Medicare Sales

Episode 21: The Value of Cross Selling

In Episode 21, we discuss cross selling! However, we start off by talking about how drones are saving lives! When you think of a drone, what comes to mind? Do you think of healthcare? Maybe not. But a company called Zipline is working to change that! They are using drones to deliver life-saving medical supplies to remote areas in African nations. 

Later in the episode, we welcome Keith Hinson as a guest! He provides us with insight on the value of cross selling. His experience is incredibly helpful and valuable to other agents who want to cross sell! Keith makes it simple and easy to understand what benefits cross selling offers, what to offer to clients when cross selling, and his advise on how to cross sell successfully!

Podcast Episode 21 – The Value of Cross Selling Transcription:

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 21 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith…

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode we’re coming in hot with DRONES! Yes, you heard right. Drones are saving lives! We will discuss how. We also are going to talk about something you all should be doing when possible, cross selling! Cross selling is really important to increase your sales and build your business. We brought our very own Keith Hinson back on the podcast to break it all down!

Disruptive Waves:

Sarah: So continuing our discussion of some interesting technological advances that are affecting the healthcare space, we are going to talk about drones today! Okay, we all know drones are cool. Kinda scary. But also super cool. Well, drones are now being used to save lives!!

Jessica: We are pretty lucky here in the US, most places at least have the infrastructure to be to transport life-saving materials, even to remote rural areas. But other countries like Rwanda and Ghana, aren’t always so lucky. Currently, they don’t have the necessary infrastructure to allow for access to remote health centers. Some of these health centers only receive medical supply deliveries twice a year. But a company called Zipline is working to change that!


Sarah: Zipline manufactures drones in California and then stations them at distribution centers in the African nations of Rwanda and Ghana. They hope to expand into other developing nations as well! Basically, their goal is to deliver life-saving medicines and other medical products to remote areas that don’t have the infrastructure in place to receive deliveries any other way. So they probably just don’t have the road access but what’s awesome is that Zipline drones fly without a pilot and are able to fly over mountains and rivers so the local communities don’t need to have roads in order to receive medical deliveries!

Jessica: What’s really cool is that the doctors in these remote locations can request deliveries via an app! These drones can fly rain or shine and they’re now supporting hundreds of deliveries per day! 

Sarah: Yeah and in places where it used to take over 5 hours for medical supplies to arrive, now can only take 30 minutes with a Zipline drone delivery! That can be the difference between life and death for someone in critical condition so it’s so awesome!

Jessica: Yeah this just shows the power of technology in today’s world. It’s so amazing that people are using drones for good!

Sarah: Yeah I feel like I typically think of drones as either a military thing or just for fun to fly around your neighborhood and take photos so it’s really cool to see drones being used to save lives!

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Jessica: Today we are lucky to have one of our own, Keith Hinson on the podcast! He is going to talk to us about the value of cross selling, how you can be doing it and why it’s so important!! First Keith, would you mind giving us a little background about yourself?

Keith: My name is Keith Hinson and I am the Vice President of Life and Ancillary Sales here at Senior Market Advisors. The way I got into the insurance business was that I was actually educated to be an engineer and I was working a graveyard shift sitting at my desk and I realized that it was not the way I wanted to spend my working life. So I did research and figured that insurance would be profitable and a good fit for my life so 20 years later this is where I find myself. Couple fun facts: I’m an eagle scout and I’m a three-time iron distance tri-athlete.

Sarah: Okay so cross selling is that simple right. Can you just talk about the basics of cross selling and what products you would be cross selling?


  1. What is cross selling?  At its core cross selling is selling complementary products that pair well with the original product or additional products that were uncovered during your fact finding process.
  2. As an example, for the senior market, these products may include products such as Dental, Vision, HIP, Home Health, Cancer, etc.  All of which pair with with Medicare plans or specific needs that would be uncovered during the fact finding process.

Jessica: How does cross selling help grow your business?

Keith: I believe that cross selling as part of your daily activity is important for four main reasons..

  1. First and foremost, it’s the right thing to do for your clients. – educate them
  2. Book Diversity
  3. Money – Marketing is expensive – at least expect to double your income at 1 out of 4
  4. Retention – Limra Study 3+

Sarah: Okay so there are a lot of compliance concerns around cross selling. Even the word cross selling makes some agents feel uneasy. Can you just talk a bit about what you can and can’t do and how to make sure you’re compliant?

Keith: The easiest way to answer that question is to make sure that anything you discuss  has been initialed on the scope. Dental, Vision, Supp, MA, Indemnity, Part D (exclude life, DI, LTC, etc.)


Jessica: Are there certain products that pair well together and should be sold together if possible?

Keith:There are several plans that pair well together.  As an example:

Supp, Part D, Dental, Vision

MA, HIP, Cancer – OOO, Part B Cost with Chemo, Part D cost

Sarah: What is the best advice you can give an agent who decides to go ahead with cross selling?

Keith: My advice is pretty simple.  

  1. Have a plan/presentation and know your products
  2. Present the options every time
  3. Do it consistently.  Not everyone will buy and you have to polish your presentation

Make sure to tune in for an extra funny segment of Ending on a Positive Note with Jessica and Paxton! You don’t want to miss it.

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can be your home for success this AEP, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Sarah: Want more Medicare sales related content? Follow Senior Market Advisors on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – links in the description. We post new episodes every other Friday so make sure to follow and like us to stay up to date with all the newest content! If you’re liking our podcast, share our posts with the hashtag SELLING SMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot! 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors! 

How to Build Client Trust to Make the Sale – EP. 19

Episode 19 is all about client trust. Learn what steps to take when you first step into an appointment and meet a beneficiary for the first time in order to gain their trust and get the sale. We’ll discuss ways to connect with your clients so that they feel comfortable with you because people want to buy from people they like. Pay attention to your surroundings and find topics that you can bring up in conversation, be polite, and treat your client the way you would want to be treated by someone coming into your home. Most importantly, to gain client trust, it needs to be clear that you care about doing what is best for them and not the sale. You want to help them and find a plan that is right for them!

In this podcast, we also talk about scammers who are targeting Medicare eligibles by getting them to take genetic tests to see if they are more likely to get cancer or if they will respond poorly to certain medications. These fraudulent tests have been happening all over the country and there are hundreds of investigations in the works to try and get to the bottom of this issue.

Finally, with Veterans Day right around the corner, we end the podcast with stories from our very own employees about their time in the military or the impact the military has had on them and their lives. Thank you for your service Gina, Aaron, and Omar! Another big thank you to anyone else who has helped protect our country and our freedoms! We appreciate all you’ve done and sacrificed for our country! 

Podcast Episode 19 – How to Build Client Trust to Make the Sale Transcription:

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 19 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode we discuss…

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: So you may have heard but there has been some fraudulent activity regarding unnecessary genetic testing targeting seniors in the Medicare space recently.

Sarah: Yes in all, more than 300 federal investigations have been conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies. One assistant inspector general for some of the investigations said that his office would receive about one or two complaints per week in 2018. However, now the fraud hotline has as many as 50 calls a week.

Jessica: And these incidents aren’t limited to one geographic location! These investigations are going on across the country.

Sarah: Yeah, and a lot of these investigations were partially started because they noticed unusual Medicare billing data patterns and these started emerging quite a while ago in 2015. 

Jessica: Yep! According to an analysis found by Reuters, for Medicare payouts, genetic tests have gone from $480 million in 2015 to $1.1 BILLION in 2018! 

Sarah: Which is a crazy jump! The investigations are examining billings submitted to federal health insurance programs because by law all diagnostic lab tests have to be ordered by a doctor treating a patient for a specific condition.

Jessica: Well and in the cases under review, investigators and patients told Reuters that marketers would get elderly residents to turn over their Medicare or Medicaid info, their driver’s license and other forms of identification and then they would tell them to take a free cheek swab that will help them understand their risks of developing cancer and how they will respond to drug treatments based on their genetics. And then they get a doctor to sign off on it and approve the test which is then taken to a lab which then seeks Medicare payouts. 

Sarah: And then a lot of the labs aren’t even relevant to the patient’s history and some of the doctors are trusting the patients and signing off on them without conferring with the patient. Apparently many patients aren’t even receiving the results and if they do receive them, they receive no assistance in interpreting the results.

Jessica: Really I think a lot of this is also happening because scammers see trends like 23&Me and things like that and they know that people will trust it or want to know certain information about their genes and/or health.

