A new agent came by our office and was asking whether or not she should pursue the final expense market or the Medicare Supplement market.
My son was nice enough to catch part of the conversation on his cell phone.. here's the end of the final expense part, which was that those folks are at the lowest end of the socio-economic scale, often never having thought of having life insurance before, and often having had horrible money management their entire lives and NOW they want YOU (the agent) to solve this with a brand new policy they promise to pay for, every month, for the rest of their lives; or
replacing or helping someone with a Medicare Supplement policy that they either already had or were already going to buy and would never, ever, be without AND have the means to make those premium payments, forever.
CIGNA has agreed to purchase Sterling Life from Wellcare
See the video:
April 24, 2015
CIGNA has entered into an agreement, pending regulatory approval, to purchase Sterling Life Insurance Company from its current owner, Wellcare. Wellcare purchased the fledgling Sterling Life just three years ago, and tried to turn around its sinking sales of Medicare Supplements, without success. Now, CIGNA hopes to sell their ancillary products to the Sterling clients.
CIGNA's official e-mail to agents can be found here.
For details on how this might impact the competitive nature of Medicare Supplement selling, make sure to watch the Medicare training webinars inside MedicareAgentTraining.com
Can I legally call someone and talk about Medicare Supplement plans?
This is a question that was asked by a new agent this week.
The agent said she had heard that you can lose your license, pay a fine, etc. for cold calling someone about Medicare plans.
What the agent is referring to is the marketing of Medicare Advantage Plans. You can find the marketing rules from CMS about Medicare Advantage plans here.
However, in most all states, it is perfectly legal to telemarketing / cold call, door knock, and approach seniors about Medicare Supplement plans. Only one state, that I know of, has restrictions on the marketing of Medicare Supplement plans.
That state is Ohio. Their law prohibits the following for both Medicare Advantage AND Medicare Supplement marketing.
(2) Any of the following unsolicited contacts with a Medicare-eligible person: (a) Door-to-door solicitation including leaving information such as a leaflet, flyer, or door hanger at a residence, or leaving information such as a leaflet or flyer on someone's car; (b) Approaching individual prospective applicants in common areas (e.g., parking lots, hallways, lobbies, sidewalks, etc.); (c) Telephonic solicitation including leaving electronic voicemail messages; (d) These prohibitions on marketing through unsolicited contacts do not extend to mail and other media (e.g., advertisements, direct mail), or unsolicited contacts with prospective applicants with whom the entity or insurance agent has a business relationship. Near the end of this podcast, I have several suggestions for various new ways to market Medicare Supplement plans through centers of influence.
Medicare supplements provide insurance agents the opportunity for residual income. But, with that opportunity, comes responsibility. The responsibility is to take care of your clients and continue to shop for them in the future. It is not a one time transaction.
It should be an on-going relationship of taking care of their needs.
It is very rewarding to offer seniors the chance to shop for the best Medicare Supplement rate and move to the better offer. All Medicare Supplement plans are the same. They perform exactly the same way. The only difference (found on Pg 68 of the 2014 Medicare & You Guidebook) is in the premium.
And there is a great difference in the premiums.
We are often able to save our senior clients from $50 to $150 per month on the same, exact plan that they have.
The fact is, their agent should have been shopping the market for a better plan much sooner than allowing them to get that far out of whack from the best rate in the market.
The insurance companies HOPE that the senior never shops the market again. They take it for granted that they will not go shopping and will stay right where they are. They then continue to raise the rate, faster and faster.
It is definitely in the senior's best interest to shop at every announcement of a rate increase. If you, the agent, has a relationship with your client, you'll be able to be the one they call to shop again.
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.
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.)
This is a video I did recently on Medicare Supplements and Pre-Existing conditions.
I lost a client once because one of the Medicare Supplement companies, CIGNA, sent out their new policy with a highlight on a Pre-Existing Condition warning. They did not, however, explain in their materials that the pre-ex does not apply if they've already had their Medicare Supplement policy with their former carrier for at least six months.
So, if you are replacing one Medigap (Medicare Supplement) policy with another one, and they were with the old company for at least six months, there are no pre-existing condition exclusions. There are no waiting periods, there are not denied claims with the new carrier where that would not have been denied with the old carrier (if they're moving to the same plan letter with the new carrier).
Here is the video explaining how pre-existing conditions are treated when changing Medicare Supplement policies.
We discuss T-65 (Turning 65) marketing. We also compare Medicare Supplements to Medicare Advantage. 90% of those on a Medicare Supplement plan are happy with it. We also look at the saturation of Medicare Advantage in the country and where you can…
Once the product knowledge is digested, the overall important factor that stands between potential failure or success is training in successful marketing. As insurance agents, it is our mission to help others and we are fairly compensated to the extent that we are able to help more people.
Helping seniors with their Medicare plans is, indeed, rewarding.
The satisfaction of being able to help someone to resolve their confusion and find the best value possible for their chosen plan makes you sleep very well at night.
Our agency has experience in selling Medicare Supplement plans 100% by telephone. This way, our senior clients are not feeling intruded upon by having to meet with an agent in their home or in the agent's office. The convenience by which we are able to transact their Medicare decision is not only comfortable for them but very convenient. We do this through a systematic way of first, building trust, and then showing them their options.
Education then turns to a common sense call to action only when it is in their best interest to take such action.
By consistently reaching out to seniors that we can help, and by consistently providing solutions to those orphaned clients of other agents gone by, we will continue to build a growing, residual income by putting the needs of others before our own.