If as a new Medicare agent you want to be able to offer every Medicare plan. This can be a daunting task! We want to share some tips on selecting carriers to work with.
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Check the carrier’s minimum product requirements to make sure you can meet their criteria.
- Starting with the largest carriers is a good idea as they tend to be easier to sell due to their bigger market share. For example, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, or United Healthcare.
- Next you can connect with regional carriers, starting at the larger ones and then working down to the smaller ones as you gain experience and find the additional carriers help you provide different options.
Choosing Carrier Plans
Some things to keep in mind when choosing carrier plans are:
People trust insurers that they are familiar with. Ask someone outside the Medicare industry if they know the insurers you’re considering.
The Star Ratings
You can check the star ratings of each plan on Medicare’s Five-Star Quality Rating System. These ratings evaluate plan performance in the following areas:
- Preventive care
- Chronic illness management
- Plan responsiveness
- Customer service (this and care quality are very important to subscribers)
- Member complaints and attrition
Costs of Plans and Premiums
- Compare the premium to your clients’ budget before you offer a plan. If you’re a new Medicare agent and have yet to get clients, you can compare the premium to similar plans.
- Examine benefits and costs like copays and coinsurance. This is a cost-benefit balance that you can compare across plans.
- Learn to summarize and explain the out-of-pocket costs for each plan. This will help Medicare beneficiaries to consider copays and coinsurance in their budget.
- Learn about high-need versus low-need subscribers. Have a variety of plans in your portfolio so you can serve all of your ideal clients. That means having something to offer high-premium, low-visit clients, as well as low premiums with potentially high out-of-pocket expenses.
- For beneficiaries you are planning to transfer to a new plan, make sure their providers are in-network. Seniors prefer to keep their doctors.
- Understand the size and diversity of each plan’s network so you can explain this to your clients. Identify what costs a client might incur if they go out of network and ask the carrier if it requires referrals.
You should know how each potential plan covers medications. Find out:
- What prescription types are in the plan’s drug formulary?
- What are the costs at different plan tiers? (Carriers divide their tiers differently.)
Extra Benefits and Features
One of the reasons people look at Medicare Advantage plans is because they offer extra benefits over Original Medicare. It’s a good idea to be able to offer plans that cover benefits like:
- Transportation to medical appointments
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications
- Gym memberships and discounts
- Meal benefits
It’s also important to study the benefits for vision, hearing, and dental, to determine how these services contribute to the cost of the plan.
If you are a Medicare agent and have questions about How to Choose Medicare Carriers or Medicare, call Arnie Fulmer at 702-820-3133. Arnie Fulmer is a Senior Market Advisor and the principal owner of Fulmer Insurance Group, a Medicare Brokerage Agency located in Las Vegas and licensed in multiple states.
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