Sarah: Definitely, but it is just super sad and for multiple reasons. I mean one is that a lot of these seniors are getting their tests back and none of them even make sense and it’s just useless information. The part of the problem is that Medicare may deny these claims, meaning that the Medicare beneficiary may have to pay out of pocket for these fraudulent tests costing them thousands of dollars in some cases. And labs are billing Medicare insurance plans for crazy amounts of money. One woman from Florida said that she found out a lab billed her Medicare Part B plan more than $30,000 and was paid more than $12,000! And she also said that the test results she got back were pretty much useless. 

Jessica: What’s also really sad about this is that now seniors, who honestly are already a relatively suspicious market, are now having real cause to be suspicious which is just hurtful to the people out there, like our agents, who are truly trying to help.

Sarah: For sure! It’s not just about the money these scammers are getting, but the people. They are definitely hurting people and making them question. That’s also why it’s good to practice ways of building client trust, which we will discuss in detail in the next segment!

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: Okay, so once you’ve got an appointment with a beneficiary you may be asking what you can do to make sure you successfully close the sale.

Jessica: And there are many factors to making sure you’re successful, but the most important is definitely building client trust. 

Sarah: Client trust is definitely key! Put yourself in their shoes, what kind of salesperson would you want to buy from? 

Jessica: I know that I wouldn’t want to buy from someone who seemed like they cared more about the sale than me. I would think they are taking advantage of me for sure! 

Sarah: Exactly! You would want to buy from someone like you, someone you feel you can trust!

Jessica: So this is how you build client trust!

Sarah: First impressions are EVERYTHING, so be prepared! Dress appropriately, make sure you have all your relevant marketing materials, applications, and scope of appointment forms.

Jessica: When you arrive at their home, be friendly! Smile when you get out of your vehicle, be inviting!

Sarah: Yeah and be looking around for clues that will give you insight into what their interests are.

Jessica: Maybe they have a military bumper sticker or are hanging a sports team’s flag outside their door. These are things that you can be paying attention to so that you can bring it up in conversation and relate to your client!

Sarah: People can also sense your level of confidence. 

Jessica: Kinda like how animals can sense your fear! Haha!

Sarah: Haha right! So when you walk up to the door, make sure you walk with purpose! Oh and whatever you do, DO NOT peer into their window after you knock!

Jessica: Yes, make sure you step back after knocking on the door. Some elderly people may take a little longer to get to the door and if they see you peering in they are going to get spooked! I know I would!

Sarah: And when they finally invite you in, make sure that you don’t hesitate. Talk to them as you enter. Also, remember to be courteous. If their home seems neat and tidy and they’re not wearing shoes ask if you should remove your shoes before entering. 

Jessica: Just think about what you would want if a salesperson was coming to your home. If you always put yourself in your client’s shoes, then you should be safe in making them feel comfortable with them.

Sarah: Obviously building client trust goes beyond the initial few seconds of you arriving and entering their home. So let’s talk rapport.

Jessica: Building rapport means making the beneficiary feel comfortable with you by presenting yourself as friendly and open. This can be done in many different ways. So let’s break it down, Sarah!

Sarah: Alright! Number one: make small talk by asking questions and discussing their interests. Like we mentioned before, take note of your surroundings. If you noticed that they served in the military you may be able to start a conversation. Oh, you were in the military? My dad was a Marine! Or something like that. Try to relate.  Also, make sure you stay away from religion and politics if possible. And of course, ask lots of questions to understand what products and services they may need or want.

Jessica: My turn! Number two: Listen and engage. A lot of what we have told you already serves to this point, but there is a reason for that… it’s important! Try to get to know your client on a personal level and share stories of your own to connect with them. Try and find commonalities between the two of you. This will make you seem like a real person and not just some stranger trying to sell them something. 

Sarah: Remember, that clients like buying from people they actually like. Sometimes the product is secondary. You could be selling the best product in the world, but if you don’t seem trustworthy and honest, it’s likely you’re client will buy from someone else who they like more.

Jessica: Yes, that’s super important! We can’t emphasize that enough! 

Sarah: Which brings us to the last part of building rapport: tone and body language. We like to use a technique called parroting. 

Jessica: haha What a great name!

Sarah: haha Yeah, so to parrot you talk how your client talks, act how they act, etc. because, once again, people like doing business with people like them.

Jessica: Yes, so make sure you pay attention to their body language because that will help you with parroting. But also, it will give you an idea of how they feel. If they are leaning in and nodding their head then they are most likely engaged and interested, but if they have their arms crossed and are leaning away from you that’s a sign of disengagement and they may not trust what you’re saying. We actually discuss understanding client body language in Episode 3 of the podcast about The Assumptive Close technique. So give that a listen if you want to dive into body language a bit more!

Sarah: So another way to make sure that you build client trust, introduce yourself as an expert. Even if you’re brand new to sales!

Jessica: Fake it till you make it, am I right? haha

Sarah: You are definitely right! Haha! Spend a few minutes letting them know who you are, what you do, and that your job as a Medicare specialist is to make this process as easy as possible for them. Remember that you will be discussing a lot of personal information with this person, they may open up to you about their health problems. So making sure that they see you as an expert, as someone who truly understands what you are selling them, is incredibly vital.  

Jessica: Make sure that you believe in yourself and what your offering! Remember, people can sense your level of confidence! Also, think about what your why is! Once you know this it will be easier to convey that you truly want to HELP people and get joy from helping beneficiaries like them getting great benefits that cover their needs. 

Sarah: Yeah, I mean maybe even tell them a story about someone else that you’ve helped gain the coverage they deserve and how much joy and gratitude you received from that interaction. We interviewed motivational coach and international speaker, Ben Newman, last episode and he talked a lot about how telling stories is an important selling method. It makes you relatable and connects with the beneficiary on an emotional level.

Jessica: Telling your client about others you’ve helped will allow them to get comfortable with you and know that they are doing business with someone that a lot of other people trust.

Sarah: Yes, why else do companies always want customer reviews? Because people gauge their confidence in a salesperson or a product based on other people’s experience. This is a great reason why referrals are so important in growing your business!

Jessica: Also remember that this trust-building process doesn’t stop once you’ve made the sale. That is only the beginning of your relationship with your new client! If you truly want to retain your clients, it’s important to position yourself as their go-to person for everything Medicare, even after the sale. You want to be their point of contact for whenever they have a question about their Medicare coverage.

Sarah: Yes!! I feel like this is a part of selling Medicare that doesn’t get enough attention. Selling the product is important but what you do AFTER the sale is equally important!

Jessica: If you’re wondering what you can do after the sale to retain your clients, you can use the 3-30-60-90 conversation guide! We’ve got another podcast episode that discusses the 3-30-60-90 guide in detail so give that episode a listen. But to summarize, in order to build client trust, it’s important to maintain contact. Whether that be 3 days after the sale, 30 days, 60 days or 90 days! Always stay top of mind with your clients and make them truly feel like you are there for them and care about their needs.

Sarah: Yes! So there you have it! These are great ways to build client trust. 

Jessica: And the more client trust you have the more likely you’re going to make the sale and maybe even get referrals! So always put yourself in the clients’ shoes. Think about what would make you want to buy from someone. You’d probably want to buy from someone who is friendly, honest, likable, and truly knows and understands the product. Someone who you can trust to not only help make the best healthcare decision but also someone you can rely on as a true Medicare expert!

Facebook: Senior Market Advisors

Instagram: @SeniorMarketAdvisors

Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!

Ben Newman on How to Be a Top Performer – Ep. 18

In Episode 18, Sarah and Jessica interview Performance Coach, Ben Newman. Senior Market Advisors has been working with Ben Newman for a few months and we knew that his knowledge needed to be shared with our listeners. He has been working with SMA leadership and employees to help our company improve through successfully growing and maintaining efficient company culture. Through our time with Ben Newman, we have come to know the power of his authenticity and engaging storytelling. No wonder he has become nationally recognized! This podcast is exactly what every agent needs to listen to during the start of AEP

Ben Newman is a highly regarded Performance Coach, International Speaker, and Best-Selling Author. He has worked with clients from Fortune 500 companies around the world as well as professional athletes in the NFL, PGA, NBA, MLB, UFC, and NCAA. Ben Newman has shared the stage with leaders such as Jerry Rice, Ray Lewis, Tony Dungy, Colin Powell, Brian Tracy, Ken Blanchard, Jon Gordon, and many others. In 2012 The Napoleon Hill Foundation recognized Ben as one of the Top 51 speakers and thought leaders in the world and his book, “Own Your Success,” was ranked by CEO READ as their #13 business book of the year. He currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife and their children who he says is the true measure of his success. In this podcast, Ben Newman shares with us the strategies he has implemented within his life and others’ lives to be a motivated top performer. 

