Craft The Perfect Portfolio

Author: Chris Hagerstrom

I’m a firm believer that everyone needs a good shoe bench, after my wife convinced me that the messy pile of kicks on the floor mat was no longer acceptable.  We found one that fit our style, fit our budget and could hold all the shoes we had with our two little ones.  2 days later (thanks Amazon Prime) the box arrived and I was ready to tackle the assembly.  Judging by the amount of pieces and parts you would think I was in the process of creating an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower, but after 30 or so minutes of screwing-this and attaching-that voila, we had a shoe bench.

Now, what does this have to do with Medicare sales?  By all accounts a shoe bench is a far superior solution than that raggedy old mat we smothered in sneakers and flip-flops, but it took a combination of pieces and parts, and a little ingenuity to make it so.  The same goes for our client’s protection from the rising costs of healthcare; picking a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage is just the first part in crafting the perfect portfolio for our clients, one that fits their style, budget, and needs.  The extra parts come in the form of other products like hospital indemnity, cancer/heart attack/stroke, final expense, recovery care and dental/vision/hearing, just to name a few.

Hospital Indemnity

Perfect for: Medicare Advantage Clients

Medicare Advantage clients tend to be savvy when it comes to what they want out of their insurance coverage, are cost cautious, and are looking for the most for their money.  Knowing this, a $1,500+ copay for an inpatient hospital stay could be a hard pill to swallow.  Hospital Indemnity is designed to calm the nerves around the highest out-of-pocket exposure MA clients face by providing a cash benefit to help ease that burden, and do it all for an affordable premium.  Plus, with the ability to fine tune the indemnity plan’s coverage, you can create a truly personalized package of benefits when combined with a low to $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan, taking your sales process a step further than the one-size-fits-all approach.

Tip: When reviewing the Summary of Benefits of any MA plan, inform your client that they have the ability to reduce or eliminate their out-of-pocket costs.  You can do this with new prospects or as part of your mid-year review for current clients.

Cancer, Heart Attack & Stroke

Perfect for: All Clients

By comparison, Medicare’s coverage to cost is better, almost unbeatable at times, than traditional group or individual major medical.  But clients that are diagnosed with cancer or experience a heart attack or stroke are left with many out of pocket costs that even the best Medicare Supplements do not cover.  Furthermore, did you know that all Medicare Advantage plans, available from any carrier in any county in any state, will charge your client a 20% coinsurance for chemotherapy?  As cancer, heart attack and stroke top the charts for leading causes of death in America, we have the ability to protect our clients from the unexpected by offering them a tax-free lump-sum cash benefit to help pay for treatment, recovery, or to help leave a lasting legacy.

Tip: Any amount of cancer, heart attack and stroke coverage is better than having nothing planned.  To help Medicare Advantage clients calculate how much they’ll need, you can take their maximum-out-of-pocket (MOOP) and double it and go from there.  Cancer isn’t always diagnosed as the beginning of the year, and with most chemotherapy treatments ranging anywhere from 9 to 18 months, your clients can expect to hit their MOOP at least twice.

Final Expense

Perfect for: All Clients

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.  While the other products listed here are meant to protect our clients, final expense life insurance is designed to protect their family in their time of need.  With the average cost of a funeral service approaching $10,000 and more and more people passing away with unprotected mortgages, credit card and personal loan debt, the need for life insurance is rising.  The #1 purchasers of final expense are ages 55 and older, and from personal experience, we’ve started to see an uptick in quotes for clients that are age 70 and older.  Unlike cancer, heart attack and stroke, everyone’s life will come to an end, so this is a product you need to discuss with all of your clients.

Tip: If your clients don’t know you sell life insurance, they’ll never buy life insurance from you.  While we can’t talk about non-health related products during a Medicare appointment, you can revisit your client after at least 48 hours to discuss their final expense needs.  Before you follow up, run three final expense quotes for $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 in coverage, and use this as a 3-part offering.  Experience shows that clients are more likely to purchase a middle to high option choice compared to the lowest option as they do not perceive that to have as much value as the others.

Recovery Care

Perfect for: All Clients

According to the National Care Planning Council, the average stay in a nursing home for rehabilitation is 270 days.  As we all know, Medicare’s coverage runs out at 100 days and they only pay if a client has been admitted to a hospital as an inpatient for at least 3 days.  With more and more clients being held in outpatient status, many are left to cover the cost of their rehabilitation 100%.  Furthermore, for those who elect to receive their rehab at home, Medicare’s rules for home health care are very restrictive.  With recovery care plans, you can bypass Medicare’s red-tape and provide your client the ability to self-fund their care.  Recovery care plans are limited to a maximum benefit of 360 days, have a simple underwriting process, and can be built with no elimination period so benefits can start right away.

Tip: Utilize Genworth’s Cost of Care website to determine how much coverage a client will need for their specific area, including home health care, adult day care, assisted living and nursing homes.  Then, start your conversation off with a simple question like “How do you plan to pay for your recovery care?”.  Show them Medicare’s limited coverage using the Medicare & You Handbook or break open their Medicare Advantage summary of benefits to highlight the potential out-of-pocket exposure.

Dental, Vision & Hearing

Perfect for: All Clients

93% of Medicare beneficiaries claim dental coverage is a top priority compared with other non-covered services such as long-term care, vision and hearing.  Furthermore, one in five Medicare Advantage members indicated their dental coverage does not meet their needs.  Surprisingly, even with Medicare’s extremely limited benefits, 66.7% of the 65+ population has been to the dentist in the past 12 months, but who’s paying for all of this?  Dental, vision and hearing coverage may be the most requested benefit outside of finding a suitable Medicare health plan that our agents experience across the country, so it makes perfect sense to offer something to everybody. (Source: Oral Health America A State of Decay Vol. IV 2018)

Tip: Offer at least 2 dental programs in your portfolio, one that is network based and one that can be utilized at any dentist.  The network based plans will provide your clients the best premiums and biggest discounts off of the cost of service and the non-network plans will provide access to any dentist the client chooses if theirs isn’t in-network.

Whether it be building a shoe bench or creating the perfect portfolio of protection for our clients, always remember it takes more than one part to do the job.  Check out our Products Page to see all that we have to offer and reach out to our Marketing Team for more information and sales tips.  Your clients can all have their own perfectly crafted shoe bench.

Chris Hagerstrom is the Marketing Vice President at Jack Schroeder and Associates, LLC. Through years of experience he has become an expert with Medicare, Life Insurance, Annuities and Supplemental Health and how to successfully navigate the senior market.

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