Throwback Thursday

As July wraps up, we are officially in the dog days of summer. I think everyone could use a little break, so take a few minutes and check out these videos we have done over past couple years.

Remember, with both the Medicare Annual Election Period and Obamacare’s Open Enrollment Period around the corner, your time is critical. We can supply you with “exclusive-only” leads that close. We do not send out ANY leads as shared! Work more efficiently this selling season.

Here is our Spin on a Classic Song Showing Why you Shouldn’t Buy Shared Leads!

Here is a short parody on the Whazzup commercial from years back!

How an Agency Cashed in On Obamacare

We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from agents on their experience with the Obamacare open enrollment.

Most of you told us how you were flooded with nervous and upset clients back in October and November when Healthcare.gov wasn’t working. Not much of a surprise there. But once it started working we got different responses and requests depending on whether you were selling on the exchanges as well as off the exchanges.

Agents who wrote no exchange business didn’t seam to write more or less new business and their businesses remained fairly steady.

Agents who wrote both on and off the exchanges appeared to have some success expanding their business as well as selling voluntary products to supplement their income.

But we have heard from several agents who focused solely on writing exchange business and literally knocked the ball out of the park.

Last week, I had a long conversation with an agent who described himself politically as right of right who decided to park his politics at the door (just like all the big money conservatives do – Halliburton, Koche Industries, etc) and made the business decision to sell on the exchange.

They wrote over 4,000 policies with only 12 agents between December and March – $40,000,000 in annualized premium.

That was an average of 20.8 policies sold/per agent/ per WEEK! 1 agent sold 127 policies in one week.

While the commissions are lower, they are making substantially more money than if they had sold 4 or 5 regular policies in a week – which was a good week for most agents we know.

One large national carrier, who we all know, called to ask him how he was doing it because their sales were rivaling their in-house sales.

I’ve heard the complaints about only making a 2.5-3% commission or $25/per participant/per month, etc. but if you are closing 30-40% and literally taking orders to write 20 apps a week, you make more money at the end of the day.

So how did they do it?

  • First the owners set their politics aside and made a business decision, then
  • They bought a lot of leads (not just from us)
  • Generated a lot of their own leads (using our new Search+ program)
  • Set up a good sales system (CRM)
  • Got contracts with the Blue Plans and other major carriers in their states
  • Hired agents on referral only, and
  • Paid their agents well.

A pretty straight forward model that generated SEVEN figures in commissions with solid profitability over a 4 month period… Not bad.

If you and your agency didn’t take advantage of the Obamacare windfall, there are still millions of people to take care of in upcoming open enrollments.

In the meantime, sell short term medical and other non-exchange programs available outside of OEP to take care of people who missed their opportunity, work with small businesses to convert them from group plans to individual (which creates a qualifying event for all the employees making them eligible for an exchange plan as well as an off exchange plan), and start preparing for the fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affordable Care Act Postpones Employer Penalty

Obamacare faced another significant setback yesterday when the administration announced it would delay the implementation of the employer penalties by a year until 2015. The Obama team bowed to complaints from business groups about the impact the law would have on their companies and their ability to hire new employees.

Mark J. Mazur, the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, published the news yesterday on the treasury site. The post, Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner, attempts to paint this as a deliberate move to ease the reporting burden on employers as the initial forms were overly complex.

While this postponement does not change other parts of the law, analysts have noted that this delay may be a harbinger of more bad news for Obamacare to come. Especially considering that the federal government has not completed the work necessary to setup exchanges in the 30 states who will not be setting up their own exchanges. This is a herculean task that many experts believe cannot be accomplished in the remaining four months prior to open enrollment.

The Washington Post noted that this is a significant event for the administration, diminishing Obama’s credibility and threatening his legacy as the employer mandate is now in jeopardy of being permanently removed from the act. Which would undermine the entire law as the revenue the mandate will generate significantly contributes to the cost of this new entitlement program.

Employer Coverage Declining

Another article you should read is a thoughtful piece in Forbes where they go into the potential impact of this policy change on employer coverage and they also note that it may not be legal to delay the implementation without an actual change in the law. Essentially, the administration can choose to not enforce the law, but its still the law.

