Senior Resources

What Are the Medicare Marketing Guidelines’ Social Media Do’s & Don’ts?

The senior market is growing in number and in the use of social media. Sixty-two percent of Americans 65 and older use Facebook, according to a Pew Research study. As an agent, what you post and how you connect with seniors through social media...
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What Are CMS’ Guidelines for One-on-One Appointments?

CMS has guidelines for almost every Medicare interaction you may have in your professional career. That includes one-on-one appointments. Excelsior has broken down the one-on-one appointment guidelines (MCMG, Sections 40.7, 50.3, and 110.2) into three basic rules: Follow the Scope of Appointment (SOA). Don’t market...
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When and How to Use Medicare Disclaimers on Marketing Materials

Agents should keep disclaimers in mind when creating marketing materials. Generally, most agents and brokers do not create their own marketing materials, relying instead on their plan sponsor’s point-and-click materials. But, say you want to create your own to advertise a sales event or...
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New 2019 Medicare Marketing Guidelines for Brokers

CMS has made some big changes to the 2019 Medicare Marketing Guidelines. The rules, now called the Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines (MCMGs), appear in a vastly new format. Excelsior has created the definitive guide for what brokers and agents need to know when...
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When Can I Start Selling for AEP?

Now that all of your marketing materials have been created and approved, you might want to move forward with your next marketing campaign. But don’t jump the gun. You can’t start marketing until this CMS-approved date. When Can I Start Marketing for the Annual...
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7 Ways to Get More ROI on Your Medicare Leads for AEP

Get More With Excelsior’s Lead Program Marketing for the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is more than just getting Medicare leads. You need to leverage technology that can help you maximize your return on investment (ROI) during AEP. Excelsior can give you access to high-converting...
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How to Follow CMS Rules at Educational Events for Enrollees

Medicare educational events are an excellent way to gain the trust, and referral information, of enrollees in attendance. But before you host, present at, or attend an educational event for enrollees, there are some CMS guidelines (Medicare Communication & Marketing Guidelines, Section 50.1) you...
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How to Advertise Educational Events to Enrollees

Before you put together an educational event for your current Medicare enrollees, you need to know how you can advertise it. Excelsior explains how agents can compliantly advertise educational events to existing enrollees (MMG, Section 50.1). Advertise the Event as Educational When advertising for...
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When Can I Market the 5-Star SEP for the Upcoming Year?

If your clients have a 5-star Medicare Part D Plan or 5-star Medicare Advantage Plan in their service area, it’s a great value. But brokers need to ensure that the rating carries over into the next plan year before marketing it for the 5-star...
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Marketing Medicare to Unsolicited Contacts

Being a successful Medicare broker means being able to grow your business. But you need to be careful about how you attract new clients. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has set some strict guidelines on how you can market directly to unsolicited...
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What Are the Do’s and Don’ts for Event-Specific Contact?

The Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) provided by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a plethora of rules for brokers and insurance companies to follow. In this article, we’re giving you the do’s and don’ts around event-specific contact (Section 40.2). What Is Event-Specific...
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Offering Gifts to Potential & Existing Medicare Enrollees

As a Medicare broker, you may want to conduct marketing events for current clients or potential enrollees that involve giving away gifts.  Offering gifts is acceptable, but you need to be mindful of a few rules to stay compliant while creating your incentive. Is...
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How Much Can Brokers Earn From Referral and Finder’s Fees?

Here’s what brokers need to know about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) guidelines on referral and finder’s fees (Medicare Marketing Guidelines, Section 110.6.3). What Is the Maximum Paid for Referral and Finder’s Fees? Carriers can pay brokers up to $100 for...
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How Much Can Brokers Make for Initial Enrollments and Renewals?

In the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Sections 110.6.1 and 110.6.2), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) details how brokers are allowed to be paid for initial and renewal enrollments. What Are the MMG Rules About Initial Compensation? After initially enrolling clients in Medicare products,...
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Do You Have to Stick to Your First SOA?

What is the one document that must accompany every Medicare appointment? A Scope of Appointment (SOA) form. Documenting an SOA is one thing, but continue reading to learn what the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Section 50.3) have to say about SOAs and appointment discussions. Stick...
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Can My Carrier Pay Me for This?

Within Section 110.6 of the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services dictates how carriers can compensate contracted agents and brokers. While this may not reflect how every carrier chooses to compensate, below are the items that can (and cannot) be...
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How to Prepare Your Clients for Medicare Carrier Plan Changes

In July, carriers usually release information about new Medicare Advantage and Part D plans for the next contract year to brokers and agents. But some carriers may be planning to drop coverage in certain markets, end contracts with certain providers, or leave the Medicare...
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Avoid the Fine Print and Stay CMS Compliant

In the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG), Section 40.2 is all about font sizes, when they must be adhered to, and when brokers have some wiggle room. No Fine Print, Please In order to comply with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines, all...
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All an Enrollee Needs Is an Enrollment Form, Right? Wrong.

