Medicare: Avoiding a Sales Allegation

Tom O'Neil

Senior Agent Contributor: Tom O’Neil

Tom O’Neil has been in the Medicare industry since the 1970s!  Whether the topic is selling Dual Eligibles, or how to increase business cash flow, or simply the craziest Medicare Advantage home appointment he’s ever been on, he has a wealth of stories and enjoys sharing them. When he isn’t running appointments, writing for our blog, or planning his next sales, he enjoys spending time with his canine companion, Molly.

Pictured above: Tom’s sweet pup!

Medicare: Avoiding a Sales Allegation

In my last blog post I talked about the lengths I go to during lock-in for my clients.  During my summer calls to my clients I make sure everything is running smoothly with their coverage and if they’ve been having issues I make it a point to drive out and meet with my clients in-person.    Now I’d like to move on to a less pleasant subject; knowing when to cut ties with problem clients and protect your license.

KNOW WHEN TO FOLD THEM:

A few weeks ago I had to answer an inquiry (called an allegation by most carriers) regarding an AEP enrollment in the Phoenix area.  I spent a ton of time doing pre-enrollment research for this lovely lady.  She is one of those HMO members who do not want an “expensive” Medicare Supplement but wants to have a full and unlimited universe of doctors and other providers.  I doubled down explaining the restrictions regarding provider access with HMO’s and checked all her docs.  She was well informed, intelligent and seemed satisfied with her change from one MAPD to another.

This was a carrier provided lead so I felt I had to make the extra effort to help this person.

Come April 27th the Carrier’s compliance “inquiry” hits my inbox.  I fully responded the next day and the finding is due shortly.  This is the first allegation sent my way in about eight years.  The customer service rep that generated the “inquiry” quoted the member as supposedly suggesting that I told her:

“All our local HMO’s are the same”, “The same providers are available on all the area plans”. Jeesh!
Avoid Allegation - protect wallet

Don’t put yourself in a position to lose your license.

The next time I speak with her my inner Donald Trump will come out: “You’re Fired”.  I of course will be a little nicer about it, but I will not be doing any future business with her.  Unfortunately, it is too dangerous in today’s compliance atmosphere to take chances with clients that might intentionally or accidentally generate an allegation.  This is another good reason to be on the phone with your client, when possible, during troublesome calls to carrier customer service. Your contract and renewals are on the line, and I don’t need to have a hit against my E&O!

While I’m griping let me touch on one other couple I had to fire last year:

A married couple in the Phoenix, AZ area that were referred to me by a wonderful and valued 15 year client of mine who is a regular referral generator.  After an hour in the house I absolutely knew I should leave some packets and just walk away.  Nope, they were referred to me by a friend so I soldiered on. In the future, when I get the “walk-away” chills running down my spine I will do just that.

I visited this couple 3 times before enrolling them and 3 more times after enrollment in the first four months on their plans, a record for me. The wife was feeling ill for years and wanted a plan where a doctor would listen to her.  Bingo, I got her on the perfect plan for her needs that was clinic based.  During her first visit to her PCP she was diagnosed with diabetes and placed on injectable insulin.  Her previous doc of some five years had never tested her.  The PCP on our new plan probably saved her life.  She seemed appreciative at the time.  Her husband was one of those angry guys who just could not be satisfied.  He was on about 15 meds and was a medical disaster.  I worked with him relentlessly.  My thanks?  He somehow got connected to his plan’s local sales manager in Phoenix and told him that I was “worthless” and could not fix anything for him!  Well, I had worked for that sales manager years earlier and we were still good friends.  He knew my work ethic and ability to resolve problems.  Hence, no allegation, but he suggested I fire the couple.  If this client had called the national customer service line to complain it would have been another “inquiry”.

Bottom Line: When you get those chills down your spine, save your license and your contract and protect your renewals.  WALK AWAY!

Whether it’s helping you avoid compliance pitfalls or providing you with AHIP reimbursements and discounts, RB Insurance Group is here to make your life in the Senior Insurance industry a breeze.  Call us today to get contracted and learn how to get your 2018 AHIP reimbursed! 1-800-997-3107.



