Get Ready For The 2020 Health Insurance Tax

Insurers were given a pass in 2019 by Congress regarding their annual health insurance tax. The reason was that the government was concerned about consumers’ out-of-pocket costs. However, if the ACA’s health insurance tax resumes as planned, this ‘free pass’ might be over and insurers will face a $15.5 billion tax bill in 2020. The health insurance tax was created to fund the implementation of the ACA’s marketplace exchanges. For consumers, this means that insurers will raise premiums by more than 2% if the tax is implemented by the IRS.

Health Insurance Tax Over The Years

Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting recently analyzed the projected impact of the health insurance tax on health insurer premiums over the next 10 years. They found that premiums are likely to increase by 2.2% in 2020.

The tax started at $8 billion in 2014, increased to $11.3 billion for 2015-2016, and had a suspension in 2017. The tax was then reinstated at $14.3 billion in 2018, and then given another suspension for the year of 2019.

Who It Applies To

A fully-insured health plan is the more traditional way to structure an employer-sponsored health plan. With a fully-insured health plan: The company pays a premium to the insurance carrier. The health insurance tax applies to all insurers offering fully-insured coverage. This goes for :

  • on-exchange and off-exchange individual markets
  • large and small group markets
  • insured public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

The Rise In Premiums

Premium increases will vary by state. However, premiums are expected to increase annually anywhere from $154 to $479. A person in the individual market can face a $196 increase. A person in the small group market can expect a $154 increase, while a family of 4 faces a $479 increase. As for families in the large group market, the increase for an individual will be about $158, while a family faces a $458 increase.

The Outcome Following The Tax

If the tax is implemented and is as high as almost $16 billion, then increased tax burdens on small employers will follow. Fully-insured small employers will face the repercussions, while private and self-insured public employers will not. Employers are not the only ones who will have to pay for the tax increase. State taxes will go up for everyone in order to cover the increased tax on Medicaid.

More importantly, many people might opt out of insurance due to the increase in premium costs. Healthier individuals opting-out will cause an imbalance in the risk pool, meaning higher premiums for the (less healthy) people who are insured.

As of now, there is no definitive answer if the tax will be implemented in 2020. Congress is considering bipartisan legislation that would suspend the tax through 2021, but it is not a guarantee. If the health insurance tax is implemented, insurance rates and premiums will be more expensive than it already is.

Let Your Confidence Shine Through

Although this may sound like a counterintuitive idea, many new health insurance agents just starting out are often a bit uncertain about their products. It’s a lot to learn, a lot to remember and they do not yet have the hands-on “in the trenches” experience of an agent who has been selling for years. They may not be able to read, “buy” signals with any degree of precision. That’s a skill that develops over the years.

To bolster your confidence, always remember that potential clients, whether they want Medicare plans, group health insurance or a final expense policy, are looking to you to provide a solution to their problem. Have a solution? Have confidence? Have a sale. Sometimes it’s just that simple. If you have the inner confidence in your sales skills, knowledge and products, you can’t help but be a winner. If the potential client can see you know what you are doing and know what you’re talking about, chances are they’ll buy a plan through you.

Do Not Forget to Follow Up

This tip doesn’t always go over well with busy health insurance agents who don’t always have time to double back and re-connect with leads that did not want to buy. However, it is vital that you do not forget to follow up for the very simple reason that a “No,” does not always mean “never.” It may also mean “not right now,” and you won’t know that unless you make an effort to follow up with your leads.

This doesn’t mean bugging them continuously. It means sending some good information on Medicare or Medigap plans, or group health insurance, asking them questions about what they would like to see in an insurance policy and genuinely listening when you get an answer and take the time to find them a policy that may suit their needs.

There are also situations where a business owner or other potential buyer contacts you and asks for information. While it’s good that they contacted you, it may also mean they do not have the time to reconnect later. Don’t lose a good lead by not checking back in with them to answer questions or offer alternatives.

