We all know the saying, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” Many people have limited incomes, but you can help them with budgeting for a Medicare plan to afford the health care they may need.
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Health care is expensive, and costs only increase as each year passes. In 2019, it was reported that the average 65-year-old, retiring couple could spend an estimated $285,000 on health care over the rest of their lives. So, it’s important that your clients use their money wisely when selecting a Medicare plan, as it could help shield them from high out-of-pocket expenses.
As an agent, your job is to help your clients make this decision. To do that, you’ll need to know what they can and can’t afford. Let’s explore a few things you can do to ensure you stay sensitive to your clients’ budgets.
Gather Medicare Client Information with Finesse
First things first, you have to know what the client is working with to present them with appropriate Medicare plans to fit their budget. Sometimes it can be awkward discussing someone’s finances. Of course, money plays a main role in purchasing a Medicare plan, but there’s a way to inquire about a client’s budget that is subtle and professional.
Keep meetings conversational and be an active participant. Don’t pepper them with questions like it’s an interrogation, and remain non-judgmental as you receive their personal details. No two clients will have the same health or financial situations. Creating rapport and trust is just as important as getting the info you need.
Creating rapport and trust is just as important as getting the info you need.
So, during friendly conversation, you can inquire about their expenses and assets to get a sense of what they will be able to afford in regard to purchasing a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplement and any supplemental coverage.
Shared Client Records with Medicareful
A tool to use to keep track of all of your clients’ information is Medicareful and its Shared Client Records. Once a client creates an account on your Medicareful site, you and the client can add and maintain the info within the record (e.g., prescription drugs, previous plan history and more). This info is then accessible on the Clients tab of the Ritter Platform, which acts as a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Generate Accurate Plan & Prescription Drug Quotes
Once you have established an idea of a client’s budget, you can present them with plan quotes, so they can choose the best option for their health and wallet. To do this, you want to use accurate and reliable tools. Both you and the client need to be able to trust the information you’re pulling.
Medicare Quote Engine
Ritter’s Medicare Quote Engine (MQE) is an comprehensive quoting system that allows you to run multiple plan quotes and compare up to three products from several carriers at one time. It displays plan ratings, types, any associated costs, and plan enrollment statistics. These state-of-the-art features make it one of the best Medicare quote engines for insurance agents out there today! Most importantly, you can be confident that the quotes you are generating from the MQE are accurate because the data on the quote engine comes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and a private actuarial database.
You can be confident that the quotes you are generating from the MQE are accurate because the data on the quote engine comes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and a private actuarial database.
Quotes for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD), Medicare Supplement, prescription drug, and final expense plans are all based on a client’s age, zip code, county, gender, and marital status. So, not only is the data within the MQE current, but you can also tailor each quote to a specific client. Now, that’s pretty accurate!
Drug Cost Estimator
The Drug Cost Estimator is a recent addition to the Ritter Platform. Since it’s integrated with Medicareful, this tool works in conjunction with the Shared Client Records. You can use the information entered into a client’s Medicareful account to estimate how much their prescription drugs would cost them in each of the Medicare plans available to them. This means, like with the MQE, you can tailor drug estimates to specific clients, making this a great Medicare budgeting tool for your appointments!
All available plans in the client’s zip code will appear for comparison, with their plan name, premium, deductible, total estimate plus retail cost, and more showing on the page. With that information, you can accurately provide plan recommendations to help your clients make informed decisions and choose the best plans for them.
Explain Expected Medicare Plan Expenses
Within Medicare coverage, there’s the premium, deductible, maximum-out-of-pocket (MOOP) and more to understand. Each plan’s coverage rules and figures for these expenses are different, not to mention the complexities that come with in-network versus out-of-network details and costs. It’s important to take the time with your client to explain what their plan(s) will cover and what they will be expected to pay. There is nothing worse than getting a medical bill for an expense you didn’t know you were responsible for.
Medicareful Living Blog
There are helpful resources out there to aid you in explaining your client’s plan to them. You certainly know what you’re talking about because this is your industry and you deal with these terms and their meanings every day; however, your clients may not even know some basic plan terms. One of these resources to help you explain coverage is Medicareful Living. This is an excellent consumer blog featuring both fun and informative content that your clients will enjoy. The Medicare tab of the blog is where you can direct your clients to read about what types of health care services Medicare covers, understanding their Medicare Advantage MOOP and Medicare Explanation of Benefits, and more. Your clients can review these articles with you or on their own time, and there are non-Medicare related pieces they can enjoy for fun, too!
Learn how to share posts with your unique Medicare URL included in our Medicareful User Guide on Ritter Docs.
Keep a Diverse Medicare Portfolio
It’s important that you offer different Medicare plans from a variety of carriers to keep your portfolio equipped to meet the needs of clients with different budgets. Take a look at your market area and see which plans and carriers are competitive. Carriers with plans that offer financially helpful benefits, like the Medicare Part B premium giveback, are definitely ones to consider adding to your selling options. In addition, $0-premium Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and certain Medicare Supplement plans are also great options you can offer clients with budget concerns.
It’s important that you offer different Medicare plans from a variety of carriers to keep your portfolio equipped to meet the needs of clients with different budgets.
You also have the option of adding ancillary products to your selling options, such as dental, vision, and hearing or hospital indemnity insurance. Cross-selling ancillary products is a beneficial sales strategy because clients will appreciate that you can help them get even more affordable coverage. You’ll help them secure a unique health care coverage formation that will be specific to their needs, help shield them from high medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses, and not to mention, you can also earn some extra commission!
Don’t let contracting and MAPD certifications stop you from adding to your portfolio. Field marketing organizations (FMOs), like Ritter, are available to provide assistance and resources, like prefilled contracting and carrier information pages, to make those tasks easier. If you aren’t partnered with an FMO, Ritter is here for you! All you need to do to join Ritter is complete a free registration with RitterIM.com. Your clients will appreciate having options to choose from that can meet all of their needs and align with their budget.
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We hope these tips will be helpful as you are meeting clients with different budgets. Finances can be a sensitive topic, but follow these tips and you’ll be prepared to tackle it professionally and help your clients make the best decision when choosing a Medicare plan.