Being in the practice of selling insurance for over twenty-six years, I have learned a few things about maintaining a level of commitment and proactivity toward my clients. I have found that reaching out to my older clients and/or their loved ones without waiting for them to contact me is a very effective method of calming anxiety and allaying concerns and confusion about making decisions regarding Medicare.
Every year since the inception of the Medicare Part D drug program, I have taken this time of year to call all my senior clients to offer my time and expertise and answer any questions or get any additional information they might need. In this way, they can make the most knowledgeable choices for the following plan year.
Fall is the time for Medicare beneficiaries to explore their options regarding Part D prescription drug plans and Part C Medicare Advantage plans. The Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans started on October 15th and ends on December 7th, 2014. This means that Medicare beneficiaries have to analyze their options and make choices by December 7, 2014.
During the ACEP, often referred to as "open enrollment," Medicare beneficiaries who do not have a Part D plan can enroll in one, and those who do have Part D coverage can change plans. Beneficiaries can also return to traditional Medicare from a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, enroll in an MA plan, or change MA plans. Enrollment requests made during the ACEP will have an effective date of January 1 of the following year.
Beneficiaries will once again have an opportunity to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan during a special period beginning January 1 through February 14, 2015, known as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP).
This period allows beneficiaries to drop their Medicare Advantage plan, enroll in traditional Medicare, and pick up a Part D plan. The MADP does not allow beneficiaries to switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another. Beneficiaries who wish to change from one MA plan to another must do so during the ACEP between October 15, 2014 and December 7.
Contacting a client for a reason other than selling a new product is a great opportunity to promote the reality that we are not just peddlers of polices; instead, we are professionals providing valuable services that our clients should be able to trust and rely on in a more complete way.
By Lisa Horowitz, CLU, CHFC
Lisa Horowitz, CLU, ChFC, has had her own insurance practice for 26 years and specializes in various disciplines, including life insurance, LTCI, DI and Group/Employee benefit programs. She recently started Lifecycles: Resource Management for Lives in Transition, which offers a holistic approach to managing and coordinating the details surrounding difficult medical transitions.