The longer you leave your follow up calls the easier it is for another insurance agent to step in and snag a sale. The competition is tough out there. Make the most of every single contact/lead that you have. It pays off at the end of the day.

Selling Group Health Insurance Can Be Highly Profitable

Selling group health insurance can be highly profitable but there does need to be a method to how you approach this kind of sale.

The first thing you need to do is focus on your target market. This is not the time to be scattered when devising a sales strategy for selling group health insurance. Every single individual you meet needs medical insurance, but you want to sell group health, so that means your market is employers/businesses. Whether the business you have in mind to approach is small, right on up to larger, most employers are always searching for a good deal on group medical insurance. They want to protect their bottom line in the process.

Knowing what drives an employer looking for group health insurance is the inside “coup.” It means you are better able to serve that market because you understand the mindset of companies and offer a good quality product that suits their needs. Of course you need to know your products intimately and be able to answer any questions asked. But you already know that, right?

Work the potential client from their point-of-view and be prepared to make more sales.

Use Conference Lines or Online Meeting Rooms to Promote and Sell Group Health Insurance to a Number of Companies

In today’s marketplace, we need to be mindful of the trend toward more personal service, easier access to the person actually selling a product and how we come across as agents to our existing and potential customers. In other words, we are not just marketing a health insurance policy, but also “US” personally and our record for great service.

Want to sell group health insurance to a number of companies that have subsidiaries? Use a conference line or an online meeting area and bring everyone together for your presentation and work the “room” like a top-selling professional agent that you are. Take any and all questions, ask for feedback, take notes, send information when it is called for and be the best you can be while handling the call. Make sure you also do a follow up with every company on that call to see if there is anything else you can help them with.

Make use of the tools at hand in the digital age and perhaps also consider some of the older methods to reach out and connect. Today, people are looking for good customer service and a seller they trust. Be that seller and your agency can grow steadily and turn a nice profit.

Don’t know what to write about when it comes to insurance article marketing?

Okay, this is a valid concern, but one that may be easily overcome by doing the research. What is trending on social media about insurance? For instance, what are people saying about Medicare, group health insurance or final life expenses? Find out. Stay current. Don’t market an obscure product that holds very little appeal to people.

An example of insurance products that hold little appeal to people is final life expenses. This is a demographic that needs to be approached when the timing is right for the customer.

Typically you’d target this niche by age and health factors. An example would be a 67-year-old male with diabetes about to go to hospital for a possible amputation. This individual may be very interested in final expense insurance. In other words, if you’re buying targeted leads, target older individuals with health issues. You can filter for those kinds of leads by asking your lead generation company.

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For a Consistent Source of Health Insurance Leads Stay on top of the Market

Insurance agents want quality leads that convert. But once they do convert, leads must also be worked diligently to become customers.

Agents wanting to ensure they have a constant source of income due to leads turning into customers should aim to sell highly lucrative group health insurance policies. This class of policies are typically considered to be gold. Of course, the sales do not just “happen.” Any leads need to be worked to be converted.

However, before putting the cart before the horse, the first step to finding lucrative leads is to know where to look for the leads. To that end, agents should know the market by staying on top of it constantly. Looking at all angles and considering creative ways to sell group health insurance is essential. The fact is everyone needs medical insurance and that includes those who work for companies offering health insurance as a benefit to their employees.

The market is not individuals. It is a group of people working for businesses that offer health insurance. These companies may be small or large, but they still want a reasonable price for group health insurance that does not put them in the poorhouse. That is where This is where expertise comes into play. An agent knows which policies suit each business. This strength, a knowledge of the market and customers, easily translates into ability to close a sale.

It’s quite usual for potential group health insurance customers to take time to make a decision about buying a policy. One should follow up consistently, with good information and stay in touch, even if it does seem to feel like nagging the potential buyer. Part of a good sales strategy is to stay on top of the mind of a potential customer.

Without follow up,agents stand to lose out when another picks up where the first left off. Persistence in contacting leads, rather than insistence, is key. Being there when a potential client needs to know something before making a buying decision is a smart move. To that end, agents should have or cultivate the confidence in their ability to sell and service the group health insurance market.