Join us as we talk to Ben about “The Burn,” mental toughness, identifying SMART goals, and life lessons from his mother. We promise that if you use these techniques in your own life you will not only excel professionally but also personally. Ben Newman has the ability to help you reframe your mind and realize what motivates you. Figure out what your burn is! You’ll see an increase in sales, productivity, and overall happiness. Listen to the full podcast to learn the secrets of being a top performer!

Follow us on social media and share our podcast postings with the #SellingSMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot!

Facebook: Senior Market Advisors

Instagram: @SeniorMarketAdvisors

Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

Medicare Plan Finder Tool: What’s Changed? – Ep. 17

Episode 17 discusses the latest update to the Medicare Plan Finder Tool on As you may have heard, this tool has been significantly altered with AEP right around the corner. Find out what exactly has been changed and why agents everywhere are talking about it. 

As we go through all of the Medicare Plan Finder Tool revisions, we will highlight the following categories: saving information, preferred pharmacies, overview of costs, total costs, provider networks, star ratings, drug cost assistance, printed drug list, navigation issues, out-of-pocket max, and old records. Learn what is new and what has remained the same, so that you can figure out the best strategy when enrolling beneficiaries this annual enrollment period.

Finally, we will conclude on a positive note with an interview with agent Paul Coleman. No matter what is going on in the industry, we always try to focus on the good and the lives we can impact for the better professionally and personally. 

Medicare Plan Finder Tool: What’s Changed? – Ep. 17 Full Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: Today’s episode is all about the updates to the Medicare Plan Finder Tool on So we are going to switch it up a bit on this podcast. We are going to combine the Disruptive Waves section with All Aboard the Knowledge Train because this massive update we have for you will affect your every day selling this AEP…

Jessica: Yes, hopefully you have heard by now that the Medicare Plan Finder tool on has had a HUGE update recently. The new Medicare Plan Finder tool went live on on October 1st which unfortunately didn’t give agents much time to play around with the changes and get comfortable with the new tool before AEP. 

Sarah: So if you haven’t familiarized yourself with these changes already, you really should before AEP! These changes will affect how you use the tool during appointments to get beneficiaries the right coverage for their needs. 

Jessica: Forbes had a few articles on the most important changes to the Medicare Plan Finder tool. So let’s break down the changes and then we can dive in to how they will affect you. 

Sarah: Starting with how you save information… 

  • Saving Information – One of the biggest potential issues for agents is the ability to save information. The only way to save information now on the new Medicare Plan Finder Tool is to have an account on But here’s the catch: to create an account you need to have a Medicare number and you might need to add some other other health information. Now you could technically fudge that other information, but you have to have a Medicare number. This means agents may be unable to save information. This also means that if a beneficiary who is new to Medicare and not yet 65 wanted to browse plans and save information to discuss with an agent, they wouldn’t be able to do so as far as I can tell when I was messing around today with the new Medicare Plan Finder Tool.(Source

And now time, for an SMA Value Ad:

Are you an insurance agent or agency looking for extra marketing support, but not sure where to start? Senior Market Advisors can give you the tools you need to grow your business. Need leads? Use SMA Storefront to customize generic one-of-a-kind marketing materials. Have leads but nowhere to house them? Other FMO’s may charge you for their CRM tool. But at SMA, we give you a personalized CRM account for FREE! Have leads… but no way to quote them? Lucky for you, SMA offers FREE access to the CSG Quoting tool. This tool can cost you thousands of dollars elsewhere, but with SMA, access is completely FREE! Not getting paid the commissions you deserve? SMA has strong relationships with each carrier, so you can count on top-tier commissions. Interested in learning more? Visit us online at or give us a call at 844-334-6066.


  • What’s frustrating is that the old Medicare Plan Finder Tool on would save your information and create a profile for you including your zip code, current coverage, and current subsidy level and it would sit up in the corner while you were doing a search and it would add information as created. This no longer saves, so you’ll have to start over every time you want to use the site. 
  • This also includes the “Retrieve My Saved Drug List” This was an awesome feature for agents and benes alike. You could go through the website, add the drugs and you would be able to save that drug list and it would give you a drug list id number and the date it was created. And then you could just go back in and input the drug list id number and the date it was created and it would retrieve that drug list and you wouldn’t have to go back and populate drugs every time. Many beneficiaries are taking many drugs. Some are taking 10 prescriptions, 20 prescriptions, who knows! So entering those in every single time is just a total hassle. This also was helpful if a bene wanted to use it to print their drugs to take to the pharmacy. Nope, that feature is gone as well 🙁
  • Another thing about the Adding Drug page that’s been updated is that the old page used to show you whether the drug you input was generic and if there were generic options available to lower costs. When I was in there today I did not see this feature anywhere so if that’s a feature that is available, I don’t think a beneficiary would easily find it.
  • You also used to be able to refine plan results. For example, if you only want MA only plans or MAPD plans you could choose between them. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to filter for those fields. You can filter by carrier and star ratings and then filter by coverage options like vision, dental, hearing, transportation, and fitness.


  • Preferred Pharmacies – The new Medicare Plan Finder tool will make finding preferred pharmacies a challenge. The older version had two methods to retrieve this information. You could find the Pharmacy network and see a chart of all preferred, standard, or out-of-network pharmacies in a specific zip code. Another option was to click on the View Drug Cost Summary on the comparison page. This would create a comparison of pharmacies and identified if it was preferred, standard, or out-of-network. The new Plan Finder tool does not have either option available for identifying preferred pharmacies. If you want to find preferred pharmacies, you would need to change pharmacies and then compare costs. This is an inefficient method and depending on the drug, may not be accurate. (Source
  • Old site would show which pharmacies were preferred while on the Selecting Your Pharmacies page. That no longer exists so if a bene was looking for this information, they probably wouldn’t even find it.
  • Overview of Costs – In the past, agents could click on a link on the Overview page of the Legacy Plan Finder and find all the information surrounding the plan’s cost and sharing information. This information does not appear on the updated tool. (Source)


  • Total Costs – The older Plan Finder tool easily displayed total out-of-pocket drug costs for the year, including monthly premiums and costs for prescriptions. The new Plan Finder estimates yearly costs at retail or mail order pharmacies, but they do not include the premium. To get this cost you would need to multiply the premium by 12 and add that cost to the estimated costs. There have been reports that CMS is aware of this flaw and is working to fix it but we haven’t heard an update on this just yet but hopefully they will fix it before AEP starts. (Source)

And now time, for an SMA Value Ad:

Looking for extra marketing support? SMA Storefront is your one-stop shop for all your marketing needs! Use SMA’s Agent Storefront to customize generic marketing materials like posters, mailers, flyers, rack cards and business cards! We give you the ability to add your logo and contact information so every piece is one of a kind! Planning to host a marketing event? Order pre-designed banners and giveaways directly from Storefront! Continue your knowledge on sales techniques by viewing the Building Your Business video series and downloading Medicare-related whitepapers! Customize your marketing, educate yourself and get the tools you need to succeed, all with SMA Storefront! Interested in learning more? Visit us online at or give us a call at 844-334-6066.


  • Provider Networks The older Plan Finder had a link to the plan’s provider network site. This allowed agents and beneficiaries to find in-network physicians. However, the new Plan Finder does not have this link, so it may be difficult to find this information. (Source)


  • Star Ratings – Star ratings are an important factor when enrolling in a plan. The new Plan Finder tools does not have information on people who left the plan (or why they left) and the rating for “ease of getting prescription filled” is no longer available. (Source) Right now the “Star Rating” just says “Coming Soon”… hopefully this feature will be added soon?
  • Drug Cost Assistance – The old Medicare Plan Finder Tool had a link to “lower your drug costs.” This link will take you to a page that would identify any assistance available for a specific medication. However, the new Plan Finder tool’s link takes you to a generic with 6 ways to get help with your prescription costs. (Source)  


  • Printed Drug List – This is kind of something I talked about earlier. The old Medicare Plan Finder Tool had a drug list that could be printed on a simple, one-page document. Many beneficiaries would take this to their physician appointments. However, the new Plan Finder does not have a one-page option. Instead, beneficiaries would need to to print each page of the drug lists, and only 3-4 drugs fit per page. (Source)
  • Navigation Issues – The new Medicare Plan Finder Tool has several navigation issues. These issues include locations changing when searching for pharmacies in two locations, no option to view all plans on one page, and less sorting options when filtering  plans. (Source)
  • Out-of-Pocket Max – the out-of-pocket maximum on the comparison page is wrong. Instead, it shows estimated total costs for the year. (Source)


  • Old Records – Records from the old Medicare Plan Finder Tool will not migrate into the new one. This means agents and beneficiaries will need to take extra time when entering data and there is a higher chance of errors. (Source)

Hopefully you were able to print off drugs lists or any other old records you had for your clients, but if not it may be a good idea to start doing that in the future. That way if any major changes happen again you will be prepared! We live and we learn!


