks are limited. Having the ability to go to any doctor or hospital that accepts traditional Medicare is a huge draw for many people, which in turn makes them great Medicare Supplement candidates. Typical Medicare Supplement policy holders prefer having original Medicare, and would like to save money on their prescription drug plans.
Some of your clients may have health issues, but if they purchase a Medicare Supplement policy during their open enrollment period, they have the choice to pick and choose which plan they'd like without having to go through any underwriting. This open enrollment period occurs three months before they turn 65, the month of their 65th birthday and three months after they've turned 65.
Many typical Medicare Supplement policy holders have higher incomes and enjoy traveling. They want to have flexibility with their coverage, and enjoy having the ability to take their policy with them while traveling.
*Some Medicare Supplements do have copays and coinsurance.
Some of your clients may receive lower premiums.
Your clients may receive lower premiums if they:
What is MACRA? And how does that effect Medicare Supplement sales?
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) is a bipartisan legislation signed into law on April 16, 2015. This legislation changes how Medicare pays physicians who provide care to traditional Medicare beneficiaries. And what does that mean for you, the insurance agent?
It means Medicare Supplement Plans C, F and High Deductible F are no longer available for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries. However, clients who already have these plans will be grandfathered in, and will continue to be able to use their existing policies or even change their policy to another Plan C or F in the future, if they choose.
Newly-eligible clients are those who first become eligible for Medicare due to age 65, disability, or end-stage renal disease on or after January 1, 2020. Newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries will have to choose from other Medicare Supplement plans which include: A, B, D, G, K, L, M and N.
Plan G continues to remain a popular Medicare Supplement plan, but you can review the differences below.
Plans C and F will NOT be options for Medicare beneficiaries who turn 65 on or after January 1, 2020.
*Plans F and G have high-deductible options in some states. If your client chooses this option, they must pay for Medicare covered costs (coinsurance, copayments, deductibles) up to the deductible amount of $2,340 in 2020 before the policy pays anything.
**After your client meets the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, the Medigap plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
***Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in admission.
Nearly 11,000 people turn 65 every, single day. Clearly, there is no shortage of Medicare Supplement prospects. Before discussing different plans with your clients, be sure to ask them questions about where they plan to live if they're retiring, if they have health issues, whether or not they're still working and have employer based coverage or spousal coverage. Asking these important questions will help you when you review the different plans available to them, guaranteeing a Medicare Supplement that provides the best coverage and price for their needs.
Need more info? Download our Medicare Supplement Kit to learn more!
Every year between October 15th and December 7th Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to make changes to their existing policies and change their benefits with regard to Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans and Prescription Drug plans. It can be an overwhelming time for seniors as they sift through all the literature that has been mailed to them, and all the plans they've been researching online.
Your clients should have received their 'Annual Notice of Change' from their insurance company. This notice will list any changes in their policy, such as possible increase in costs or coverage. The notice should compare the benefits they currently have and what they will be in 2020. Their prescription drug plans should also be reviewed at this time of year to ensure that their medications will still be covered.
As their insurance agent, you can assist them with making the best decision regarding their policies for the next year or even longer. We've laid out everything your clients can do during this enrollment period below.
So what exactly can your clients do?
There are so many options for your clients, and it can be a daunting process to assist them with their choices, but utilizing our tools and resources will help make the process smoother. Some of these tools include using our rate and underwriting tool which will allow you to cost compare Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans for them. If you don't have access to our Resource for Rates tool, you can request access and receive a 30 day trial. Our contracted agents always have full access to this tool. It's also available as an app in the App Store and on Google Play. Use your login credentials for the desktop version to access quotes on the go.
Reviewing our new Medicare & Part D Plan Finder guide will help you if you're not AHIP certified and selling prescription drug plans to your clients. It's a step-by-step guide to the newly launched site on Medicare.gov. The new plan finder has a much simpler, and user-friendly interface; however, it does encourage Medicare beneficiaries to create a My Medicare account and to login with their credentials so they can save their prescriptions. It is not necessary to have them create an account if they do not wish to; you'll still be able to assist them with their drug choices.