The coming months are going to be exceptionally interesting as we all count down to implementation of one of the largest government run programs in the history of the country.

Does Your Lead Company Do This?

We continue to receive Sales Disposition Reports from some of our top clients. As we wrote back in the summer, this data enables us to continually make adjustments to our campaigns at the keyword level.

Contact rates and closing rates have improved, but they can get better. In one instance, we reduced a Client’s Cost per Sale by $200. Quite simply, we need more clients giving us this data. The larger the sample size, the more conclusions we can draw on what does and doesn’t work for our Marketing Campaigns.

There has been no change in where we are marketing, the landing pages and sites we are using, etc.

So, how can things change?

To find out, we take the disposition reports as well as other clients’ sales results and matched it up with our marketing data. Then the analysis can begin.

Here’s what we discovered:

  • Two sub sources of traffic from our long term advertising sources recently had substantial increases in their traffic. Some of you may now say that should have been an alarm in and of itself, but you would be dead wrong. This happens all the time and without knowing sales results there is too little data to have real actionable information.
  • Clients that were displaying quotes on their branded thank you page were closing 125% more cases than those without quotes. A consumer that types a keyword phrase with the word “quotes” wants to see quotes after filling out their information or know clearly how the agent will be delivering their quotes.
  • There are certain keywords that are getting more and more searches as Obamacare draws near.

Here’s what we did:

  • Blocked the two sub sources from displaying our ads going forward
  • Made improvements to our thank you pages
  • Increased bids on the keywords that are resulting in Sales and blocked keywords that have been identified as a lower likelihood of closing.

Without customer feedback, we would be flying blind.

Call Offer

Check out our Video to learn exactly the process we go through to do our analysis.

Obamacare Opportunity for Health Insurance Agents

Many agents call me asking where the opportunity is when 2014 rolls around and I understand their uncertainty as there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

Regardless, as every week passes we are getting more information from the government as well as the insurance carriers. Here is a summary of what we are hearing.

There Will Be a Healthy Off Exchange Health Insurance Market

Multiple carriers have informed large agencies we work with that they will be offering a suite of health insurance options off of the exchanges. Some of these plans will conform and qualify as health insurance and others will not.

The policies which are not going to conform will be anywhere from your traditional mini-med plan to plans that are based on schedules as well but will cover more of what a healthy family will need than what we are used to seeing in this market.

The interesting thing to note is that the penalties plus the insurance cost will be less for most people than buying a plan on the exchange.

Income Premium Tax Credit Cost Penalty
$40,000 $12,130 $10,148 $1,982 $285
$50,000 $12,130 $8,745 $3,385 $285
$60,000 $12,130 $7,193 $4,937 $285
$70,000 $12,130 $5,504 $6,626 $429
$80,000 $12,130 $4,530 $7,600 $529
$90,000 $12,130 $3,580 $8,550 $629
$93,700+ $12,130 $0$12,130$666
  • 2016 Penalty = $2,085
  • Rates are estimates from http://healthreform.kff.org/subsidycalculator.aspx
  • Rates are for the Silver Plan for a family of 4, with a medium regional cost factor at the age of 40

Exchanges May Be More Welcoming to Agents

The last thing the Obama administration wants is for their signature plan to fail in terms of enrollment and we have already seen that enrollment in the catastrophic plans has been far less than forecast.

I have heard from various sources that commissions coming from the exchanges will be the same as commissions paid off of the exchange in order to encourage agents to help make the program a success.

Agents Will Still Be Able to Sell Critical Illness and Accident Plans

Even if commissions are limited on the exchanges, the cost of these plans will be so high and the benefits so low that consumers will want to supplement their coverage and buy the cheapest plan.

Most agents we know are selling these plans either bundled with the carrier or bundling it themselves but selling separate policies. Either way, it gets your income back to where it was prior to the MLR changes if you are good at the cross selling. We know several agencies where the revenue is higher than before.

The outlook for health insurance is now appearing brighter than it has in the past and we look forward to any additional insight any of our readers may have.

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