Yeah this is a really frustrating thing. I think a lot of agents really just didn’t know that all of these changes were coming. They didn’t know that all this information would be purged. Now there is just no access to it. And it’s annoying for agents who may have used the Medicare Plan Finder Tool to house information to use to prepare before appointments. It just makes the whole process more tedious. 


But with all that let’s try to stay on the positive side! I mean really this is just the government is making this big push to make it easier for Medicare-eligibles. And they want it to be easier for them to find information and to learn about plans that are out there. I think that is the intent but as technology changes we are bound to hit bumps in the road and this appears to be one of them. But hopefully in the grand scheme of things, it will all work out in the end.


Obviously, these updates are causing agents huge headaches and are not ideal, but as you should know if you listen to our podcast regularly, we try to stay positive.

This is there biggest overhaul they’ve done to the site in years. So it’s not surprising that there is bugs and things that they didn’t prepare for or they missed. So hopefully it is a work in progress and will improve. We know all these changes are not ideal but as you know if you listen to our podcast regularly, we always try to end on a positive note.

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can be your home for success this AEP, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Sarah: Want more Medicare sales related content? Follow Senior Market Advisors on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – links in the description. We post new episodes every other Friday so make sure to follow and like us to stay up to date with all the newest content! If you’re liking our podcast, share our posts with the hashtag SELLING SMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot! 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 
Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!

SMA AEP Kickoff: LIVE Recording – Ep. 16

Join us for the Senior Market Adivors AEP Kickoff event in Nashville, TN! Episode 16 is different from all previous podcast episodes! We are proud to present our first podcast on the go just in time for AEP! Sarah and Jessica set up the podcast at an event where Senior Market Advisors hosted a select group of agents across Tennessee and our carrier partners. The AEP Kickoff took place at TopGolf! The perfect place to talk business and also have fun!

In this episode you’ll get a sneak peek of some of the 2020 benefits offered in the Tennessee market for carriers like Aetna, Cigna, Amerigroup, BCBS of TN and more! You’ll also hear about some of the amazing value adds that Senior Market Advisors provides to our contracted agents. We hope you enjoy the presentation and it feels like you are in the room with us!

Then we conclude with a couple interviews with two agents, Ray Dover and Eric Peek who share their advice for agents in preparing for AEP and some feel good stories. Our agents talk about reasons they got into the healthcare industry and how they connect with their clients. Senior Market Advisors believes in serving the underserved and that is clear as you listen to statements made by our agents. It isn’t about getting the sale, it’s about helping beneficiaries find a plan that is right for them. Some of our agents have ended up forming relationships with their clients that last for years! Remember that as we move into AEP. This isn’t just a season for sales, it’s also a time to make a difference in your community. We promise, you’ll find AEP and your job rewarding if you approach with the mindset of helping others! Get motivated and get excited because AEP is right around the corner!

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Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

3-30-60-90 – A Guide to Client Retention – Ep. 13

In Episode 13, we give you a guide to client retention. We also analyze the challenges new technology can bring to healthcare. Listen and learn why some people say Amazon’s Alexa’s bedside manners are bad for the healthcare industry. There are pros and cons to all new developments and this episode we focus on some of the criticisms and concerns of new devices. 

Later in the episode, Sarah and Jessica also go over how to maintain successful relationships and have great client retention using the 3-30-60-90 method, because what you do AFTER the sale is just as important as the sale itself! Listen as Sarah and Jessica role-play through our step-by-step phone conversation guide. You’ll learn how staying in touch can help you with client retention. The guide begins with the follow-up call around 3 days after the sale. Then you’ll learn what a phone conversation should sound like after 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days after the sale. Each conversation is different, but all conversations focus around one main principle: putting the client first.

Remember, closing the sale is important, but maintaining a close relationship with your clients builds trust. You can be so much more than an insurance agent. To build relationships, strive to be your client’s resource for everything Medicare!

Like what you heard on today’s podcast and want to download the our 3-30-60-90 whitepaper? DOWNLOAD HERE.

Follow us on social media and share our podcast postings with the #SellingSMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot!

3-30-60-90 – A Guide to Client Retention – Ep. 13 Transcript

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: A few episodes ago we discussed some of the ways that technology is improving the healthcare industry – 

Sarah: Yeah.

Jessica: – and one of the things in particular that we discussed was Amazon’s Alexa and how they were beginning to use her for things like reading someone’s blood sugar or finding the closest emergency care center, stuff like that. 

Sarah: Uh huh!

Jessica: Well, I came across an article the other day on Kaiser Health News and I thought it was really interesting. It’s an analysis on Alexa’s bedside manner and why it is bad for health care.

Sarah: Hmmm

Jessica: Yeah, I thought it was pretty interesting! I just think that it’s good to look at both sides of things and with an issue like this in particular, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss some of the criticisms that these new technologies are getting.

Sarah: Definitely! I mean I feel like that is the best way to really understand anything — to get the full picture you really need to listen to both sides.

Jessica: Exactly! And this article makes some great points.

Sarah: Right, so what exactly did it say?

Jessica: Well so the author pretty much starts out by talking about how they went to the Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego and Bruce Broussard, Humana’s CEO, discussed how he believes technology will help patients receive help during medical crises with the ability to monitor and visit the doctors through video conferences. But then when they got home from the conference they returned to a lovely present of a $235 medical bill for a telehealth visit.

Sarah: Wow, I’m actually really surprised by how much that costs. That’s crazy for not even going into the doctor’s office.

Jessica: Right?! And that’s pretty much what starts the criticism of these new technologies.

Sarah: Yeah, I guess when you think about it, with these services you are still paying doctors for their time, but the patient really isn’t getting the same benefits they have of physically being there. 

Jessica: Yeah and this case in particular they were charged $235 for a five minute phone-call where the doctor answered a question about a possible infection. 

Sarah: When you do the math isn’t that like over $2,000 an hour?!

Jessica: Oh yeah, it’s crazy! I mean that’s more than corporate lawyers even bill! 

Sarah: Wow.

Jessica: Yeah, and this leads the author into a great point of patients still having to pay great amounts for a watered-down service. And you also have to think about the path that technology is leading the healthcare industry down. Because in the past, doctors would answer questions over the phone and email for free, just as part of the doctor-patient relationship.

Sarah: That’s so true, but now that would be labeled as telehealth. 

Jessica: Yep! And I think that during this period of change, it’s important to remind ourselves of the values of healthcare… or at least what values SHOULD be in place. Because I’m afraid, as is the author of this article I read, that our capitalistic society is going to see these technologies as a way to further profit and not as a tool. 

Sarah: Yeah, cause really at the end of the day healthcare is supposed to be about helping people and that human connection. Like if someone is diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening disease, they don’t want to be handed an iPad that has statistics of their survival on it. They want someone who is comforting and knows how to deliver that kind of news or offer support that they may need during a time of trial. 

Jessica: Yes, that’s exactly the point I’m making! And another really interesting thing brought up in the article was a study that was published in Pediatrics and it found that children who had a telemedicine visit for an upper-respiratory infection were far more likely to get an antibiotic than those who physically saw a doctor. So the study pretty much suggests that overprescribing is at work, which is concerning.

Sarah: Yeah that definitely doesn’t make me think that the patient’s best interest is the main concern.

Jessica: Oh yeah I mean for sure, when it comes to that system, it doesn’t always allow for the doctor to do what is best for the patient, even if they intend to. I mean, it’s hard to diagnose someone over a video when you can’t actually feel a lump or have the patient move in certain ways to determine how serious their illness is. It’s just different. 

Sarah: Right, it’s not necessarily the doctor’s fault, but I could definitely see how it would lead to overprescribing because they probably are thinking they would rather be safe than sorry when it’s harder to determine the seriousness of someone’s illness. Especially in this case when they are dealing with children.

Jessica: Right and obviously, I don’t think that technology is inherently bad for the industry, but studies like this really drive the fact that we need to proceed with caution and make sure that when these technologies are implemented the purpose behind it is still focused on what is best for the patient and not what is going to make more money. Cause doctors may also start to not just use these video calls when a patient doesn’t have the ability to travel, they may just start to encourage it so they can take more patients and ultimately increase their profits. 

