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 www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast.

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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 www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast 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!