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Cross-Selling: Start with your Book of Business

Tom O'Neil

Senior Agent Contributor: Tom O’Neil

Tom O’Neil has been in the Medicare industry since the 1970s!  Whether the topic is selling Dual Eligibles, or how to increase business cash flow, or simply the craziest Medicare Advantage home appointment he’s ever been on, he has a wealth of stories and enjoys sharing them. When he isn’t running appointments, writing for our blog, or planning his next sales, he enjoys spending time with his canine companion, Molly.

Pictured above: Tom’s sweet pup!

Cross-Selling: Start with your Book of Business

Senior Agent Contributor: Tom O’Neil


I am going to speak to some commonly missed lock-in period cross-selling opportunities and other related musings.  Keep on the lookout for another article where I touch on problem clients and when to fire them!

As Medicare Advantage and PDP sales enter a bit of a slump this time of year, I go to my book of business.  It was a slower than usual AEP for me this year, I wrote about 30 new MAPD clients and rewrote about 12 with some Med Supps added in.  Due to some other nagging obligations, that was as much effort as I could muster.

What now? – Time to start calling your new clients from AEP!

Cross-selling your existing Book of Business

Call your new clients from the recent AEP.  By now, they have had about 4 ½ months to use their plans.  Ask them some open ended questions about how their plan is working for them and try to uncover any problems they may be having with their new coverage. Any problems they ARE having, like a hospital bill for example, is a perfect opportunity to bring up Hospital Indemnity insurance. Another crucial reason for following-up with your clients this time of year is to make sure you’re top of mind when AEP rolls around in October.

By all means, if they are having any issues, assist them where you can with any of their plan challenges.  If they feel they need help here is another suggestion: GO TO THEIR HOUSE!  My basic rule during lock-in period is to do a home visit if my client lives within about a 30 mile range.  I will even see them on Saturday. Efficient? Heck no, but it will generate more information and business if you meet face to face.  Maybe they will bring over their adult child or senior neighbor.  It is also better if you are on speaker phone with them if a call is needed to the customer service department.

Think of questions that can also easily generate referrals but also might indicate new needed coverage for your client such as:

  • Hospital Indemnity
  • Cancer Plan
  • Dental Insurance or Dental Discount Plan
  • Final Expense Life
  • Good-Rx Plan  for Non-Formulary Drugs or to lower some copays (not commissionable but it has led to some great business for me!  Using this great, FREE tool will be a subject of a blog in a couple of weeks.)

Believe me, activity begets more activity.  Take it from somebody who’s been in the Medicare industry since the 70’s; this works!

Curious to know the 5 questions I ask my clients that will get you more referrals AND cross-selling opportunities?  Give the RBI team a call today and learn how they can grow your Medicare business! 1-800-997-3107

Keep an eye out for an upcoming white-paper from Tom O’Neil!



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Certifications and Planning your AEP

RBI Senior Sales Coordinator/Independent Agent: James Gramp

With his signature common sense, quiet good humor, and brilliant customer service, Jim is the other half of the RBI phone answering dynamic duo! An Arizona native, Jim manages agent relationships for the East Coast and specializes in the RBI agent tools, especially the Agent Market Edge. Jim has been a licensed health insurance agent for over a year, and has worked at RBI for 2 years. An accomplished bassoonist, he is known around the office for his amazing musical skills. In addition to keeping busy around the office, Jim frequently contributes to our blog, bringing a new agent’s perspective to the RBI online presence.

Certifications and Planning your AEP

RBI Senior Sales Coordinator/Independent Agent: James Gramp


It’s that dreadful time of year again when millions of insurance agents across the US lament the very idea of certifications.  I know that I’m certainly not looking forward to taking the AHIP yet again and all of my carrier certifications.  At RB Insurance, we make certification season as painless as possible for agents.  We’re continuing our $50 AHIP discount this year for ANY and ALL agents that use our link.  If you were with us last year you already know that RBI agents also get the rest of their AHIP cost reimbursed by making only 5 sales during AEP. But wait, there’s more!