Sarah: Definitely. I do think that these types of discussions are important to keep the industry in check and make sure that with every new technology, the patient’s impact is really taken into consideration from all elements. Cause obviously these services are helpful and great, but you can’t forget about some of the cons. And at least if we point them out, we can find ways to improve and fix them. 

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: At Senior Market Advisors, we are committed to serving the underserved. This means we want you to do more than just make sales – we want you to build relationships! In order to really serve a beneficiary, you need to help them understand the enrollment process and earn their trust over time. Our four-point conversation guide can help you do just that, all while staying compliant with CMS’s guidelines.

Jessica: Okay so you enrolled a beneficiary into their new Medicare plan! Yay!! You’re feeling awesome. You’re feeling accomplished! You’re on top of the world. But what now? Well first off… congrats on your new client!! But secondly…. You want to keep this new client of yours right? Well to do that, you need to follow-up and stay in touch (client retention)!

Sarah: Today we are going to talk about 3-30-60-90, a guide to maintaining a relationship with your client 3 days after the sale, 30 days, 60 days and finally 90 days after the sale! If you’re contracted with us, we have a whitepaper called 3-30-60-90 Day Conversation Guide on this topic that can be downloaded for free from our SMA Agent Storefront! Okay, Jessica let’s start with the 3-day marker.

Let’s start with the 3-Day Call. This will be your first call after a beneficiary enrolls in a plan. The purpose of this conversation is to explain what the beneficiary should expect next. So this conversation might sound something like this.

“Hello, my name is Mary and I am calling from Medicare Health Benefits, an independent broker. May I speak with Susan?” 

Jessica: This is Susan!

Sarah: “It was great speaking with you a few days ago and helping you enroll in your new Medicare plan. I’d like to walk you through what you should be expecting from your plan in the upcoming weeks.” 

[and this is where you would continue talking about their new benefit cards, enrollment letters, benefit overviews and other things like that and when they should arrive. Then you’ll want to ask if they have any questions.

Jessica: Nope I think you covered it! 

Sarah: Well Susan I just want to thank you for spending time with me. I’m glad we were able to enroll you into a plan that works for you and your needs. I am always available for any questions you may have so don’t hesitate to call! 

Jessica: Great thank you!!

Sarah: I’ll be checking in in about a month to make sure you received all the appropriate materials and to make sure you understand how to utilize your plan! Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Jessica: So as you just heard, this was really just a follow-up call to make sure that the beneficiary understands what they signed up for, is happy and knows they can contact you for support. You really want them to not just think of you as the person who sold them their plan, you want them to think of you as their Medicare expert. Their go-to person they can rely on for any Medicare-related question or concern. This builds trust and will make them more likely to stick with you!


Sarah: Okay so you’ve made it through the 1st month with your new client. And they haven’t called you once with any issues! Hooray!! Now it’s time for your 30 day call. This call is to follow-up the follow-up, remember, maintaining contact is key. You want to make sure they received all the documents from the carrier and walk them through how to utilize all their new awesome benefits! 

Jessica: So let’s go through what this one might sound like. “Hello, my name is Mary and I am calling from Medicare Health Benefits, an independent broker. May I speak with Susan?” 

Sarah: This is Susan!

Jessica: Hi Susan. Remember me, I helped you enroll in your new Medicare plan!

Sarah: Yes I remember. Thank you!

Jessica: I just wanted to follow-up with you to make sure you received all materials from your new plan carrier.

Sarah: I think so. I got an ID card in the mail and I got some enrollment stuff with a welcome letter and benefits information.

Jessica: Great! I’m happy you received your plan information. Is your premium showing as the same as what we had discussed?

Sarah: Yep, looks like what we talked about.

Jessica: Great! Have you found a doctor in your network that accepts your plan and scheduled your annual check-up? 

Sarah: I did find a doctor close to me. I’m going to see her in a couple weeks.

Jessica: Wonderful! I’m happy to hear that.Have you had any issues at the pharmacy with your new plan?  (Obviously note that this is only applicable for Medicare Advantage plans with Prescription Drug coverage)

Sarah: Yeah looks like it!

Jessica: This is great news. Hey let’s go through how to utilize your benefits and discuss how the breakdown of how services are covered. (this is where you’ll go through their benefits and talk about how they can use their plan) 

Then you’ll wrap up and say – Sounds like everything is going well so far! Once again, if you do run into any hiccups, you have my number so don’t hesitate to call. I plan to call you again in about a month from now to make sure you’re still doing alright.

Sarah: Wow thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Jessica: So notice that people really appreciate you going the extra mile to help them fully understand their plan. Let’s be honest, healthcare is super confusing and most people don’t understand all the terminology. So just being that resource to these people and explaining how they can use their plan and just showing you care really goes a long way.


Sarah: Okay so now it’s been about 2 months since the beneficiary enrolled in their plan and at this point, they should be feeling comfortable. This is an awesome time to call and discuss extra services included in their plan and make sure they are happy with their enrollment choice. This conversation might sound something like this.

“Hi Susan, this is Mary and I was just calling to check in to make sure you’re enjoying your new Medicare benefits.”

Sarah: “Yes I am! So far so good.”

Sarah: “Great! I also wanted to make sure you knew about all the extra services your plan offers!” Sidenote: Many of these plans offer things like fitness, dental, vision, telehealth, transportation, OTC benefits and more! Make sure they know about these! Okay, but to the conversation, “Susan did you know that your plan offers $50/quarter in Over-the-Counter benefits and transportation services?”

Jessica: “I didn’t but that sounds great!”

Sarah: Yep. Just wanted to make sure you knew about all the amazing services your plan offers! (Make sure they know that you answer any questions they may have regarding these services and give them any phone numbers and/or websites associated with those services) You had mentioned last time we spoke that you were planning on seeing your doctor. Was your experience positive?

Jessica: Definitely! I am happy I was able to find a doctor close to me who was helpful and friendly. 

Sarah: “Great! I’m happy to hear everything is going well. As always, you can give me a call if any questions come up but otherwise, I will be in touch in about a month.”

Jessica: So here is that extra support that the agent is giving to their client to really show that they care. And once again, driving home the idea that YOU are the person they should call whenever they have questions about their Medicare. This will help you with client retention!


Sarah: Now, we have finally made it to the 90 Day Call!

Jessica: Hooray! Although that was the quickest 90 days I’ve ever experienced. It felt like it was only a few minutes!

Sarah: Yes, it will probably not go by as quickly for you as an agent, so that’s why it is super important to put reminders on your calendar so you don’t forget to follow up!

Jessica: Yeah, that is definitely a good idea. So once you do make it to the 90-day mark, the purpose of your call is going to be client retention. You want to focus on preventive health and ensure they’re getting the most out of their plan.

Sarah: Right, because if a beneficiary is satisfied with their plan then they are more likely to recommend you to friends and family. 

Jessica: Plus! The happier they are with their plan, the more likely you are to keep them as a client (client retention). So this conversation might sound something like this.

Hi Susan! This is Mary. I just wanted to check in with you again to make sure you’re still enjoying your Medicare plan! Have you taken advantage of any of the services we discussed on our last call?

Sarah: “Yes! I used my over the counter benefits last week and got quite a few items for my home! It’s been a lifesaver!”

Jessica: That’s great Susan! Have you taken any proactive steps toward your health like doing a blood pressure check, getting a mammogram or any screenings and tests?

Sarah: Ooh no I haven’t but I probably should get a screening. It’s been a while. 

Jessica: Yep, it’s always better to be proactive on your health so in case you do have some health issue, you catch it early! 

Sarah: Yes great idea.

Jessica: Alright Sarah, if you don’t have any other questions I will let you go. Give me a call if you have any questions or concerns regarding your plan! Have a great day!

Jessica: And the 90 day client retention call doesn’t have to be the last time you contact them! A great way to continue building relationships with beneficiaries is by sending birthday cards, or holiday cards, or contacting them before AEP every year to ensure they are happy. Even little things like if you notice there has been a change to certain plans or networks, you can send them an email to make sure they are aware.

Sarah: Yeah and you may also want to offer to send business cards or brochures you may have so that they can pass them on to their friends and family. Just always make sure that whatever marketing you are doing is compliant with CMS!

Jessica: And again, please make sure that you are keeping a calendar of this stuff! There’s nothing worse than telling a bene that you’re going to call them regularly and then just forgetting about it.

Sarah: Yeah, do you think you’ll retain clients that way? NOPE. They’ll think you don’t have their best interest at heart, don’t care about them, and then you’ll lose their trust. Not only that, if you don’t establish yourself as your client’s first point of content, they will often reach out to the carrier instead, and this could prompt a completely preventable sales allegation, and obviously… you don’t want that!

