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Archive for August, 2011

Ritter Insurance Marketing is committed to bringing tools to help with your sales. Below are two articles that do just that.

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Got a question from Reggie in Montana on when Medicare.gov’s plan finder would be loaded with 2012 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan data.  According to the 2012 Call Letter (see page 100), the data should be available on Thursday, October 6th, 2011.

Also, note that if there are involuntary disenrollments, you cannot market to these individuals prior to October 1st, 2011.  They will have an SEP which starts on October 1st, so you will be allowed to enroll them for a 1/1/12 effective, but you must wait until 10/15/11 to enroll Medicare beneficiaries without an SEP (Annual Enrollment Period).  CMS is encouraging the companies to issue disenrollment letters before 10/1/2011, but the requirement is BY 10/1/2011 (a Saturday).

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10/20/2011 UPDATE:  Social Security benefit increase for 2012 was finalized yesterday at 3.6%.  Here is a link to my blog post on this along with some refinement of where the Medicare Part B premium for 2012 will land when it is announced the week of October 24th.

10/15/2011 UPDATE:  Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period began today!  The Annual Enrollment Period (or AEP) runs from October 15th 2011 through December 7th, 2011.  To find information on your 2012 Medicare Advantage, Part D or Medicare Supplement options from a local insurance agent, click here.

Here is the Original Story:

Here is a link to an early story on the upcoming increases for Social Security Benefits and Medicare Part B premiums for 2012.  The number should be out in early to mid October.  The past 2 years, Social Security benefits have not increased due to the way that inflation is calculated.  Medicare beneficiaries are “held harmless” to Part B premium increases unless they are new to Medicare, in which case that get the higher premium.  About 75% of Medicare beneficiaries are paying the $96.40/month, however, those who were enrolled in Part B in 2011 are paying a much higher rate:  $115.40.

I’ll need to do a little research to see if there is a SS increase, if those paying the $96.40 will jump the whole way up to the $115.40, or if they will only get an increase based on their current premium.  A few years back, the Part B premium was pretty standardized, however, today there are a multitude of premium rates someone could be paying.

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Do you need insurance product training? RitterIm.com has an up-to-date posting of all the top carriers’ trainings on our event calendar. Registration is “one click” away at Ritter Insurance’s “Events’ Calendar”! (You must be logged in to register!)
  • Monday, August 22nd; 2012 Altius Product Training is being held in South Jordan, UT.
  • Tuesday, August 23rd; Baltimore Life Tele-sales Training for Silver Guard Products Using INSpeed webinar is open to all Baltimore licensed agents. Humana Certification Training is being held in Phoenix, AZ. Universal Health Care Certification is being held in Roswell, GA; Roanoke, VA; Lake Mary, FL; Daytona Beach, FL; Monroeville, PA; Shreveport, LA  and Columbia, SC.  Genworth Seminar for Senior Supplemental Products is being held in Brooklyn, MN. Coventry 2012 HAPA-WPA CCP Product Training is being held in Mars, PA. 2012 Altius Product Training is being held in Ogden, UT. New TransCare II LTCi Products webinar is open to all agents.
  • Wednesday, August 24th; Humana Certification Training is being held in Phoenix, AZ. Universal Health Care Certification is being held in Rockville, MD; Washington DC; Duluth, GA; Las Vegas, NV; Baton Rouge, LA and Greenville, SC.
  • Thursday, August 25th; Universal Health Care Certification Training is being held in Rockville, MD; Washington, DC; Plantation, FL; Jacksonville, FL; Marietta, GA; Alexandria, LA  and Ashville, NC. Genworth Seminar for Senior Supplemental Products is being held in Rochester, MN. 2012 Altius Product Training seminar is being held in South Jordan, UT.
  • Friday, August 26th; Ritter Insurance 2011 Summit is being held in Harrisburg, PA. Universal Health Care Group Face to Face Training is being held in Camp Springs, MD and Stockbridge, GA.
  • Monday, August 29th; Coventry AEP Broker Seminar is being held in Grantville, PA. Universal Health Care Certification Training is being held in St. Petersburg, FL; Houston, TX; Mt Vernon, IL and Tupelo, MS. 2012 Altius Product Training seminar is being held in South Jordan, UT.

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Ritter Insurance Marketing is committed to bringing tools to help with your sales. Below are two articles that do just that.

Read Full Post »

Do you need insurance product training? RitterIm.com has an up-to-date posting of all the top carriers’ trainings on our event calendar. Registration is “one click” away at Ritter Insurance’s “Events’ Calendar”! (You must be logged in to register!)
  • Monday, August 15th; Health Option One Product Overview and Training webinar is open to all agents. Universal Health Care Certification seminar is being held in Fairfax, VA.
  • Tuesday, August 16th; Baltimore Life Tele-sales Training for Silver Guard Products Using INSpeed webinar is open to all Baltimore licensed agents. Health Option One Product Overview and Training webinar is open to all agents. Universal Health Care Certification seminar is being held in Roswell, GA, Grapevine, TX, Roanoke and Fairfax, VA, Sarasota, FL and East Elmhurst, NY. Genworth Seminar for Senior Supplemental Products is being held in Grand Island, NE. Humana Product Training is being held in Irvine, Orange, Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos, CA.
  • Wednesday, August 17th; Coventry GHP/MHP Broker Portal Updates/Navigation webinar in open to agents in MO. Health Option One Product Overview and Training webinar is open to all agents. Coventry AEP Broker Seminar is being held in Philadelphia, PA. Genworth Seminar for Senior Supplemental Products is being held in Kearney, NE.  Universal Health Care Group Face to Face Training is being held in Huston, TX, Sandston, Richmond, and Roanoke, VA, East Elmhurst, NY, Augusta, GA, Reno, NV, and Tulsa, OK. Humana Product Training is being held in Long Beach, Torrance, and Culver City, CA.
  • Thursday, August 18th; Health Option One Product Overview and Training webinar is open to all agents. Universal Health Care Group Face to Face Training is being held in Lansdale, PA, Yukon, OK, Duluth, GA, Reno, NV, Stuart and Gorda, FL. Humana Product Training is being held in Burbank and Pasadena, CA.
  • Friday, August 19th; Health Option One Product Overview and Training webinar is open to all agents. Universal Health Care Certification Meeting seminar is being held in College Park, GA, Hialeah and Tampa, FL.
  • Monday, August 22nd; No trainings are scheduled at this time.

