Entries by Tom O'Neil

Delayed retirement trends don’t have to mean less commission for senior insurance agents

When did your parents retire? Did they move to a warm climate and cozy house in a Sun City type of community? Our folks had a much rosier view of their future than today’s 50- and 60-somethings.

Though I’d like to think we’re just much more industrious than our forebears, it looks like more of us are going to be working into the latter part of our sixth or even seventh decades. This year Northwestern Mutual Life’s annual Planning and Progress Study addressed the woeful number of U.S. adults who have neither planned for the future nor consulted a professional for retirement advice. Its findings were pretty bleak at times.

E&O: What independent Medicare agents need to know

Chris Hidalgo of Gallagher MGA, one of our industry partners, contributed some timely information about errors and omissions insurance, affectionately shortened to E&O, for our blog this week. The majority of the producers we work with concentrate on Medicare, life and related health products, so let’s take a look at professional protection and facts related to these folks to round out Chris’ helpful post.

Who are these Medicare Secret Shoppers?!

The No. 1 request I would hear from agents during my many years working for senior health insurance carriers, especially as AEP crept closer around the corner, was “Can I get a list of the clients I’ve sold to?”

Sure, it seems like a reasonable request, but it always astonished me why agents didn’t already have this information at their fingertips. When I think of how easy it is to keep up with clients versus how hard it is to get their contact information from a carrier, I see that it should be a top priority for agent s to manage their Medicare book of business.

Get out there and market yourself! Part Three

Many agents are avoiding formal sales meetings because they’re anxious about CMS oversight, carrier rules and secret shoppers. However, they can be a compliant way to generate more Leads, and very few carriers will disallow agents from conducting formal Medicare marketing sales events.

Running one of these events can be fairly simple. Here’s how to get rolling:

Review the rules regarding formal sales events in the official Medicare Marketing Guidelines.

Get out there and market yourself! Part Two

I loved working informal sales events when I was in the field full time because it’s an effective and compliant way to set appointments.

Informal sales events include popular senior expos, county fairs, church meetings and just about any gathering that’s likely to attract groups of Medicare beneficiaries. I’ll go over a few simple dos and don’ts below that can help you set more appointments, but you should always check CMS’ Medicare Marketing Guidelines for the complete set of regulations regarding marketing yourself at informal sales events.

Get out there and market yourself! Part One

Here’s my first post in a series of three about different kinds of events you can be a part of to market your senior insurance business. I’ve got a buddy who’s been a successful senior insurance advisor here in Arizona for the past 20 years who just refuses to schedule or participate in any type of educational events. He likes to say his wife’s the social worker, not him.

GOP takes on health care programs as it passes 2016 budget, announces candidates

We’re already seeing the first real thrusts of Republicans’ strategy to take back the White House as majorities in the House and Senate pass the first Congressional budget in over five years and half a dozen of the party’s presidential hopefuls announce their campaigns for the 2016 election. The GOP has the spotlight to further its case for balancing the federal budget in part by changing Medicare and Medicaid and possibly moving closer to delivering on its promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

What you need to know now about the “Doc Fix” repeal

President Obama recently signed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, one of the most significant pieces of Medicare legislation in years, into law. Here’s the short list of how the permanent fix to the “Doc Fix” will affect Medicare providers and members:

Doc pay: The reform package will give doctors a 0.5 percent payment increase in each of the next five years as Medicare transitions to a system that rewards physicians on qualify of care rather than quantity of procedures performed.