In some cases, your clients may already have the best plans, and they won't need to do a thing. However, this is your opportunity to review their policies and determine if they'd be better off with another plan. It also provides the opportunity to open up the discussion about other types of insurance they may need.
Reminding your prospects that using your services doesn’t cost them a dime is something that may slip your mind. When seniors are overwhelmed with phone calls and postcards before their 65th birthday, they go to the internet to research their Medicare options. And as you know, many seniors purchase their policies online directly from the carrier without any real guidance.
There is no fee for using a reputable, knowledgeable insurance agent to guide you to the best insurance decision
This one crucial element can help you secure more clients in that it shows them your value. Seniors are overwhelmed by the amount of information available to them on the topic of Medicare. And it’s not an easy topic to understand. There are so many nuances when it comes to understanding the intricacies of Medicare and the different parts, deductibles and options available to cover gaps.
Your value is that you can explain Medicare in layman’s terms and research the best options for your clients based on their health, age and state of residence. Choosing the wrong plan with a fly by night carrier is a recipe for disaster. Seniors need to understand that Medicare is not like employee-based coverage. Helping your clients and prospects understand Parts A, B, C and D is the value you bring.
Many seniors are apt to dive into a Medicare Advantage plan because of the cost savings. However, if their health takes a turn for the worse, or their network pulls out of their county, they’re in big trouble. Explaining the differences between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement plans is a huge value add. For some, the cost savings is paramount on a fixed income, and a supplement plan is not a viable option. But for those who can afford it? Explaining that they can use any doctor or hospital they choose without being confined to a network is peace of mind for the premium they’ll pay.
The next time you approach a prospect, remind them that prices for Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans are set. There is no additional fee by using your services. It may well be the deciding factor for them.
Yet another wave of Medicare scammers is on the rise. As new Medicare cards will be mailed out, seniors are finding themselves susceptible to phone scammers who are calling and identifying themselves as representatives from Medicare.
Callers are requesting payment for the new Medicare cards that are absolutely FREE. Please advise your Medicare-aged and eligible clients to be wary of such scams and not to give out private information about themselves. Medicare will correspond only via mail.
To report a scam, please use the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker, contact Medicare.gov directly at 800-MEDICARE or report the scam or fraud at Medicare Fraud Reporting.
There are two types of insurance agents. Those who sell you what YOU think you need, and those who sell you what you TRULY need.
You have your hustlers who get out there and sell that quick life policy or home owner’s policy because that’s what their client came to them for. But do they take the time to get to know their clients and follow a well thought-out customer engagement model? An engagement model that steps them out of the insurance agent role and into the caring and trusted advisor role?
Let’s face it, getting that next policy on the books is good for your bottom line, and if you’ve got 300 clients, then what’s selling just another policy? Or wait? Is that really who you are? What your business is about? Just selling insurance to pay the bills, and get that free trip the carrier promised you? Or is it more? Are you the type of insurance agent who wants to be remembered for helping others? The type of individual who leaves behind a legacy? The type of professional who went above and beyond to insure his/her clients were getting EXACTLY what they needed?
If you’re following that customer engagement model and talking to your clients about their lives, you’re learning about them and where they need your insight and advice. They’re coming to you for your knowledge and expertise. If they weren’t, they’d just buy their insurance online and forgo the whole insurance agent altogether. Right?
Your client wants to purchase a life insurance policy, but is also turning 65 later this year, and will likely need some type of supplemental insurance once he’s retired and enrolled in Medicare. If you’re asking the client his age when you’re running a quote for his life policy, the next step in your mind should be to discuss his health insurance needs after reviewing life insurance options. That’s not rocket science. From there you can dive deeper into your client’s needs and mention long-term care. If he’s planning on retiring at age 65 and enrolling in Medicare, long-term care isn’t covered by Medicare unless he requires skilled services or rehabilitative care. Long-term Care costs are staggering. Nursing home facilities command a whopping $82,125/year for a just semi-private room.
It takes a matter of minutes to open up the doors for discussion when you’re speaking to a client or a prospect. A quick policy on the books is great for your bank account, but satisfied clients who refer your services because you’ve gone above and beyond to help them with a complete solution? Legacy status.
Selling your clients insurance or a solution? It all lies in your hands.
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.