AETNA Vows to Fight For Merger

-From Christopher Westfall

July 21, 2016

The Justice Department has filed two separate suits to prevent the merger between both Aetna and Humana and the merger of CIGNA and Blue Cross.

Today, Aetna said that they will defend their acquisition of Humana and gave the substantial reasons why such a merger is a good thing for the country.

Among the reasons given, Aetna says that the combined company would “Improve affordability, quality, and consumer choice.”
Their stats show that a combined Aetna/Humana company would still only serve 8% of eligible Medicare beneficiaries, far from the monopoly that the Justice Department will argue would result from the combined forces.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and expect that Obama's Justice Department will do everything in their power to prevent the merger, and it might ultimately be settled by a federal judge.

The original Aetna press release can be found here.

 

Medicare Supplement Training

 

Why more agents are getting into Medicare

Many friends and relatives have been contacting me recently to ask more about the business I’m in. Why? For a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, their changing life circumstances where they may be seeing change ahead or no progress where they currently are.

More, though, are seeing the lifestyle that this business can afford those who have put the time in to build a residual income business by helping people, and they want more of that in their lives. This is, perhaps, the best reason because I firmly believe that if you want something bad enough to trudge through the unpleasant parts of getting there, you will absolutely have it.

In the last 30 days, my wife and I have traveled to Rome, Italy (with Mutual of Omaha’s Sales Leaders trip) and to Iceland with Aetna. We will soon be taking another trip to Vancouver, BC with yet another insurance organization and then I’ll be going on to a “mastermind” event in Alaska just before the busy season begins yet again.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE ON MEDIUM….. CLICK HERE

Providing Value vs. Providing Products

What is it that you are communicating?

If you are communicating to the senior market that you have Medicare products, guess what?
Every other agent in America also can sell Medicare products.

What is it that you are bringing before you are asking for them to buy?
Are you providing valuable information that they can use or do they feel that the entire conversation is geared toward driving them to a sale?

It has been often quoted that people want to buy, they DO NOT want to be sold. They make their decision emotionally, based on what has been provided, and then justify that decision, later, logically. By merely providing yet another channel where someone can buy, without first providing value, you are just like every other salesperson out there and nothing separates you from what anyone else can do.

A recent survey conducted by Hubspot shows that people want to be provided service FIRST, as the most important deciding factor before they make a buying decision. This should not be news, if you examine who you, yourself want to buy.

The key is providing service BEFORE the sale

 

When my wife and I were in Rome recently, we watched in awe as these young boys were on the steps to a thousand+ year old monument, attempting to sell their wares. What they were selling where 11×17 inch replica water colored paintings of the various monuments around Rome. These same replica paintings were being sold on many street corners, but these boys were very creative, and it showed.

What they did differently was that one of the boys had a coloring pencil in his hand, and a variety of colored pencils at his feet. He sat on those steps and appeared to be just finishing the next painting, himself. He appeared to be putting a lot of attention into the detail of what he was working on, as the other paintings were surrounding him on full display. This gave the illusion that HIS paintings had all be hand-done and had been created meticulously with care.

To the passing tourists, what appeared to them was that they had an opportunity to purchase custom artwork of Rome, drawn right here on the steps of one of the monuments. How unique and valuable!!

While these two kids were selling the exact same thing as everyone else, they created the perception of unique value that their particular paintings brought that other similar paintings in the area did not have. With the other unmanned displays, folks were just buying copies. With this one, they bought value.

In a similar fashion, many top producers in the industry have shared with me the various ways in which they paint the picture of unique value in the mind of their potential consumer. Whether it is researching drug plans for their clients, or promising an amazing amount of follow up, they attempt, at every turn, to separate themselves from the agents who merely provide only an application and a policy delivery.

Agents who make no attempt to separate themselves and their business from the competition will be bland, boring, and will reap the rewards that befall nothing interesting.

 

CW

Medicare Supplement Training

TRICARE For Life and Medicare Supplements

Many agents that are speaking with seniors about their Medicare options often encounter seniors who say they are on “TRICARE For Life”.

