Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Review of Our March 1st Life Insurance Event

For those of you who hadn't heard, we conducted a life insurance informational meeting last Tuesday. If you missed out on this event, be sure to register with our website by clicking here so you can stay up to date on all of our beneficial meetings and presentations!

Monday, February 29, 2016

How Using a Fact-Finder Can Make You a Cross-Selling Expert

In the insurance industry, it is very easy for agents to become single-product oriented. Instead of providing a variety of product types such as Medicare, Individual Major Medical, Life Insurance, and Ancillary, most agents find it easier to become an expert in one category and ignore the rest. This, of course, limits the amount of income you stand to make. If you haven't heard the term "cross-selling" preached to you a million times then you have probably been living under a rock. We all KNOW we should cross-sell, but there lies a gap between the intention and the execution. This is where the handy dandy fact-finder comes in.

It may seem a little exaggerated to say that a fact-finder can effectively work to suddenly change your habits from focusing on one or two products to being a cross-selling success story. However, it truly is the first step, and by using this tool you may find that opportunities to cross-sell present themselves to you as you go. Here is the process of using the fact-finder and how different elements of the process can increase your sales.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Life Insurance Isn't Complicated

The phrase "everyone is unique" certainly holds true when considering how much life insurance you need.  However, life insurance does not have to be complicated.  The industry has taken some major steps in recent months to make the writing and issuing of policies much quicker and simpler.

There are three main types of life insurance to know as a starting out point:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

CMS Increases ACA Oversight & Wants to Classify Provider Networks

What can we expect from CMS in 2017?  More oversight, that is what.  CMS intends to take on a bigger regulatory role in reviewing ACA premium rates and categorizing provider networks for qualified health plans (QHPs) offered via the 36 insurance exchanges that rely on the federal platform.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Your Next Step?

Okay, it’s February.  Open enrollments periods for Medicare and ACA product have long since closed.  The bloom is off the rose of most New Year’s resolutions.  And Valentine’s Day is more of a made-up holiday to sell flowers and greeting cards than insurance.  So what does a well-qualified, filled-with-good intentions agent do?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

CMS Wants Bigger Role in Rate Review

Under the ACA, exchange administrators are required to consider rate increases when making certification decisions. Previously, CMS flagged so-called “outlier” rates, which were substantially higher than others, and then asked that state’s department of insurance to provide a rationale for approving the increase. The agency often deferred to states in allowing substantial rate increases. When carriers submit initial 2017 rates this year, however, CMS proposes conducting a rate review of QHP increases over 10% according to the letter.
State regulators and carriers could push back on the proposal. A spokesperson for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners declined to comment until after it submits comments to CMS. CMS is the sole rate reviewer in five states — Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming —which opposed the ACA and didn’t want to play a role in approving QHP rates. Regulators in those five states actively review proposed rates only for products outside of the exchanges. CMS could potentially use the same rate-review process for other FFE states if the proposal is finalized.
For the 2017 plan year, carriers must submit their applications and rate filings between April 11 and May 11. Final submission of all QHP data and permitted changes are due to CMS on Aug. 23.
CMS also appears to be moving to more of a parallel regulatory structure with state insurance departments when it comes to the oversight of agents and brokers, based on the letter and the BPP.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Federally Facilitated Exchanges No Longer Temporary

The administration has gradually moved away from the ACA’s goal of encouraging Federally Facilitated Exchange (FFE) states to stand up their own State-based Exchanges (SBEs). The ACA was written with state-based exchanges as the primary model, and the federal platform was expected to be a temporary solution for most states.
The agency, for example, offers no new encouragement for a state to switch to a state-based model or to preserve SBE status. The agency also proposes making it more expensive for SBEs that want to shift some functions to the federal platform. Some industry observers expect more SBEs will move to the FFE model entirely or move to a partnership model.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Are Your Marketing Efforts “Locked-In”?

Much has emerged lately of concerns voiced by carriers offering ACA-compliant programs, that various SEPs (Special Election Periods) adversely affect the forecasting of costs, and add to the difficulty of maintaining the profitability necessary for a carrier to continue to offer such plans, particularly through the exchanges.

While the forecasting of costs is obviously a huge factor in determining the viability of plan offerings in any insurance offering, things in the “Medicare world” aren’t exactly the same as in the world of those directly eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  The Special Election Periods for those on Medicare programs generally have a much longer track record, and allow agents working that market a different track to consider.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Health Insurance Options for Young Adults

What are the options for insurance for young adults in the age of Obamacare? Here is brief overview of common options for those of the millennial generation: 

Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage
 Any young adult who is a full time employee may potentially have access to a group plan that is offered by the employer.  This is normally a desirable option since most employers pay a portion of the employee’s premium.  One of the downfalls to this type of insurance coverage is the group rate could be much higher than an individual would normally pay for themselves.  That is how group coverage works.  It shares the cost of the entire group among all. This type of coverage fulfills the individual mandate. (What is the Individual mandate? In 2014 the Affordable Care Act included a mandate for all most all individuals to have health insurance or pay a penalty for noncompliance.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Obamacare Alternatives: Health Care Sharing Ministries

Health Care Sharing Ministries may be an affordable option to an Obamacare plan, in some cases saving 50-60% of premium, but what are they and what is the risk of enrolling?

Image Source

Health Care Sharing Ministries plans (HCSMs) are faith based plans for individuals and families.  These plans are considered to be a non-insurance related product.  Most of us are familiar with discount plans featuring savings for dental, vision, hearing and prescription drugs; these plans are not insurance.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Why Insurance Professionals Should Consider Targeting Millennials

Millennials are an interesting segment of the insurance market due to their unusual health care purchase behaviors. Their methods of information consumption and decision making has understandably been affected by the technology and conditions of their generation. So why should the healthcare industry focus their energy on this generation?

This year marks the first year millennials outnumber the Baby Boomers (by 7.7 million) according to the United States Census Bureau. Aside from sheer numbers, this is a relatively unpenetrated market. As of 2015 17% of Millennials did not have health insurance; compared with the 12.3% uninsured rate in 2015 for ages 18-64.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ways Insurance Agents Should be Using Social Media

When you think of the ways you market yourself and your agency, social media may not be the first avenue you consider.  However, with nearly 1 in 4 people worldwide using social networks*, you are missing a huge opportunity if you choose not up jump on board with social media marketing.  See below digital snapshot to see how many people now have internet access, social media accounts, and note over half of the population are using mobile devices to access this information.

Knowing social media can play a key roll is obtaining new clients, how can agents harness this technology?

Here are 4 ways you can grow your business with social media.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Where Life Insurance Trends Are Heading in 2016

Recent studies have stated that life insurance sales are showing their strongest across-the-board growth since the year 2000. Policies are beginning to trend higher in premiums as well as sheer volume. Term, whole life, and guaranteed universal life policies have all been strong, with indexed universal life showing particularly strong. Variable life is the only area that seems to be lagging behind with clients becoming too nervous to make a gamble of that nature (and who can blame them with our government’s current state).

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Alphabet Soup (What is MADP?)

Even experienced “Medicare Agents” sometimes will read MADP and just think it is a typo of the acronym for the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) health plans.  But, though related, it is a point in another direction.

MADP is the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, which takes place each year from January 1 to February 14.  It gives an individual enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan the opportunity to leave their plan and switch back to Original Medicare. If that person decides to switch back to Original Medicare during this period, they'll have until February 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage.  That coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.