Don’t wait for September for carrier certifications

I like to get my certifications done and out of the way as soon as possible for a couple reasons.  The first being, if you wait until September or October, it can sometimes take up to a month before some carriers will process your certification results.  I can’t tell you how many agents I talk to that tell me, “Oh I wait until September to start my certifications” and then October rolls around and they want to pick up sales materials but they can’t because they’re still not showing as “Ready to Sell” due to the carrier still processing background checks.  I then have to politely remind them that September and October are the slowest months for processing certification because it’s when the majority of agents finally get it around to doing it and that they will have to wait to pick up materials until after they’re showing as “Ready to Sell.”

Get Ready for AEP!

The second reason is with my certifications all done I can start planning out my AEP.  My AEP planning involves developing a marketing strategy, and sending out Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letters to my current clients.  I also begin lining up locations for any sales events that I want to do.  Remember, these must be submitted at least 14 days before the event.

Develop your Marketing Plan

Don’t have a marketing plan? Making sure RBI agents have a clear plan of where they’re going to get their next sales is a top priority for us.  We take the time to sit down with each of our agents who want to develop a custom marketing plan.  This is by no means a one-size-fits-all program, we take the time to learn about your current business and tailor it to your specific needs, and we will craft your plan so that your goals are Measurable, Actionable, Profitable, and Scalable.  We call it the MAPS method.

Finalize AEP Events

Want guidance on how to put on a successful sales event?  Our team of experts will make sure you have everything you need to have a successful event. Through our relationship with our print and fulfillment partner, Touchstone Marketing, we’re able to advertise your events to make sure you have a packed event at a discounted cost. Make sure you have all of your events submitted at least 14 days before the scheduled time.

Send ANOC Letters

The purpose of sending out ANOC letters is to let your clients know whether or not their plan is changing.  If they’re on a plan that is changing I will advise them that starting on October 1st, I will be able to discuss the benefits for the 2018 calendar year and whether or not they should consider switching plans.  These letters are especially helpful to agents that have a larger book of business, and are designed to not only keep your face fresh in your client’s mind but also to cut down on some of your outbound calls you will have to make to your clients.

Whether it’s giving you discounts and reimbursements on AHIP, providing you with the knowledge needed to pass, or giving you wholesale pricing on print and fulfillment services, RBI has the tools and expertise to make this your most successful AEP yet.  Click here to hear from RBI Director of Marketing, Justin Bever, on the unique benefits of partnering with RB Insurance Group.

Don’t Forget!

We will be airing our “Ace the AHIP” webinar on May 31st at 9:00am MST (Arizona Time), click here to register.  We’ll teach you every trick in the (open) book to help you pass your AHIP.  We also record each webinar that we host, so that you can watch it when it’s convenient for you.  However, if you have questions, I would encourage you to attend the live webinar because we do open up our webinars for a live Q&A at the end.

Don’t let the Medicare certification season get you down.  RBI is here to take all the hassle and anxiety out of your certification process, click here or give us a call today to join the RBI team and see how we can help take your Medicare business to the next level! 1-800-997-3107



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Referrals: Building your referral network. Download this free white paper to learn

James Gramp

RBI Senior Sales Coordinator/

Independent Agent: James Gramp

With his signature common sense, quiet good humor, and brilliant customer service, Jim is the other half of the RBI phone answering dynamic duo! An Arizona native, Jim manages agent relationships for the East Coast and specializes in the RBI agent tools, especially the Agent Market Edge. Jim has been a licensed health insurance agent for over a year, and has worked at RBI for 2 years. An accomplished bassoonist, he is known around the office for his amazing musical skills. In addition to keeping busy around the office, Jim frequently contributes to our blog, bringing a new agent’s perspective to the RBI online presence.

Referrals: Building your referral network

Download this free white paper to learn today

RBI Senior Sales Coordinator/Independent Agent: James Gramp


Referrals

Good referral sources in your community is often just a matter of finding or sponsoring local events.

Have you ever wondered how some agents are so successful by only working off of referrals?  Being a recruiter for RB Insurance Group over the past few years, I have spoken with tons of agents all across the country, and also having access to our very own Medicare Encyclopedia, AKA Charlie Ferrell (RBI’s National Sales Manager), I think it’s safe to say that I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade.