Having answered this question for hundreds of agents who haven't searched it on their own, I want to openly let you know that they are NOT candidates for Medicare Supplement plans.
TRICARE For Life is a comprehensive, Medicare wrap around product like a Medicare Supplement plan. No further coverage for them is needed.

Please see the video.

 

Now this is different from someone getting VA benefits. Those folks most often do purchase a Medicare Supplement because they wish to use private facilities and most often cannot when their only option is the VA hospital or clinic near them.

-Christopher Westfall

Medicare Supplement Training

United American Suspended from Medicare Part D Program

As of August 1, 2015, United American (a Torchmark company) has been suspended indefinitely from participation in the Medicare Part D program.

Read the notice here

Video review and analysis:
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Medicare Supplement Training

Pausing Your Success – Telemarketing Tips

A video that was supposed to be private feedback between Chris Westfall and one of his telemarketers in the Phillipines was accidently left PUBLIC on Youtube. It now has over 1,000 views and has some good tactical information for all telemarketers.  In this video, there is an example, from Chris' telemarketer, revealing the “pause of death”, where 95% of folks were hanging up on the call as a direct result.

Once this pausing was corrected, the results took a dramatic turn and the campaign was successful.

The information in the video is repeated quite a few times, but there is some good information at the end, too, about the inquisitive, non-confident way in which each sentence was ending, by the telemarketer. Each statement sounded like a question, leading the prospect to believe that the telemarketer was 1) unqualified 2) not confident and 3) scared out of her mind.

Here's the video:

For more specific information on hiring a telemarketer, outsourcing and more, see this link from MedicareAgentTraining.com
(Non-Members won't see results.)

Medicare Supplement Training

How much should you charge for Medicare advice?

Over the 4th of July weekend, I received an e-mail offering a comparison of all of the Medicare Supplement rates in my area for ONLY $49!
This was such a deal because their usual cost is $99 for an unbiased quote of all Medicare Supplement plans in my area.

What a deal, right?

Wrong. I'm often asked by potential clients what my service costs.. for me to look up the rates and also provide them the background on the companies listed in the results. Very happily, I tell them that our service costs them nothing, as it is included in the cost of the premiums, whether they went direct to the carrier OR used the service of an experienced agent. No extra cost!

I did a video about my reaction, and show the e-mail from the company offering the $49 Medicare Supplement quote.

Chris Westfall
Medicare Supplement Training

First Carrier to “Get it”.

Medico just sent out an e-mail blast telling agents that they should strongly consider NOT chasing the Turning 65 crowd.

This is great! It's the first time a carrier has acknowledged the huge opportunity that I've been talking about for eight years – all of those (45 Million) that are NOT “Turning 65”.

Higher premiums means higher commissions and more opportunities to help folks out of an expensive plan!

Over65Marketing

See more on Medico here.
Way to go, Medico!

-Chris Westfall
Medicare Supplement Training

Door to Door Flyers for Insurance Sales

Personal observation in my neighborhood about positioning and the insurance professional.

If you are considering local marketing, please use the methods described in this post.
The results are much better and the positioning makes you out as the expert you are.

Leaving flyers, door to door, for insurance leads is not only a tough way to go, but doing this yourself means you have nothing better to do and leaves you in a very bad position in the mind of your prospect. There is a way to do it where you can introduce yourself, show what you have to offer (much better than a corporate brochure) and have others deliver these packets much more efficiently FOR YOU.

See the post:   Getting Started Without Leads

It is ALWAYS better when you develop your own leads for insurance sales. Rather than relying on lead vendors, who very often rip off the unsuspecting agent, when you learn to create your own leads you can control the quality, the quantity of leads, and your costs along the way.

 

-Chris Westfall

 

 

New Tool for Web Page Creation

Many of my clients are now finding my agency from the online world.
It is getting to be essential to have a presence online that is credible, persuasive, and looks professional.

This is the neatest thing I've seen in a very long time.
It makes the nicest looking pages I've ever seen, but adds animation and lots more, if you want it.

