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. 

Educating Your Prospective Medicare Clients Pays Off

Selling insurance is not just about sales. Educating your target audience is an important aspect of a sales strategy of any agent. Because insurance policies and plans continually change, it is critical to educate your audience.

If you are selling Medicare supplement plans then you know how frequently things change. With that in mind, you can not expect clients to keep up. That is why educating seniors on Medicare supplements and other changes is key.

With new additions, changes in co-pays, changes in drug plans, varying premiums and other new additions choosing something that your audience knows is going to work for them is difficult, if not impossible. This is where you come in to advise and educate. In other words, make the process of discussing Medicare supplements one that does not just focus of how much it costs. Make it a conversation about the newest changes, what is beneficial, how it could help your clients and what would suit their lifestyles and budget.

It is important to know your product and what needs to be passed along to your potential and existing clients. Educating your clients is a smart move and it lets them know that you understand their needs and are looking out for them.

Medicare Supplement Leads Are Great, but are They Exclusive?

Medicare supplement leads are worth the time and effort because America has an aging society. Be there and be poised on a rapidly growing insurance niche.

Selling Medicare supplements is one area you are going to shine in. However, it is important that not only do you work those leads promptly, efficiently and effectively, but you have quality leads that convert. Fresh, real time leads coming directly and only to you are leads guaranteed to garner you conversions.

While it is true that exclusive Medicare supplement leads can be expensive, they are worth the investment. Smart insurance marketing begins with a sharp eye on the profit line and a plan to achieve those goals. Spending marketing dollars in the right places boosts your bottom line and provides a good ROI. So spending that extra gets you the good leads to work with and close.

Buying leads is best summed up with one word – exclusivity. You want leads exclusively for you and in your chosen territory. Cannot get that from you current lead source? Do not buy those leads. It is your money. Your time. Your marketing skills. You know what you need. Go out there and get it. If a lead generation company cannot or will not guarantee your exclusivity in the geographic area of your choice, go find another company that does that for you.

Do not be fooled by lead generation companies that say they sell exclusive leads and it actually turns out they sell to six or seven other agents. When you say you want exclusive leads, you want those leads to go only to you. That gives you the edge in knowing no other agent has contacted that person first. Of course, it gives you a leading edge in closing a sale as well.

Leery about spending funds to buy exclusive leads? Look at the benefits:
• less competition
• higher sales
• higher profits
• ethical lead generation provider supporting you
• exclusive leads allow you to nurture clients and grow your territory

Medicare supplement leads are great when they are exclusive to you.

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