Medicare Cost Plans Are Ending. Here’s How Brokers Can Benefit.


There are disruptions in Medicare Cost Plans in 12 states and the District of Columbia this year. Cost Plans won’t be renewed by CMS in counties that have at least two competing Medicare Advantage plans that meet certain enrollment requirements. As a result, up to 535,000 current enrollees nationally could be impacted for the upcoming 2019 AEP. This presents an excellent opportunity to not only help beneficiaries understand their new plan options, but to expand your footprint in these markets. Below are the regions with current Cost Plan enrollees.

Medicare Cost Plan Enrollment Estimates by State

2018 Medicare Cost Plan Enrollment Estimates
State Number of Enrollees
Minnesota 403,465
Maryland 43,378
Texas 28,607
Virginia 23,077
Colorado 17,865
Iowa 9,708
Washington, D.C. 6,133
Illinois 1,829
California 1,076
Arizona, Florida, Nebraska, and New York 593

What Medicare Cost Plan Elimination Means for Brokers

  1. Greater market share: The majority of the states that will be impacted by Medicare Cost Plan elimination have enrollees in the tens of thousands. To gain other coverage, many of these beneficiaries may choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan, as well as a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan or one provided through an Advantage plan. This offers a tremendous opportunity to write more Medicare business and expand your client base.
  2. Access to more regional and national carriers. Certain carriers are planning to enter or expand in the markets where Cost Plans are being discontinued. Excelsior provides you access to all the major national carriers—as well as targeted regional carriers—in the Medicare space to help expand your portfolio and your client options.
  3. Access to more carrier products through Excelsior. Not many brokers get the chance to have access to senior market products from all the leading carriers through a central source. This saves you time in being able to consolidate your business. Plus, you have more leverage to better compete, offer more plan options to meet your clients’ needs, and improve your cross-selling.

Minnesota Cost Plan Elimination Is a Huge Sales Opportunity for Brokers

As you’ve seen in the chart, the large majority of Medicare Cost Plan enrollees are in Minnesota. Because the Minnesota Medicare landscape has been dominated by Cost Plans, the market is ripe for carriers to offer alternative options, such as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans. For instance, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSMN), which traditionally sold Medicare Cost Plans prior to the 2018 plan year, now has two Medicare Advantage plans available in 55 counties. And Minneapolis-based Medica has expanded its portfolio with a new Medicare Supplement plan for Minnesota residents as of March 2018. Other major national carriers, including Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, are planning to expand in the Minnesota market in 2018 for the 2019 AEP.

What About Sales Opportunities for Cost Plan Elimination in Other States?

While Minnesota offers the greatest potential for increased Medicare sales, you still have a significant opportunity for growth in the other regions. Carriers such as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have expanded their 2018 Medicare offerings for several of the states where Medicare Cost Plans are being eliminated. So it’s likely that many carriers will continue to provide more options as the AEP season for 2019 coverage approaches. Some of the Medicare expansion this year includes Anthem in Virginia with 46 additional $0 premium Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in 34 counties, and Anthem in California with more MA options in six additional counties. In Nebraska—one of the states with the lowest Medicare Cost Plan enrollment—Mutual of Omaha is planning to offer MA plans for the first time starting with the 2019 AEP.

How Group Brokers Can Benefit from Medicare Cost Plans Going Away

Because Medicare Cost Plans are often sold through employer or union groups, organizations in affected markets will need the help of brokers to provide consultation and enrollment services for alternative Medicare options. In fact, some labor organizations in areas where Cost Plans are going away have already taken steps to contract with more Medicare Advantage carriers.

Let Excelsior Help You Maximize Sales Opportunities

When dealing with a major plan elimination, you want to work with a brokerage that has strong relationships with carriers and understands how your local market works. Our Regional Sales Directors are well-versed in the Medicare landscape, and they can help you successfully navigate carrier and plan changes. And with access to senior market products from all the major national carriers—as well as targeted regional carriers—you can take full advantage of the sales opportunities that Medicare Cost Plan elimination offers.

Preview the Free Cost Plan Playbook

Excelsior has created an exclusive Medicare Cost Plan Playbook that gives tips and tricks to make it easier to move your book of business. Click here to get a sneak peek of how to prepare for Medicare Cost Plan elimination.

Plus, we also host regular educational and networking events to give you the latest information on carrier products you can add to your portfolio and what’s happening in the senior market. Let us show you how we can help grow your business. Preview the Cost Plan Playbookregister for an event and join Excelsior to start earning more today!

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.


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References
http://www.startribune.com/few-changes-in-medicare-plans-for-2018-2019-is-another-story/451940593/ | https://www.bluecrossmn.com/healthy/public/personal/home/shopplans/shop-medicare/shop-medicare-advantage | https://www.medica.com/newsroom/newsroom-home/press-releases/press-releases/2018/03012018-medica-introduces-medicare-supplement-plans-for-minnesotans | https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171009005263/en/Anthem-Blue-Cross-California-Expands-Reach-0 | https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171003005248/en/Anthem-Blue-Cross-Blue-Shield-Wisconsin-Expands | http://www.omaha.com/money/mutual-of-omaha-plans-to-sell-medicare-advantage-health-plans/article_abdb2ae8-fbe4-11e7-b7c4-bb29f4f4e57e.html | https://medicare.com/about-medicare/medicare-cost-plan/ | http://etf.wi.gov/news/ht_20170525.htm

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