What To Know When Switching An Existing Medicare Supplement Plan For Your Customers

When it comes to health insurance plans, not everyone is going to end up happy with their choice, and this can include seniors and their Medicare Supplement Plans. A plan might seem perfect for someone initially, but situations, budgets or other variables can change, which can mean that your customer will want to change their plan. It’s more than likely that, at some point, a Medicare beneficiary will request your services to change their Medicare Supplement Plan, so you will need to be prepared – switching Medicare Supplement Plans takes some planning, digging, and explaining.

Reasons Why a Medicare Beneficiary Might Want to Switch Plans

illustration of a blue wallet with money sticking out of it
Sometimes a Medicare beneficiary wants to change their Medicare Supplement Plan so they can save money.

Many seniors are overwhelmed and under informed when they first enroll in Medicare, and in the midst of all the confusion, they decide on a Medicare Supplement Plan that they think will work for them, only to realize later it doesn’t. Some of the reasons that they might want to switch Medicare Supplement Plans include:

  • They do not need all the benefits they are paying for.
  • They need more benefits.
  • They are not happy with their insurance company and want to switch companies.
  • They want a cheaper plan.

When They Can Switch Plans

In many cases, once a Medicare beneficiary purchases a Medicare Supplement Plan, they are locked into that plan. Very rarely will they have the opportunity to easily switch plans, since Medicare Supplement insurance companies have the option to deny or charge more if applicants do not pass underwriting.

However, your customer can switch plans without any problems if:

  • They have guaranteed issue rights.
  • Are in good enough health to pass underwriting.
  • Are within their 7-month Medicare Supplement Initial Enrollment Period.
  • Are still in the 30-day “free look period” of their current plan.

Switching Plans

many boxes on one side of a scale and one box on the other side.

Once you’ve determined whether your customer can easily switch plans, you will need to understand exactly what your client is looking for so you can find the right plan for their needs. After you’ve spoken with them about this, take down all of their information and fill out an application for a new Medicare Supplement Plan, making sure to be clear that the plan will be a replacement for a current plan. During this process, it is important to ensure that your client won’t have a gap in coverage, so when applying, choose a start date for the first day of the following month. After the application is accepted, you can help your customer cancel the current policy effective the first day of the month.

If your client is thinking of switching plans during the “free look period” (30 days) of their current Medicare Supplement Plan, there are a few things to note. First, if your client decides to switch plans, they will need to pay the premiums of both plans for the free look period. Second, do not cancel the first Medicare Supplement Plan until they decide they want to keep the new one!

During your career, you will come across many Medicare beneficiaries who are not happy with their Medicare Supplement Plans, but you can help them switch to a plan that better suits their specific needs, as long as you know the rules surrounding how to do so. It’s as simple as gathering information, signing them up for a new plan, making sure to cancel their previous plan, and following up with your customer. After all, making sure they are satisfied with your service is the best way to grow your business! If you are interested in getting reliable, exclusive Medicare leads, call 866-368-0377.

Products To Sell During Medicare Lock-In Period

When the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period comes around, you know that commissions are about to come your way! You will be helping Medicare clients change plans, add Medicare Supplement Plans, and do everything in between. But what happens when the AEP is over? There are other ways to keep earning a commission after it is over, mainly by selling other products throughout the year (lock-in period).

Medicare Supplement Plans

illustration of a man looking at a long bill
Medicare Supplement Plans can be sold at any time, and they help cover Medicare costs, which is valuable to many.

Medicare Supplement Plans are great because you can sell them all year round. Thousands of people turn 65 every day, and each of them has the opportunity to look into Medicare Supplement Plans after enrolling in Medicare. But that is not the only time they can sign up for a Medicare Supplement Plan: technically a senior can apply for a plan anytime, even during the lock-in period, as long as they are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. Some seniors will look into changing Medicare Supplement Plans within 30 days of enrolling in a plan, also known as their “free look period.” Or some will want to change their Medicare Supplement Plans anytime during the year to find a more affordable plan. And the great thing about selling Medicare Supplement Plans? You will make residual commissions on them for years.

Dental, Vision & Hearing Plans

Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement Plans do not offer dental, vision or hearing insurance. These plans are the perfect products to cross-sell to your clients because no underwriting is necessary for them, and they are typically inexpensive. You can help your customers find a plan that offers them the extra coverage they need at a very attractive price.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Many Medicare beneficiaries are under the impression that long-term care, such as stays in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, is covered by Original Medicare. Unfortunately, this is not the case, so when selling Medicare products, it is important to note to your clients that long-term care is generally not covered. While Medicare does cover certain things that are deemed medically necessary by a doctor, for the most part, it will not cover costs for people who need custodial care (including non-medical needs such as eating and bathing). This is a great opportunity to suggest long-term care insurance, and if they will not qualify for it, suggest a short-term care insurance plan instead.