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Congress is considering making changes to Medigap due to the fact that high users of Medicare services tend to have Plan F policies.  Ron Iverson of National Association of Medicare Supplement Advisors has been championing the fight to protect Medigap.  He asked for comments back in a recent email (I’ve copied his email below).  Following is my response to Ron where I argue that the whole basis for “demonizing” Medigap could be based on a common logical flaw.

Ron:

I thought pretty deeply about this issue and I’m afraid that the very basis of the argument may be a common flow of logic referred to as “correlation does not imply causation”.  Here is a wikipedia link which explains this logical flaw:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation.

An example in the article states, “The more firemen fighting a fire, the bigger the fire is observed to be.  Therefore firemen cause fire.”

Obviously, this is a ridiculous statement.

I think the causation argument is similar with regard to Medigap Plan F:  “The higher users of Medicare services tend to have a Plan F policy, therefore, Plan F INCREASES (or causes) utilization.”  A more logically sound statement may be, “High users of Medicare services tend to have a Plan F policy because Plan F offers them the best value proposition.”  If the latter is true, then the Medicare system would still be “burdened” with the high users of Medicare services WHETHER OR NOT a Plan F is available.  Thus, high utilization and enrollment in Plan F are CORRELATED, however, one does not necessarily CAUSE the other to occur.

Craig

PS  Thank you for your continued support of our industry.

Here is Ron’s original email which I was responding to:

 

The official newsletter of the National Association of Medicare Supplement Advisors, Inc. This letter is sent to people who qualify for membership in NAMSA. It is sent on an irregular basis, as developments occur regarding Medicare, CMS, Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage. The letter satisfies the ongoing effort to update NAMSA members regarding information useful to our industry.

 

“What You Don’t Know, Can’t Help You”

 

1)  Please take a look at our motto above.  We have spent the better part of a month informing you of some important developments in our business.  Please look back to your NAMSA Newsletters of July 20, July 27 and August 8.

 

2)  There is a move on to change Medicare as we know it (soon) and Medicare Supplements as we currently know them.

 

3)  Last Monday (August 8) in the newsletter I delivered access to two reports from AHIP that suggest there is no need to change Medicare Supplements.  They provide assistance to our interests in Medicare matters which are sure to come before the new “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.”  THERE IS AN URGENCY, since they will go to work almost immediately.

 

4)  I asked each member to print and read the two studies.  Then I asked you to respond with your views about NAMSA sending a letter to the committee and other congress members regarding the changes which are sure to come under their consideration.  So far, I have only received eight responses.  That is embarrassing.  This affects YOUR business, and I don’t think we should wait until Med Supp commissions have been cut in half before we act.  I need your response yesterday.  Just tell me to move forward with a letter which addresses our concerns. 

 

5)  YOU have a large stake in these developments (the barn door is open) so I need your help.  Let’s start with the ammunition the two AHIP studies have given us.  The whole study process will take about an hour of your time.  I think that should be worth it, in comparison to what you have to lose by being apathetic.   

 

Here’s how you get the studies:

 

1)  Hit the link below.

2)  You will be at the article.

3)  Print it out.

4)  In the third paragraph, you can hit the link for the “Trends in Medigap Coverage and Enrollment, 2010-2011″ study.

5)  Do so.

6)  Print out the study.

7)  Come back to the article.

8)  Go to the bottom and hit the link for “Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance: Myths and Facts.”

9)  Print it out.  Study it–it is powerful.  Respond to me with a recommendation that we take action.

 

Here’s the link:

 

9.7 Million Beneficiaries Rely on Medigap for their Health Security New AHIP Report Finds
July 27, 2011
A new AHIP report shows that 9.7 million beneficiaries rely on Medigap for their health security. Continue reading –>

 

 

When I have sensible number of responses I will construct the letter, consult the board of directors, and prepare a letter which you can deliver to your Congress people and distribute to your associates. 

 

“It was the best of times…It was the worst of times…” seems to fit us here.  We have a great past in helping our customers, and we have a great future.  We should work to keep it that way.  As I quoted one of our members, Gizella Keating, last week, “I know that my clients need me now more than ever.” 

 

Here’s another from one of the eight respondees, Howard Peck:  “There are two constants that exist when I walk into folks’ homes.  1)  A pile of brochures from insurance companies that they didn’t read.  2) A need for professional and honest assistance to help them make the best decisions, because they simply don’t understand the obscene complexity of Medicare.”

 

Well said.  Great Quotes!  I need more ammo of this sort, so please respond.

 

We have politicians out there who want to remove the value of the agent in explaining insurance matters to their customers (as they were able to accomplish in group health insurance via PPACA) who could not begin to explain their own insurance coverage to themselves.  This is backwards.

 

In the meantime, my best to all of us.

 

Ron Iverson, President and Executive Director

National Association of Medicare Supplement Advisors, Inc.

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