Businesses not only want a good policy, they want a good agent who knows what they are doing and can help them with any issues or questions they may have. It’s best to be the solution before a problem arises. Scheduling appointments and keeping them, while being willing to be flexible with changes on the part of a business owner can go a long way. Their life is often not their own and an appointment planned may not happen due to an unexpected event.

An insurance professional should fit into the client’s schedule, not the other way around. Being in the insurance business means being where and when a customer needs assistance. Following that dictum, knowing policies, and staying a step ahead of customers needs can help anyone to stay ahead of competition.

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Group Health Insurance Leads – DIY or Do It With Leads From a Lead Generation Company?

There are many ways to track down group health insurance leads, but it saves time and money to do it the easy way.

Group health insurance policies are the gold standard for an agency that wants to ensure a steady source of income. These policies are very lucrative for agents, and if they take the time to ensure they have qualified leads before starting to work them, future trips to the bank will be satisfying.

But where does an agent start? Quality leads are extremely difficult to source through cold calling, networking and social media alone. Frankly, the quickest route to profitability is to buy group health insurance leads from a solid lead generation company.

Successful agents choose a marketing niche, line up a marketing budget and focus on sourcing leads that are ready for their call. The group health insurance niche can provide an agent with both small and large company clients.

Exclusive group health insurance leads are only sold to one agent, increasing their potential and value. Agents can purchase leads that suit a particular timetable and geographic area. Even further specificity is possible: a particular age range, kinds of companies, small businesses and so forth. A quality lead generation company allows agents to space orders, receiving leads every day or once or twice a week as they prefer.

Agents should pursue even exclusive leads within one business day. Leads are sent in real time, and the people named in them are actively reaching out to track down information on group health insurance.

Follow-up is just as important as timeliness. High-caliber agents pursue each lead until they get a definitive “no” over the phone. However, when marketing online, “no” can simply mean that a potential client is not interested at that time. Continued follow-up places an agent at the front of a person’s mind when he or she is ready to buy.

Think smart when buying leads. Exclusive purchases are one of the best ways to save time and make money to build a business.

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Know Your Group Health Insurance Policies

The better you know your product, the faster you can close a sale.

Most employers know they need group health insurance, but they do not have the time to study the options. They rely on you to inform them about pricing, details and the implementation of a given policy at a business like theirs. If you can’t answer those questions, it’s unlikely that you can make a sale. Many experienced agents already know this, of course. But some agents discover, at their own expense, that knowing their policies “in general” is not sufficient to carry to close a sale. Moreover, if you don’t know your policies intimately, you run the risk of selling someone the wrong group insurance policy.

Most of your potential group-health clients will be employers who want an economical solution that covers their workers adequately with little fuss. The more you understand a company’s expectations of health coverage, the better you can tailor solutions and present offerings to suit their needs.

Do not assume leads will know your job, because they will not. A business does not always leave its members time to explore insurance policy options. Keep them informed. Show them what they need to know. Stay in touch, earn their trust and work to close the sale.

There are lots of competitors out there. If you do not prime and prep your client properly, you may lose the sale to someone else. Remember to ask potential clients for an appointment, so you can show them what they need to know about your group health insurance policies. They’re busy. You’re busy. If you want to make a sale, you need to accommodate their timetables. A sale could be made or broken by not offering to meet them on their ground, on their time.

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Group Insurance Leads Come In All Flavors

Group insurance leads typically do not come from just one person but rather a group of individuals. This may make it a bit more difficult to manage, as there will be multiple questions and issues from each person in the group. Ultimately, if you handle the pre-sale “get to know one another” period well, you will find things come together and result in a nice sale.

There are similarities and differences when dealing with groups versus individuals. A group is a collection of individuals who need help selecting the right kind of insurance to meet their needs. If you excel working one-on-one, translate that skill to a group. You just need to know your product inside out, be forthcoming and courteous, and the sales will follow.

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