Here, I show a couple of demo sites that I created in 10 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively.

Watch This Video

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You can check out this awesome software and see more comprehensive demonstrations here: MedicareAgentTraining.com/profitbuilder
The question will naturally be “Can you make members one of these cool web sites?

The answer is no, not at this time. With my schedule, it's just impossible, and with this super easy tool, it is too easy for anyone who wants a great looking site, to build it in minutes. Learning how to directly control your internet presence is essential, and becoming more so each and every day.

VoiceMail Effectiveness – Tips You Can Use

Effective Voicemails for Insurance Agents

Do you take the machine gun approach to leaving a voicemail?

Or are you thoughtful in the message that you leave, encouraging with your tone of voice, diction, speed, and message for the person to call you back?


This is a drastic example of what not to do..

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Try this:

1) Who are you?
2) What are you calling about? (“What's in it for me?”)
3) Phone number given, twice, at writing speed.

Medicare Supplement Training

How do you cancel the old Medicare Supplement policy?

https://MedicareAgentTraining.com

How do you cancel an old Medicare Supplement policy when the new one has been issued?

That's the topic of this week's SeniorAgentPodcast with Chris Westfall.

Feel free to listen to the answer!

Click here:  http://senioragentpodcast.com/sap-009-cancelling-medicare-supplement-policy/

 

 

Questions answered include:

  • When should you cancel a new Medicare Supplement policy?
  • Do you call, or does the client call the old company?
  • Is a form required to cancel an old policy?
  • Can they get their old policy back?
  • Is there any grace period?

 

 

Replace or Leave Them Alone?

One major carrier that entered the Medicare Supplement market last year initially had a very strict clause in their contract that they almost-immediately removed due to agent backlash. It said an agent could not, under any circumstances, replace one of their policies for at least two years.

There is also a major agency out there that recruits with a “free leads” model for Medicare Supplements that says that the owner specifically prohibits you to contact your clients that you've written, after you've written them. 

He says in his agent contract that he believes it's in their best interest to be “left alone” and not bothered again by the agent. 

If they don't call you, leave them alone and they will stay.

Read more Replace or Leave Them Alone?

When to Cross Sell and When Not to Cross Sell

I'm often asked, “WHEN is the best time to ask your client, or potential client, about other products that they may be interested in?”

Yes, there are plenty of things that your clients may eventually want to purchase, but the best thing to do is to first make them a client, preferrably by saving them money. Then, and only then, talk about cross selling other products to your Medicare Supplement client.

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Also see this related post: https://medicareagenttraining.com/where-to-focus-the-riches-are-in-the-niches/

 

 

Plan F or Plan G – Mutual of Omaha joins bandwagon

Plan G is a better value than Plan F. Every day every time.

Why?

Because even if the rate is not drastically better today, the renewals surely will be better (for Plan G) tomorrow.

Mutual of Omaha on February 12, 2014 had a post purporting the benefits of Plan G.

See the Mutual Express blog on the topic.

And here is our webinar on this topic.

This was covered in depth for our members in this webinar, where not only are the benefits shown, but the salesmanship to go along with it are explored. The only company in the market paying commissions on the Part B deductible is New Era (and sister company Philadelphia American). This means, with the other companies, you are not getting paid commission on the deductible, anyway.

In my opinion, it is far better to separate yourself from the competition by saving your client the most money today, and at renewal time, by strongly recommending Plan G.

Remember, though, that many seniors just won't get it. Some are not capable of understanding the numbers and just want the convenience of Plan F. Don't be discouraged when you encounter this. They just don't want to be bothered. In the end, the customer is always right, and I'm happy to sell them what they are looking for.

-CW

 

SelectQuote Enters Medicare Market

Last night I was out with my wife and saw, on a restaurant's TV, a commercial playing on the ESPN channel.

The commercial was for SelectQuote Senior – their new senior division, selling Medicare Supplements to seniors.

Upon reviewing their site, they have a very limited, and somewhat outdated, list of carriers that they represent in the Medicare Supplement market. For instance, they're still selling Gerber Life and GPM Life's Medicare Supplement plans, neither of which are competitive anymore.