Don’t spend a dime on a lead ever again

One of the biggest problems agents in our industry have is how to generate leads without breaking the bank. Trying to recruit agents back when I first got started in this industry, I would pitch RBI’s marketing services (read this article about RBI’s services!) and every once in a while the agent would say, “well that’s nice and all, but I strictly work off of referrals.”  Now I finally understand how they were able to build their referral network.

Not sure where to start? Start here!

In this white paper I give ideas of good locations that you can reach out to as well as a couple specific examples of how I approach businesses with the goal of establishing a relationship that will see your Medicare book of business grow.  I’ll walk you through exactly how and what I say to build your referral network. You’ll be on your way in no time!

Download this free white paper and watch your business grow

If you’d like to learn how I approach community marketing and what exactly I say to centers of influence to generate referrals, simply give us a call or leave us your contact info below and you will be able to download this paper right to your computer!

Let RBI teach you how to “own your own backyard” with Community Marketing. To get contracted today, follow this link or give us a call at 1-800-997-3107!




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Stay focused on earning money

RB Insurance Group Managing Member: Bob Bever

Bob is the managing member of RB Insurance Group, LLC, an FMO based in Arizona, specializing in providing senior insurance agents with family-style customer service, without sacrificing the tools and resources of a much larger corporation. Bob is an expert in direct sales and leadership, and a proud 4th generation Arizona Native! Bob has over 35+ years of experience in the health insurance industry, and his past experience includes working as a field agent for Intergroup, Health Net, Cigna and Farmers. Since 1978 when Bob first got licensed as an insurance agent, to now, his focus has been on bringing excellence to the senior health insurance industry. Bob has a heart for seniors, and his no-nonsense approach and dry humor have endeared him to the clients and the agents he works with. Bob is semi-retired now, but his values of hard work, a positive attitude, and being an advocate for the needs of his clients continue to be the guiding principles of RBI.

Stay Focused on Earning Money

RBI’s Managing Member, Bob Bever


At the beginning of the year, we talked about how to set realistic goals for the year, and how to make sure your opportunities from AEP didn’t slip away.  If you’ve been dedicated about working hard on your plan this whole time, chances are you’re getting a little worn-out. Not to mention, this time of year brings its own set of challenges. There’s so much sunshine and good weather all around, and fun events like graduations, vacations, baseball games, etc. Human nature being what it is, it’s easy to get busy on the things that don’t actually make you money. Everyone needs a break to get your motivation back, but be careful not to get caught up in the day-to-day of summer fun and forget to check in on your goals. Pull out the list from the first of the year every week and evaluate how you’re doing. Do you need to get back on track?

Stay focused on earning money

stay focused on earning money

This time of year is full of great activities, but stay focused on earning money!

My advice for this time of year is simple: return to the basics.  For those agents that work in the senior insurance market and are not “hobbyists,” you should be spending half to two-thirds of your time in your business. That’s between 30 to 40 hours of your week on work time. And there’s plenty to do this time of year.

Stay in touch with your clients

Don’t forget to be making an effort to stay in contact with your existing clients, whether through a friendly phone call, or a postcard. Your clients are your primary source for new business so be sure to take very good care of them, and ask them to refer others to you as well.  9 times out of 10 the hottest leads you get are referrals from someone the beneficiary trusts.  Over time, this will secure your future for years to come, I can assure you.

Look over your portfolio

Evaluate your contracts, make sure you’ve got all the plans that are competitive in your market. Do you have all the product training that you need to serve your members?

Look for new opportunities

Stay focused on earning money

Grow your business with new opportunities.

If you’re looking for other opportunities, it’s a great time of year to start to make additional contacts with providers, nursing homes, and other community resources for seniors. Many agents will be going on vacation or slacking off this time of year, and if you are able to build a relationship now, or sponsor community events, you’ll be able to reach more potential clients later. Something to keep in mind is that with the changes in government and the rumblings about a new under-65 healthcare roll-out, many beneficiaries are concerned about their coverage. Now is a good time to meet with members to provide some reassurance, and hold educational events to explain how Medicare works with Medicare 101 classes.