Hospital Indemnity Insurancewoman sitting in a hospital bed with an IV in her arm

Hospital indemnity insurance is a supplemental insurance plan that will help pay for hospital admission costs that are not covered by other insurance. Some of these plans offer cash payments to help pay for any extra expenses accrued during hospital stays, as well as deductibles, observation stays, surgeries, medications and more. These plans are beneficial for people with Medicare Advantage Plans, which can sometimes leave beneficiaries with large bills from hospital stays.

Working with Medicare leads is a great way to make an income, but you do not have to solely rely on the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period to thrive. Some insurance agents bank on getting most of their commissions during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, but that is only 54 days out of the year. There are so many different ways you can continue to earn commissions during the lock-in period. Seniors need coverage for dental, vision and hearing, help with some hospital costs, and coverage for long-term care if they have a chronic condition that worsens, all which Original Medicare does not cover. If you consider selling (or cross-selling) the insurance plans mentioned, then you can continue to help seniors and grow your business outside of the Medicare AEP!

6 Things You Need To Know About Selling Medicare Supplement Plans

Did you know that more than 10,000 people in the United States turn 65 every day? For insurance agents, that can mean a lot of sales if you get into selling Medicare Supplement Plans. In order to create long-term sustainability for your business, you will need a residual income, and there is no better way to ensure this than by selling Medicare Supplement Plans. If you work hard enough, you could even see a six-figure residual income in as little as three to four years. In order to sell Medicare Supplement Plans, there are 6 things that you absolutely have to know.

illustration of an ambulance
Medicare covers ambulance services, doctor visits, and more.

1. How Medicare Works

In order to completely advocate for a customer, you have to be knowledgeable about the product you are selling. Medicare is divided into 2 parts: Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Part B covers essential medical expenses including:

  • Ambulance services
  • Doctor visits
  • Lab tests
  • Cancer screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • Rehabilitation
  • Durable medical equipment

Parts A and B cover 80% of costs after deductibles and coinsurance, and the other 20% is paid by the beneficiary out-of-pocket. However, if they purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan, it will cover that 20%.

Beneficiaries are automatically enrolled in Part A, but they need to sign up for Part B during their Initial Enrollment Period, which includes the 3 months before the month they turn 65, the month they turn 65, and the three months after they turn 65. If they do not sign up for Medicare Part B during this period, they will have to pay a late enrollment penalty of 10% for every year they delayed enrollment. The only way they can avoid this penalty is if they are still insured through an employer’s health insurance plan.

2. Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment

The Initial Enrollment Period mentioned above is also the best time for someone to purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan. Technically, a customer can sign up for a Medicare Supplement Plan whenever they want, but if they do not sign up during their Initial Enrollment, then they will face medical underwriting. They can then end up being denied or charged more due to pre-existing conditions.

3. What Medicare Supplement Plans Cover

bag full of dark red blood laying on a table with tubes
Medicare Supplement Plans help cover some things Medicare does not cover, such as blood transfusions.

Medicare Supplement Plans cover the 20% gap that Original Medicare does not pay for. What’s unique about these plans is that they cover health and wellness benefits that Medicare doesn’t cover at all. This includes:

  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Part B excess charges
  • Coinsurance and hospital costs for up to one year after Medicare benefits are used up
  • Blood transfusions for up to three pints of blood
  • Hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • Medical costs incurred while traveling outside of the U.S.

In addition, Medicare Supplement Plans K and L have annual out-of-pocket limits. Once you reach the plan’s limit, Plans K and L cover 100% of covered out-of-pocket expenses for the rest of the year.

4. What Medicare Supplement Plans Do NOT Cover

older asian man looking at a pill bottle in his hand with other bottles sitting on the table in front of him
Unfortunately, there are some things Medicare does not cover, such as prescription drugs.

Although Medicare Supplement Plans cover some services that Medicare does not, that does not mean that these plans cover everything. Medicare Supplement Plans do not cover:

  • Dental care
  • Eye exams
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • Prescription drugs
  • Long-term care

5. When Medicare Supplement Plans Are Accepted

If a doctor accepts Medicare and Medicare assignment, then they will accept Medicare Supplement Plans as well. They can be used for treatment by any doctor, whether in-network or out-of-network. This makes these plans a great option for people who travel.

6. The Difference Between Plans & How to Switch Plans

There are 10 different Medicare Supplement Plans; the difference between all of them is the coverage that they offer and their price points. A letter identifies each Medicare Supplement Plan: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N. Not all states offer all Medicare Supplement Plans, so you’ll have to know what plans are available for customers in your state.

chart of the different medicare supplement plans coverage

***Plans C, Medigap Plan F, and high-deductible Plan F are no longer available to seniors who became eligible for Medicare benefits on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

If your customer already has a Medicare Supplement Plan and wants to switch to a different plan, the only way that they can get the best price is if they pass the set of health questions the insurance company provides. If the customer is within their 6-month Medicare Open Enrollment, or if they have had their current Medicare Supplement Plan for less than 6 months, then they can bypass the underwriting process. If they are not switching within this time frame, then the company can charge them more or deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

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