The fact that such a large company is entering the Medicare Supplement marketplace reinforces that this is definitely the place to be!
The recent report by CSG Actuarial said that the outlook for 2014 and beyond for the Medicare Supplement market is very good.

Proving once again, selling Medicare Supplements by phone CAN be done!
Proving once again, selling Medicare Supplements by phone CAN be done!

Here is the commercial I saw:

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Update since the post:
Comment from Paul in KC:
__________________________________
On Sun, Feb 2 at 11:35 AM , Paul wrote:

Chris – based in Kansas City. Actually within a mile of my house. Select have been doing Med Supps for a few years now but still growing like crazy.
Another company, coincidently right across the street is Spring Venture Group. Started in Med Supp just a couple years ago with the two founders. They go by the name of United Medicare Advisers. The majority of the leads generated is with their own website and google Adwords etc. I was offered a job anytime but turned it down because I'm building my own empire and not somebody else's. 😉 Anyhow these guys now have over 100 folks manning the phones six days a week. They have been so successful that they started their own life insurance company. Generations Life I believe. They were also offered 1.5 million in tax credits to take the business over the state line into Kansas. (Yuck, we hate Kansas)
Moral of the story…. There is so much business in senior products everyone on your site should be setting a Million dollar a year income goal and if they stick with it they will meet that goal. So what if it takes ten or fifteen years. Just do it I say. Sent from my iPhone 4S
____________________________________

 

 

Medicare Training 101

It is a very good time to be in the Medicare Supplement market

A new study by the CSG Actuarial folks says that it is a very good time to be in the Medicare Supplement market.

See the study here:

Medicare Supplement – 2014 Forecast

By Doug Feekin on January 31, 2014 —

Now that we’ve put a wrap on 2013, here’s a 2014 Medicare Supplement market forecast from CSG Actuarial. All in all, it is a very good time to be in the Medicare Supplement market. The market is expanding due to the demographics in the United States and the risk issues of the past few years seemed to have settled down. Most companies are realizing additional profits from lower claim trends and attempting to increase market share.

Claim Trends Stay Lower

CSG Actuarial is projecting that overall Medicare and Medicare Supplement claim trends will continue the pattern from the past three years and remain lower in 2014. Along with the overall lower claim trends, Medicare Supplement Plans C and F should experience further dampening of their claim trends due to the Part B Deductible not increasing in 2014.

Lower Claim Trends | Lower Premium Increases

CSG Actuarial is projecting that these lower claim trends will continue to drive lower and/or delayed premium increases. Overall premium rate increases have declined the past three years and we expect 2014 rate increases to be generally in line with the level of increases implemented in 2013.

Plan G

CSG Actuarial is projecting a continued emphasis on Plan G from some of the primary companies in the Medicare Supplement market. In most instances, the premium savings for Plan G versus Plan F is substantially greater than the out of pocket cost of the Part B Deductible and some agents are starting to put more focus on plans other than F.

Sales, Sales, Sales

CSG Actuarial is projecting continued growth in the overall sales in the Medicare Supplement market. Our current estimate for overall 2014 Medicare Supplement annualized new premium sales is between $3.5 and $3.6 billion. CSG Actuarial expects that at least 10 companies will have Medicare Supplement sales greater than $50 million in 2014.

New Market Entrants

CSG Actuarial is projecting an increase of new entrants into the Medicare Supplement market in 2014. The pipeline appears to contain at least 10 and possibly as many as 15 companies attempting to put new Medicare Supplement products on the street in 2014.

About CSG Actuarial

CSG Actuarial is a leading provider of actuarial and competitive information for supplemental products. CSG has more than 50 years of actuarial experience with pricing, product development and competitive intelligence within the Medicare Supplement, Critical Illness, Cancer, Final Expense, and Hospital Indemnity markets. Call 855-861-8776 or email [email protected] to learn more.

(Remember, you can utilize the CSG Quote engine for free using our tools.  See the Tools page.)

Medicare 101 Training