Jessica: And obviously WE know that you have their best interest at heart, but you have to make it super obvious to them. So schedule reminders, don’t miss those calls and start building those relationships!  

Sarah: Yes, because we guarantee you that if you follow these steps you will succeed in client retention and not only maintain but EXPAND your book of business!

Facebook: Senior Market Advisors

Instagram: @SeniorMarketAdvisors

Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

2020 AEP Preparation Checklist – Ep. 12

In Episode 12, we discuss 2020 AEP Preparation and the features of Anthem’s new AI-driven member app called K Health. K Health uses years of anonymous health data to offer members answers to simple questions related to their health. Members can also chat with doctors via the app.

Next we dive into AEP preparation. SMA put together a preparation checklist outlining 5 important areas to focus on prior to October 15 to ensure a successful AEP! In each area we break down some questions you should be asking yourself as you prepare for this AEP. It’s never too early to start preparing so get started today!

Today’s AEP Preparation: 

  1. Set Goals
    • Have you researched the carriers and products available in your market?
    • Have you set goals for AEP and written them down?
  2. Become Ready to Sell
    • Are you ready to sell with all the carriers you want to sell this AEP?
    • How many carriers are you contracted with?
    • How many certifications do you have to complete?
  3. Know Your Products
    • Have you attended webinars and/or trainings to learn the 2020 benefits for each carrier you are contracted with?
    • Do you know how to use carrier portals and tools?
  4. Order Supplies
    • Don’t wait to order supplies!
    • Do you know how to order supplies from each carrier?
    • How long does the process take from order date to fulfillment?
  5. Market Yourself
    • Do you market your services? If so, how? What’s working?
    • How many tools do you use to market yourself?

With all this talk of AEP preparation, it’s easy to feel stressed out. Jessica and Sarah end the podcast on a positive note by discussing how SMA de-stresses during our busy season: a company cornhole tournament! Want to be featured on the podcast? Share your story with us at

Like what you heard on today’s podcast and want to download the 2020 AEP Preparation Checklist? DOWNLOAD HERE.

Follow us on social media and share our podcast postings with the #SellingSMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot!

Facebook: Senior Market Advisors

Instagram: @SeniorMarketAdvisors

Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

Why Sell Medicare Supplement Plans – Ep. 10

In Episode 10, Sarah and Jessica focus on the benefits of Medicare Supplement, Amazon’s Alexa, and how voice assistants are disrupting the healthcare industry. While there are many ways Amazon’s Alexa can help beneficiaries with their healthcare needs now and in the future, there are also privacy and data breach concerns. We break down the good, the bad, and the inevitable.

We also bring on SMA’s Andy Watkins, VP of Sales and Business Development to share his expertise on Medicare Supplement Plans. Andy and Sarah discuss what Medicare Supplement plans are, break down some of the plan types, and compare Medicare Supplements to Medicare Advantage. Andy also goes over Medicare Supplement enrollment periods, compliance concerns surrounding Medicare Supplements, the commission rates, and why new agents should start out selling Medicare Supplement Plans!

We conclude this episode with a story from Andy about how Medicare Supplement Plans have benefited him and his family directly, giving you one more reason to want to sell Medicare Supplements AND smile! Want to be featured on the podcast? Share your story with us at

Follow us on social media and share our podcast postings with the #SellingSMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot!

Facebook: Senior Market Advisors

Instagram: @SeniorMarketAdvisors

Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

Why Sell Medicare Supplement Plans – Ep. 10 Full Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 10 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode… we’re going to start with a technology that is disrupting the healthcare industry! Then we interview Andy Watkins about Medicare Supplements and why you should be selling it!

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: So obviously Amazon’s Alexas have been out for a while now and I remember when they first came out people were a little freaked out. I’ve heard stories about toddlers ordering toys without their parents even knowing. Actually, didn’t that happen to our CEO, Jeff Pitta?

Sarah: Yeah, I think so. I’m pretty sure one of his kids told Alexa to order a toy that they wanted and then it just appeared at our office one day.

Jessica: I thought so! Yeah, I just think that’s really funny. How different our world is with technology nowadays and what’s really interesting is that now they are using Alexa in the world of Medicare! 

Sarah: Oh yeah, I’ve heard about stuff like that! Apparently, Amazon has said that Alexa is now able to follow HIPAA guidelines and they have already invited six health companies to develop voice programs or “skills” using their Alexa system. So customers of those specific organizations would be able to use Alexa to make appointments or access personal medical information like blood sugar readings.

Jessica: Huh, that’s interesting. So would these companies or Amazon begin to offer products that sync up with the actual speaker system itself, kinda like how your iWatch can track your fitness and all of that information can also transmit to your phone?

Sarah: I think that’s the idea behind it.

Jessica: You know what’s really fascinating to me is how all of this is going to be received by the public. I mean, in theory, it all sounds great and very innovative, but also I know many people and I feel like especially seniors are a little sketched out by all of these advancements in technology. 

Sarah: Oh for sure. I feel like the fact that a device is always listening to you to some degree is a scary thought. I do know that is something that has been brought up about this in particular, because if Amazon offers this they will then have access to a lot of personal information and there is a concern of what they could do with it. 

Jessica: Yeah and from what I’ve read, it sounds like the data that they have access to is going to depend on what Amazon’s relationship is with the particular health organizations. For instance, Livongo is a company whose voice skills lets users check their blood sugar reading, so when it comes to that Alexa is just there to transmit the information. Alexa will access the data from the Livongo cloud to relay to the patient their reading, but all that patient information is stored with Livongo and Amazon can’t do anything with it. 

Sarah: I feel like that’s pretty reassuring!

Jessica: I agree! The only other argument I will make though is that if this becomes a normal thing and Amazon has dealt with a large amount of organizations, I could see an increase in people trying to hack into their system. And while Amazon is a large company that probably has good defense for things like that, I wonder if it would make it easier for these smaller companies to have their information leaked in some way. Does that make sense?

Sarah: Well and I think the other concern is that there is no official certification process for becoming HIPAA compliant, it’s more of a self-implemented process and there aren’t really many formularies. And out of all the HIPAA requirements, the Security Rule can be the most difficult for companies to follow. 

Jessica: And just a quick sidebar: The Security Rule for HIPAA establishes a national standard to protect individuals’ electronic personal health information that is created, received, used, or maintained by a covered entity. So it requires appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of electronically protected health information. 

Sarah: Right! But the issue with that is companies need to have a strong security infrastructure in place, which can be very expensive for large companies, especially if they are using older technology that needs to be updated.

Jessica: Yeah, so that could deter organizations from wanting to participate or since there isn’t really a formal way of checking, some organizations could think they have a pretty secure system but not. I feel like that’s where people get a little weary of the whole idea.

Sarah: I can definitely see where they are coming from, but I think it’s also important for us to recognize the benefits that this could create for healthcare. I mean, the harder it is for people to see the doctor, the less likely they are to get care and improve their health. 

Jessica: Oh no, you’re definitely right! I mean this opens up a lot of doors. And I know another thing that they are trying to use Alexa for is people being able to find an urgent care nearby and make same-day appointments, so from the standard of creating more easy and accessible healthcare, it’s definitely a good thing!

Sarah: Exactly. We are just in a time where there is so much we can do with technology, we just have to make sure that it is implemented in a way that is ethical and has more pros than cons.

Jessica: Yep! It will be really interesting to see what comes of this and how it expands the marketplace!  

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: Last time we talked about why you should be selling Medicare Advantage. Today we are going to talk about Medicare Supplements and all the amazing reasons you want to sell those plans as well!

We’ve got Andy Watkins with us to go over Medicare Supplement Plans with us today and he’s got a TON of awesome reasons to share with you all today! So Andy can you just introduce yourself real quick.

[Andy Introduction]

Alright Andy, let’s start with the basics of Medicare Supplement Plans. We chatted a bit earlier in the day and even though I have a background in Medicare now, I really just didn’t know much about Med Supp. So can you just go over how Medicare Supplement Plans are different from Medicare Advantage and how they work?

Plans are standardized meaning most plans with the same letters have the same benefits across state lines.

While a lot of Medicare Supplement plans offer more coverage, they also generally have higher premiums. So they aren’t for everyone.

Medicare pays 80%. Supps cover the other 20%.

New types. Anthem coming out with additional benefit package beyond what the plan covers. Supplement to the supplement. 

