One of the byproducts of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last year was a massive dislocation in the Medicare Advantage market. Medicare Advantage – also known as Medicare Part C – is an optional part of Medicare that allows beneficiaries to contract with managed care firms to administer their benefits under the Medicare program. The program is an alternative to Medicare supplement plans – and you cannot own a Medicare supplement plan and a Medicare Advantage plan simultaneously.
As a result of the bill, and substantial consolidation in the insurance industry in reaction to it, hundreds of thousands of seniors are in the process of being dropped from their Medicare Advantage plans, as insurance companies exit the market. The result is an opportunity for enterprising agents looking to expand their practice into the senior market: Every senior who is dropped from Medicare Advantage, but who still wants coverage beyond Part A and Part B, must find another Medicare Advantage plan or transition to Medicare supplement, within a limited period of time. This is a huge opportunity for Medicare supplement sales agents – but you have to be pro-active and get to the seniors affected before someone else does.
How big is the shift? The changes in Medicare Advantage brought on by the PPACA will likely affect more than 14 million seniors – about half of which will lose Medicare Advantage coverage entirely, as the nation transitions to the new health insurance system between 2012 and 2017.
That gives you, the agent, a powerful reason to get in front of seniors now, to talk to them about these changes, and their options.
This is an opportunity not just for Medicare supplement sales, but for lucrative life insurance, long term care and estate planning conversations as well. Bring this subject up to your prospects and customers. If they’re too young to think about it now, you may be able to help their parents and grandparents – and cement your relationship with these families as a caring, proactive agent.