Open Enrollment is Your Chance to Add Value to Client Relationships

Open Enrollment is Your Chance to Add Value to Client Relationships

Now is the time to prepare your Medicare-age clients for the upcoming Open Enrollment Period, which is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. This is when Medicare enrollees can make changes to their Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage for the coming year.

Remind them that an annual review of their Medicare health insurance and Part D Prescription drug plans is important to make sure they get the coverage they need, avoid overpaying and know about plan changes that could cost them thousands, especially with prescriptions.

As a Medicare BackOffice® partner, you can refer clients for a free annual review by our Licensed Insurance Agents. And, you  can give them this “Guide to Medicare: Helping You Navigate the Medicare Maze,” which includes a checklist to help them gather everything they need for their plan review.

We’ve made it simple. Just customize this email to your Medicare-enrolled clients (those age 65 and older). It communicates the importance and urgency of reviewing their Medicare plans in the coming months, demonstrating that you care about one of their top concerns — the escalating costs of health care in retirement.

To customize the email, simply add each client’s name at the top and  your name, title and contact information at the bottom. (You may need to have your compliance officer review the letter if your company policy requires so.) You can find this email on the advisor side of MedicareBackOffice.com under the “Resources-Library” tab by clicking on “Client-facing” materials.  The email includes a link to not only the “Guide to Medicare” but also a video explaining the importance of reviewing prescription drug coverage.

If you’re meeting face-to-face with Medicare-age clients, we recommend printing the “Already 65 Checklist” on page 17, along with the “How Medicare BackOffice Works” explainer on page 18. You may want to reserve giving full copies of the guide to clients who are new to Medicare — those whose 65th birthday is approaching in the coming year or two. The guide is ideal for first-time enrollees, because they often have basic questions about Medicare as well as specific questions about their individual Initial Enrollment Period. (Remember, everyone’s Initial Enrollment Period is different, because it is based on their birthday. And it is different from the annual Open Enrollment Period, which is more of a yearly review of plans.) Please note: 2017 Medicare costs have not been released yet, so the guide includes 2016 figures. For a limited time, you can request up to 25 copies of the guide by emailing info@MedicareBackOffice.com.

For face-to-face meetings or calls with clients, remember these three basic steps:

  1. Urge them to review their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans during open enrollment.
  2. Explain that failing to review these plans can result in costly mistakes.
  3. Give them the Medicare BackOffice phone number — 1-877-385-8083 — to call for help, and remind them to tell the Licensed Insurance Agent your name, so that you get your referral fee.

To further assist you in your open enrollment discussions, we’ve listed some key talking points for you.

 

KEY TALKING POINTS

Be prepared by knowing the open enrollment basics. Review these commonly asked questions and their answers.

What is Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period?

From Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year, it’s when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage for the coming year.

Why is open enrollment and reviewing my plan now so important?

Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans can change each year, meaning the amounts you pay in premiums and deductibles could increase. Insurance carriers also can change their drug formularies, meaning a drug that costs you a few dollars each month could double or triple in price next year if dropped from your carrier’s formulary. Reviewing your plans is one of the best ways to manage your long-term retirement plan because you can identify any changes that could add up expenses over time, or that could quickly lead to financial hardship. Plus, you could even find a plan with better coverage.

Can I change my Medicare Supplement during open enrollment?

Yes, if you have a Medicare Supplement plan instead of Medicare Advantage, it can be a good idea to review your plan because Medicare Supplement premiums and plans also can change. However,  know that switching Medicare Supplement policies could require you to submit to a medical underwriting process that could result in a higher rate or denial based on its findings. (A Medicare BackOffice Licensed Insurance Agent can help explain if or how this could impact you.)

Why is an annual review of my Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage especially important each year?

If you have new medications, have switched medications or your insurance carrier changes its drug formulary, your costs could skyrocket if you don’t carefully review your current plan. And switching to a plan because you can save on the monthly premium could be costly, too. The plans with the lowest premiums are not always the better financial choice. The cost of one month’s worth of one drug that’s not on your plan’s formulary could exceed an entire year’s worth of your monthly premiums. Watch this short video to understand the importance of comparing drug plans.

Back to News Library