Therapy 3 times a week will cost a fortune on MA, but with Medicare Supplement he pays Part B deductible and his premium. There is no max out of pocket. He can go as many time as he wants

Pay as you go or pay up front. Med Supps are pay up front. MA is pay as you go.

Only about 30% of Medicare beneficiaries are in a Medicare Advantage plan which means you could be helping the remaining 70% get into a Medicare Supplement plan giving them extra coverage!

So if you go a lot then it makes more sense even though its higher premium.

I’ve been hearing a lot about the fact that plans C & F are going away. Can you talk a little bit about that?

2020 MACRA goes into effect. Plan C & F are going away. Medicare no longer feels they should cover the part b deductible. Once they started doing that going to plan g because of MACRA.

Why would people want Plan G? It’s just easy. F & G — they just pay a premium and that’s about it.

MA plan you still pay Part B premium but you don’t pay any premium on top of that because they are $0 premium plans.

With Medicare Advantage there are strict enrollment periods, but is it the same with Medicare Supplement Plans?

  • Depending on the state, every year on your birthday and 30 days after your bday you can get into a Medicare Supplement.
  • Some states have open enrollment periods. 
  • Outside of the initial enrollment period, most states you’re going to have to go through some type of underwriting.
    • You’ll have to answer questions about health. 
    • You might get denied. 
    • If you’re within the enrollment period then you don’t have to answer any questions.

You can sell year-round. There is a Medigap open enrollment but there are many ways to get it outside of that.

What’s the compliance like with Medicare Supplement Plans

Compliance is a whole lot easier around Medicare Supplement than Medicare Advantage.

  • You can cold call for Medicare Supplement. Not as much compliance around that either.
  • You can door knock for Medicare Supplement.
  • You don’t have to do a scope of appointment. For the Part D part you will.
  • e-Apps available for most carriers so you can easily sell over the phone
  • With e-app you need to send the e-app through their e-app system and it will send an e-app signature. 
    • Bene needs an email address in order to fill out an e-app.

Alright Andy, let’s talk commission. What’s the commission like with Medicare Supplement Plans?

Commission. Lets say med supp monthly premium is $130 X 12 to come up with $1560 _> that is annual premium.

There is no new to medicare. It’s all the same.

  • Average street level comp is usually about 21% on a supp plan. 
  • So 21% of $1560 is about $327.60. 
  • So you’ll get about $327.60 on annual basis for up to 6 years. 
  • From year 6-10 the percentage will probably drop, depends on the carrier. 
  • Most carriers don’t do lifetime comp for med supp anymore. So you’ll get paid on those 10 years.
  • People stay on Medicare Supplement plans for life. So they’re more likely to stay on one plan for 10 years. Whereas MA you might be switching them every few years so you might lose your client to someone else.

What’s the main reason you would recommend selling Medicare Supplement Plans to an agent?

  • Ease of use.
  • You don’t have to certify. Most carriers don’t have a certification. 
  • If you’re new to the business, get started selling Medicare Supplement plans so you can get started and learn medicare and you can get goin a lot faster.
  • You can sign a contract and start selling tomorrow with some carriers.
  • You don’t have to worry about networks. If they take medicare, any doctor that takes medicare, you can see them on a supplement. No referrals, easy access. Not limited to a network.

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: Alright everyone, that concludes today’s podcast episode. 

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can help get you started in the Medicare Advantage space, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!

Why Sell Medicare Advantage – Ep. 9

In Episode 9, we talk about all the benefits of Medicare Advantage and why you should be selling it. We start by discussing the lack of dental coverage across the Medicare-eligible population. Since Original Medicare does not cover dental, many beneficiaries go without coverage. This includes over two-thirds of all Medicare beneficiaries! One way these beneficiaries could gain access to dental coverage is by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan.

While not all Medicare Advantage plans offer dental coverage, some do. We brought on one of our agents, Simone Cohen, to discuss all the reasons she loves selling Medicare Advantage. Simone loves selling MA plans because the Medicare-eligible population is growing, many Medicare Advantage plans offer great benefits not covered by Original Medicare, she gets to help people in need, and of course, they offer great commission rates! Finally, Simone sticks around with us to share a motivational story. Want to be featured on the podcast? Share your story with us at  

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Why Sell Medicare Advantage – Ep. 9 Full Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 9 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode… we’re going to go over all the benefits of Medicare Advantage why you should be selling it. We also discuss how few Medicare beneficiaries have dental coverage and what you can do to help!  

Disruptive Waves: 

Sarah: According to the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, almost two thirds of all Medicare beneficiaries do not have dental coverage. That’s nearly 37 million people! This means many beneficiaries are going without dental care. This can be extremely dangerous and many dental issues and diseases can cause life-threatening circumstances if not treated.

Jessica: Since Medicare doesn’t offer routine preventative dental OR any other procedures, this leaves many beneficiaries skipping the dentist altogether. Almost half of all Medicare beneficiaries did not visit the dentist last year… This is not good! Lack of dental care can cause infections, chronic pain, and undiagnosed serious health conditions.

Sarah: Luckily, most Medicare Advantage DO offer some sort of dental coverage. And since about ⅓ of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, they do have dental coverage. But what about all the other individuals who don’t have dental coverage and are struggling with chronic pain, or unpaid dental bills?

This brings us to our main topic for today… Why You Should Sell Medicare Advantage!

Jessica: We are so happy to have one of our agents on with us today to go over this topic with us. Welcome Simone Cohen! Simone, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: If you aren’t selling Medicare Advantage already… you should be! We are going to talk with Simone today about all the reasons that make Medicare Advantage plans great to sell!

Sarah: So Simone, since you’re an agent yourself, let’s start off with what got you into Medicare Sales!

Simone: Explain.

Sarah: Awesome. So what would you say is the main reason individuals would want to sell Medicare Advantage?

  • Medicare-eligible population is growing!
  • Total Medicare Advantage enrollment has nearly doubled over the past decade to 20.4 million in 2018!
  • Baby boomers are aging and by 2030, more than one in five Americans will be Medicare-eligible
  • You can sell all year long!
  • No cold calling or door-to-door sales
  • Help those who need it most by getting individuals the coverage they deserve

Sarah: So what do the commission payouts look like for Medicare Advantage as opposed to other insurance sales?


  • Average Commission Breakdown:
    • MA sale – $482 or $241
    • HIP average commission ($40 Mo. Premium) – $264
    • Cancer average commission ($40 Mo. Premium) – $264
    • Final Expense ($50 Mo. Premium) – $690   
  • Example Selling MA + Ancillary:
    • MA Sale = $241 
    • 35% persistency at 5 years
    • MA plus Ancillary = $1,459
    • 92% persistency at 5 years
    • Assuming 150 Clients per year at a 25% ancillary close rate…
    • MA only agent: $36,150
    • MA plus Ancillary agent: $36,150 + $45,675 = $81,825 

Sarah: We discussed earlier about how many Medicare Beneficiaries don’t have any dental coverage. Can you talk about some of the extra benefits Medicare Advantage plans may cover that Original Medicare doesn’t?

Simone: Dental, Vision, Hearing, Transportation, Telehealth, Fitness, etc.

Sarah: This goes into our mission at SMA too which is to Serve the Underserved. Do you feel like selling MA plans serves the underserved?

Simone: Yes!

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: So Simone, since we have you, we always like to end each episode on a positive note. Do you have any uplifting stories you can share with us? Especially ones that involve you selling Medicare Advantage?

Simone: Tell story.

Jessica: Thanks for joining us today Simone, we appreciate it!

Sarah: Alright everyone, that concludes today’s podcast episode. You heard it straight from Simone, an agent herself. If you aren’t selling Medicare Advantage, you should be!

Jessica: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can help get you started in the Medicare Advantage space, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!

Setting Up a Sales Event – Ep. 8

In Episode 8, Sarah and Jessica talk about how to set up a successful sales event. They also discuss the recent insulin price increases and its effect on Medicare beneficiaries. Insulin prices have continued to rise, and many Medicare beneficiaries struggle to pay for their out-of-pocket costs. It’s important to understand the price increases so you can inform beneficiaries of the benefits of Part D and ultimately make a sale. If you want to learn more about insulin price increases, you can read our blog:

We also bring on our VP of Sales, Carla Woodward to explain the process of how to set up an event to generate leads. There are different types of events and each has its own compliance concerns. Carla breaks down the process for how one would set up an event whether it be an educational event or a sales event and goes over the CMS guidelines to keep you compliant! We discuss why you should set up events to generate leads, compliance concerns, how to choose an event type and venue, event preparation, how to be successful at your event, and what to do after the event.

