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A Medicare Tutorial for Insurance Agents

If you’ve heard Bernie Sanders speak, you know that he would like to expand the Medicare program to all Americans. “Medicare for All” is the proposal, and the idea is that the government’s Medicare program works well for seniors and would be a good replacement for the Affordable Care Act. For brokers who have been selling individual plans through or one of the state-based exchanges, it may come as a surprise that any health care program in which the government is involved could run smoothly, but this one has been around for 50 years now and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. For that reason, and because agents are looking for an alternative to the ACA plans they’ve focused their attention on for the past couple years, we’ve received a lot of requests recently for information about Medicare-related products, so we thought a short tutorial might be in order.

Where are all the doctors?

One of the insurance industry developments this year that have us scrambling for solutions is the number of insurance companies that are reducing health care provider availability within their networks. This is happening by reducing the size of their networks or eliminating out-of-network benefits. These aren’t mutually exclusive: some insurers are doing both. 

Is it time to start selling Medicare products?

Brokers across the country are understandably worried about some of the recent developments in the individual market, including carrier decisions to stop paying commissions on products sold during special enrollment periods and to eliminate agent commissions altogether. If these changes have impacted your business, you’re probably nervous about having all your eggs in one basket and are considering looking for new income opportunities.

Why Financial Planners Should Sell Health Insurance

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, reports on the connection between health insurance and financial security. The article is based on Kaiser Family Foundation polling of California residents who obtained health insurance after the Affordable Care Act took effect.

How do you fix falling individual medical sales? Go self-funded

We hear it every day - agents are struggling to find individual major medical plans that meet the needs of their small-business clients. Some of the more recent developments in the individual market, designed to keep premiums down, end up making plans less desirable. Deductibles are growing, networks are shrinking, and more prescription drugs are being moved to non-formulary – meaning they aren’t covered under the plan – and yet, premiums continue to rise. Some health care providers are even deciding to stop accepting plans purchased through the Marketplace. How do you fix falling individual medical sales? Go self-funded.

How to Maximize Your Sales with Each Client

We’re currently in-between open enrollment periods in the individual market, so brokers are receiving a lot of advice—from AHCP and elsewhere—to sell other products that their clients need. It’s not a bad idea considering the number of products our license allows us to sell; indeed, there are insurance products to protect almost anything that’s important to our clients and prospects. Plus, it’s a good time to diversify, to place our eggs in a few other baskets, especially with the current uncertainty surrounding individual health insurance commissions.

Big Changes Coming to Next Year’s ACA Plans

The third annual open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act is now over and in the record books, so it’s time to start looking ahead to the next OEP, scheduled to begin on November 1, 2016. This is important because there are likely to be some big changes coming to next year’s ACA plans for the 2017 open enrollment period, changes which could impact your conversations with existing clients and the way you market individual health plans between now and November.

Fewer Special Enrollment Opportunities in 2016

In an effort to make the Marketplace attractive for both consumers and insurance companies, CEO Kevin Counihan stated in a January 19 press release that CMS is eliminating “several unnecessary special enrollment periods” while clarifying the definitions of other SEPs. He also vowed that CMS will provide “stronger enforcement so that special enrollment periods serve the purpose for which they are intended and do not provide unintended loopholes.”

Last Chance for Coverage in 2016

As you know, the first two enrollment deadlines for 2016 coverage have come and gone. During these last couple of weeks of the annual open enrollment period, people can sign up for coverage to begin on March 1st. We know you’re busy trying to sign up as many people as possible in the last few days, so we’ll keep this short, but we did want to share a couple items with you that may help you better advise your clients and bring in a few more sales.

Time to Brush Up on HSAs

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) first hit the scene back in 2004, and since that time they’ve grown at a steady pace. Every year, more and more brokers get on board with consumer-directed health plans and HSA plans in particular. Still, not every agent is a fan. It’s not easy to create conscientious healthcare consumers. Americans have shown an unwillingness to save their money, and, without up-front copayments, some people go without needed care.

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