We can’t forget the importance of service, ethics, and compassion for clients in our roles as insurance professionals. I was reminded of this when I fielded a call last week from a plan member, who had some legitimate concerns. I rarely speak with the members themselves, so this caught me off guard at first. The lady on the line was noticeably upset, a bit frightened even, and looking for someone that would help her. She had just received notification that her Medigap plan was going to experience a significant rate hike for both she and her husband, and while she never came out and said it, I could sense that affordability of this new premium was a major challenge. She shared that it was very difficult to reach her agent, and after several attempts, was told that there was nothing that could be done, and that the reason for the increase was “Obamacare”. Her husband, also an older gentlemen, struggles with hearing on the phone, so she was stepping up to the challenge of finding solutions on behalf of them both. This woman was very sharp, and perceptive, but obviously needed someone with the expertise to advise her of any and all options available to reduce their cost of coverage. Having recently celebrated a birthday, her research revealed that there may be some favorable rules within this time period that might allow their to select another plan in their state of residency. Her existing agent had already written this option off.
Earlier this week I read that our country’s spending on health care has been at historic lows for a third straight year. The conclusion was formed by comparing health spending growth rates to the overall growth of the economy, reasoning that it’s easier to keep up with the costs if the two are aligned, than if health spending surges ahead.
Do you have clients whose Medicare Advantage Plans did not renew for 2013 and have yet to elect a new plan? They can still pick a new plan, and you can help them do it. Here are a few things to know in order to make sure your client has a smooth transition to their new Medicare Advantage Plan:
You spend a lot of time and effort during the AEP marketing and enrolling Medicare beneficiaries. Make sure that you also spend the proper time and effort submitting error-free applications. We have identified the six most common errors that cause enrollment applications to pend. They are as follows:
During the Annual Enrollment Period, it’s easy to get caught up in growing your book of business and increasing that residual income stream. Make sure that your pursuit of new business does not cost you what you’ve already found.
If it’s been too long since you’ve reached out to that client you wrote on a Medicare Advantage Plan three years ago, you may want to consider giving them a call. Ask them if they have taken a look at the 2013 benefits for their current plan. Ask them if they’d like you to review it with them. Is there a new plan in their coverage area that will better fit their needs? Are they even interested in looking?
Whatever the answer, remember that by reaching out you are accomplishing some important things:
1) You are letting your client know that you’re still in the business of helping and guiding them.
2) You are protecting your book of business.
3) You are protecting your residual income stream.
This process may seem obvious to the veteran agent. But even the most seasoned insurance salesperson can get a little comfortable and start to take their loyal book of business for granted. When you’re thinking about how to fill your time leading up to (and during) AEP, remember that those clients you helped three and four years ago still have eyes and ears. They still have mailing addresses that are being bombarded with offers from other plans and agencies. They still have TV sets advertising the latest and greatest in Medicare coverage options. A simple phone call or 15 minute appointment could ensure that your client remains your client.