Finally, Carla sticks around with us to share a motivational story. Want to be featured on the podcast? Share your story with us at

Setting Up A Sales Event – Ep. 8 Full Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 8 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode… we’re going to go over how to set up a sales event! We also talk about how increases in insulin prices are impacting beneficiaries.

Disruptive Waves:

Sarah: According to the American Diabetes Association, half of Americans over the age of 60 have diabetes. Insulin prices have continued to rise, and many Medicare beneficiaries struggle to pay for their out-of-pocket costs. It’s important to understand the price increases so you can inform beneficiaries of the benefits of Part D and ultimately make a sale.

Jessica: Did you know the typical insulin users costs went from $7.80/day in 2012 all the way up to $15/day in 2016. That’s more than a 100% increase just in 4 years! This causes a huge burden on beneficiaries because insulin is on average only 30% of all diabetes-related costs. 

Sarah: These are individuals who need your help! As an agent, it’s important to understand what Medicare Part D covers so you can help beneficiaries get the coverage they need. 

Jessica: So first, it’s important to understand Medicare Insulin coverage vs. Part D coverage. Original Medicare Part B covers things like blood glucose test strips, glucose monitors, glucose control for checking test accuracy, and therapeutic shoes or inserts. Medicare Part B does not fully cover insulin. Part B only covers insulin that is needed for an external insulin pump and may be covered as durable medical equipment. Part B doesn’t cover other forms or insulin or pens, syringes or needles.

Sarah: Right, so it really doesn’t cover most of the necessary AND expensive parts. This is where Medicare Part D can come in and be really helpful. Unlike Medicare Part B, Part D DOES cover insulin, unless it’s used through an external pump. Part D also covers diabetes drugs, pens, syringes, needles, swabs and gauze, and inhaled insulin devices.

Jessica: When you’re selling Part D plans to beneficiaries, be sure to discuss all the benefits on top of what we just discussed! Some key benefits include: drug coverage that isn’t covered by Original Medicare Parts A & B, drug formularies that ensure their drugs are covered, that the Part D donut hole is closing in 2020 and the Medicare Extra Help program, if they qualify. 

Sarah: If you want this information in written form, you can visit to read more! We have also provided a link to the blog in the description.

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: Looking for new ways to generate leads? Setting an event in your area can be a great way to generate leads. There’s a lot that goes into setting up an event so we are lucky to have our VP of Sales Carla Woodward and our Senior Compliance Manager, Gina Angelo, with us to help you learn how to set up an event the right way and to remain compliant! Thanks for being here Carla and Gina!

Carla: Good to be here.

Sarah: Okay so let’s say I’m an agent, and I’m looking for ways to generate leads. Why would I choose to set up a sales event?


  • This is the best way to get hot leads. You’ve met them, you know their interested. There’s already a relationship thats built
  • Provides community engagement and awareness to your brand!
  • You want to let your community know that you are the person to go to for Medicare insurance questions.

Sarah: So what’s the first step of setting up an event? 

Carla: 1st step is to decide on type of event you want to do

  • Educational?
  • Sales event?
  • Formal or informal?

What we like to do is informal sales events. Business card away at informal educational event. Can’t make the sale on the spot though.

Educational event you’re just let them know something > don’t have the option to sell because its not registered with CMS.

Sarah: Okay so it sounds like there are a lot of regulations through CMS around events. Can you go over the compliance of setting up an event so agents know what to look out for?

50.1 – Educational Events 42 CFR §§ 422.2262, 422.2268(b)(7),(8), and (11),423.2262, 423.2268(b)(7),(8), and (11) 

Educational events are designed to inform beneficiaries about Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug, or other Medicare programs. Educational events:  

  • Must be explicitly advertised as educational;  
  • May be hosted in a public venue by the Plan/Part D sponsor or an outside entity;  
  • May include communication activities and distribution of communication materials;  
  • May answer beneficiary initiated questions;  
  • May set up a future marketing appointment, and distribute business cards and contact information for beneficiaries to initiate contact (this includes completing and collecting a Scope of Appointment (SOA) form);  
  • Must not include marketing or sales activities or distribution of marketing materials or enrollment forms; and  
  • May not conduct a marketing/sales event immediately following an educational event in the same general location (e.g., same hotel). 

50.2 – Marketing/Sales Events 42 CFR §§ 422.2268(b)(1-5), 423.2268(b)(1-5) 

Marketing/Sales Events are designed to steer or attempt to steer potential enrollees, or the retention of current enrollees, toward a plan or limited set of plans. The following requirements apply to all marketing/sales events:  

  • Plans/Part D sponsors must submit scripts and presentations to CMS prior to use, including those to be used by agents/brokers;  
  • Sign in sheets must clearly be labeled as optional;  
  • Health screenings or other activities that may be perceived as, or used for, “cherry picking” are not permitted;  
  • Plans/Part D sponsors may not require attendees to provide contact information as a prerequisite for attending an event; and  
  • Contact information provided for raffles or drawings may only be used for that purpose.

Sarah: Okay so I’ve decided what type of event I want to do. Can you give some tips on good spots to actually have events?

Carla: All types of events. Go to food banks, senior centers, community events, county fairs, music festivals

Sarah: So I have my event type and where I want to host it. What’s next?

Carla: Once you decided on type, file with the carrier

Each carrier is different. Each carrier has specific time frame. Most need within 9 days to 2 weeks to file. Some don’t need anything. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask your local market support because they should be able to help.

Some carriers require you to do extra modules in their training. They may have to do this before the event. Take some sort of additional online class 10 minutes. All info is housed on the carrier portals. 

Sarah: What do I need to bring to the event to be successful?

Carla: At SMA we’ve put together a checklist. Depending on event type, have a table, tablecloth, stuff to make table look flashy. Banners, rack cards, business cards. Quick informational giveaways. Swag to attract people to come over.

We do water bottles. Order labels with your info and brand on it. Stress balls, pedometers, other things. Reach out to the carrier or your local market support to see if they can provide you any giveaways. Benefits of partnering with SMA is we often times will co-op this with you. Segue to talk about storefront. See all the amazing giveaways we give at events. We can customize that.

Checklist: only carrier information you filed with can be displayed. Can file with multiple carriers. You are there to represent the carrier you filed with. You can keep everything generic if you want and file with all the carriers you represent. Agents do it in all different ways.  It’s up to you.

Doing Medicare 101 presentations, educate them on why you should eat super foods etc.

Make sure you have business reply cards there. We are successful at larger events where they may not be thinking about talking to you on the spot, they can fill out for more information. Important to point out that you can not ask them to fill one out or make them fill it out. Lets them get back to the reason they are at the event but still get more info from you later.

Sarah: How do I get people to come to my event? Can I market the event?

Carla: You want to drive traffic to your table. CMS allows us to do a giveaway of less than $15 per person. At SMA we raffle something off. Sometimes it’s an echo dot. As long as the event has. Large event you can roll the $15 per person into one large gift. If there are only a few people at the event, you may also want to bring something smaller. Select door prize later to remain compliant.

Senior center may be supposed to have 1000 people at event but only 4 show up. You need to make sure you have the correct giveaway.

We typically take first name and phone number. We call them to get their address to send the prize to them. We keep giveaways completely separate from BRC and those BRC’s are completely optional.

Sarah: What do I do once the event has ended?

Carla: Make sure you collect all business reply cards at the end. If carrier has follow-up paperwork that you need to do after the vent. Reach out to carrier to let them know how it went, how many BRC’s you collected. 

Sarah: What do I do with the BRC’s? Is there compliance concerns there in how I go about contacting them?

Carla/Gina: You can call individuals who have given permission for a plan or sales agent to contact them (examples of permission include filling out a business reply card, emailing the Plan/Part D sponsor requesting a return call, or asking a customer service representative to have an agent contact them). Also, make sure you retain this documentation. The norm is the current plan year PLUS 10 years.

Note: Permission applies only to the entity from which the individual requested contact and for the duration and topic of that transaction

Sarah: So if any agents listening out there want to learn more about setting up an event, how can they reach out to you? 

Carla: Part of SMA’s support is we can walk you through a successful event! You can call me or email me.

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: So Carla, since we have you, we always like to end each episode on a positive note. Do you have any uplifting stories you can share with us?

Carla shares her story about an event that seemed like it was going to fail, but ended up being successful and a great time!

Sarah: Alright everyone, that concludes today’s podcast episode. Lots of amazing insight from Carla about setting up events to generate leads!

Jessica: If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” Want to learn more about Senior Market Advisors? Visit us online or give us a call at 844-334-6066.

Sarah: We appreciate you joining us this week on…

Jessica: Selling SMART

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!