Want some ideas of new and different ways to market in your community?

Check out our “Community Marketing” webinar where we talk about the different events and ideas you can do to generate new business! RBI can teach you how to “own your own backyard” and become known as the Medicare expert in your community. Have you completed a contract yet? Call our team at 1-800-997-3107 or click here to complete the Fast-Track and get appointed even quicker!



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5 Quick Opportunities Now to Unlock Your Best AEP

RBI Sales Coordinator, West Region: Rebecca Howard

If you’ve ever called RBI’s 800 number, chances are good that you’ve spoken to Rebecca! With a background in health care and customer service, Rebecca’s journey to Medicare insurance is a relentless pursuit of the human story. Fascinated by interpersonal relationships, and passionate about treating everyone right, it’s no surprise that Rebecca joins us from the South. A transplant to Arizona from Georgia, Rebecca is a customer service expert and sales coordinator extraordinaire! Rebecca manages agent relationships for the West Coast, and loves training her agents in all the tools and services that RBI offers. In addition to her regular duties, Rebecca is a bit of a word nerd, and serves as RBI’s content editor for the Agent’s Advantage Blog and RBI Classroom.

5 Quick Opportunities Now

to Unlock Your Best AEP Later

RBI Sales Coordinator, West Region: Rebecca Howard


I know, I know. It’s only the first week of May — AEP seems so far away! But the truth is if you haven’t already planned out your marketing leading up to AEP, now is definitely the time to start. AEP is the busiest time of the year in our industry and a great way to avoid that last-minute rush and make sure you have a plan in place is to decide your goals now. Figure out how many sales you want to make first and then decide on a marketing plan. RBI has the tools to help! In fact, here’s 5 quick opportunities to take advantage of now and unlock your best AEP yet.

Number 5: Organize your existing businessUnlock Your Best AEP Yet

If you haven’t reached out to all the old leads in your books, now is also a good time to touch base with a final phone call and personalized letter. It’s also time to make sure that each of your clients’ needs are being met. Pick up the phone and call your clients, or consider sending out a postcard. Make sure that you are asking for your clients to think of you for any referrals. Not sure what to say? Click here and read some advice from the RBI team. Make sure you’re going through your records and reconciling any commissions at the end of the month or interactions inside the Medicare Sales Engine!

Number 4: Learn about additional products

If you’ve had a laser focus on one type of product, it might be time to diversify. One of the best ways to make sure you’re able to serve your clients’ is to be able to address multiple concerns they might have. Have you talked to your members about Hospital Indemnity? What about Final Expense? Does your member qualify for extra help or LIS? Learn about the portfolio approach and then get the product training you need. Check out our calendar to sign up for informative webinars or go back and watch one of our recorded sessions!

Number 3: Pick up additional contracts

Now that you’ve learned about the additional products that will help you better serve your clients, it’s time to pick up contracts! Processing contracts can take the carriers from just a couple of days to several weeks, so it’s important to get started on this in advance. Carriers tend to get backed up with contracting requests right before AEP as well. Don’t get caught in that mess, get contracted now and miss the rush! Click here to see a list of carriers, or request information here.

Number 2: Prepare for the AHIP

It’s that time of year again – AHIP comes out at the end of next month. Get a jump on studying for the AHIP now and be ready to take the exam right away!  Click here to sign up for our 2018 Ace the AHIP webinar and be sure to use our link and get $50 off the price of the AHIP course!

Number 1: Plan your marketing now

AEP is short. What’s the best way to make sure you are able to complete the maximum appointments? Get a steady flow of leads and line up your appointments in advance. RBI’s team loves to help plan this out for our agents. If you don’t know the best way to get that steady flow of leads, watch this recording. Consider hiring a part time assistant to help you set appointments. The better organized you are on the front end, the smoother your AEP will be in the long run.

If you aren’t ready to sell with the most popular plans in your area, let us help you get started! Call our team at 1-800-997-3107 or click here to start the contracting process! It’s time to unlock your best AEP.



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