CMS has rules about what materials are required to be included with an enrollment form (Medicare Marketing Guidelines, Section 30.6). We’ll explain more below. What Else Should Come With a Medicare Enrollment Form? When giving potential enrollees an enrollment form, brokers are required to...
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Initial Enrollment Compensation: Everything You Need to Know

The Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Sections 110.6.1 and 110.6.5) detail the scenarios in which brokers can receive full or prorated initial enrollment compensation. Here’s what brokers need to know about initial enrollment compensation. How Much Can Brokers Get Paid for Initial Medicare Enrollment in 2019?...
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Medicare Renewal Compensation: Everything You Need to Know

Figuring out how much you’ll make for each Medicare renewal requires some research (Medicare Communications & Marketing Guidelines, Section 110.6.2). Here is the information you need about renewal compensation below. What Is the Max Brokers Can Make From Medicare Renewals? The maximum a broker...
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What to Know About Medicare Walk-In Appointments & SOAs

Before you start helping an interested senior pick the best Medicare coverage for their needs, there is one form that must be filled out. The first step to any Medicare walk-in appointment must involve a documenting a Scope of Appointment (SOA) form, according to...
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Cross-Selling Insurance: Get the Most Out of Your Leads

Have you considered cross-selling insurance products? Learn what you need to get started. In this article, we discuss: How cross-selling insurance products can increase brokers’ revenue. How to add supplemental health insurance to product portfolios. How to create opportunities for cross-selling supplemental plans. How...
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Medicare Sales Event Advertising: What You Need to Know

Holding a Medicare sales event is a great way to educate current and potential enrollees about plan options that could meet their needs while soliciting enrollments for the plans you represent. But there are rules to consider when advertising for Medicare sales events. We’ve...
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Why Brokers Can’t Ever Charge Marketing Fees

As many seasoned brokers know, you cannot charge your current or potential enrollees for costs you incur for marketing carriers’ products. Here is what CMS’ Medicare Marketing Guidelines say about marketing fees. Marketing Fees Are Your Responsibility—Not Your Client’s As stated in the Medicare...
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Can I Cross-Sell Other Products During a Medicare Sale?

Marketing other products during a Medicare sale can be a smart way to increase your income, as long as it’s not breaking any CMS rules. Below, we explain what kind of products you can cross-sell during a Medicare sale and give a few examples...
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What to Include on Your Scope of Appointment Documentation

Documenting your Medicare Scope of Appointment (SOA) is a critical and necessary part of selling. Not only do you need your prospective enrollee’s agreement on the nature of the meeting, but there are also specific elements that need to be included in your documentation....
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4 Reasons for Selling Child Life Insurance

There are several good opportunities throughout the year to talk with your clients about the benefits of juvenile whole life insurance policies, and summer is one of them, considering about 81 percent of grandparents will have their grandchildren visit during these months. But you...
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What Disclaimers Should Brokers Put on Direct Mail and Email Messages?

Direct mail and email are two ways of reaching potential and current enrollees. But, before you send anything, make sure you have the proper CMS-required Medicare disclaimers on the message. These disclaimers ensure that you are following CMS’ guidelines and that beneficiaries can easily...
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How to Comply with Medicare Testimonial Rules

One of the strongest ways to show potential enrollees the benefits of a Medicare plan or product is through endorsements by the people who currently benefit from using it. Testimonials are allowed by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), but you must ensure...
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How to Get Opt-In Authorization for Nonhealth Information

Cross-selling other products such as life or final expense insurance to your existing Medicare clients is a great way for brokers to grow their business. But before you send any emails or brochures about nonhealth-related products or information to your current enrollees, make sure...
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What Is AHIP Medicare Training and What Does It Consist Of?

Most carriers require brokers to have an up-to-date America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) certification in order to sell Medicare Advantage plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). AHIP certification is necessary because these plans are administered by the government. Before you start AHIP Medicare...
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What Is AHIP Certification and How Can I Get Certified?

Around 19 million seniors and people with disabilities are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. These plans can be a big portion of your earning potential. However, in order to sell Medicare Advantage plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), you’ll have to get your...
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How Do Service Areas Affect Your Medicare Marketing?

Advertising for Medicare enrollment is a great way to get your name out to your community. It’s also a great way to increase your Medicare sales. As you may already know, brokers cannot start advertising for the upcoming Medicare enrollment period until October 1....
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Keep Your Medicare Materials Clear and True

Medicare marketing materials are a crucial part of selling, but remember that words matter. Brokers cannot distribute material that is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise makes misrepresentations, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Medicare Marketing Guidelines, Section 40.4. Follow these guidelines to...
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What Can I Call a Plan Sponsor That has Medicare Approval?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has strict rules that dictate what you can say about plan sponsors in your Medicare marketing materials. What Am I Allowed to Say About Plan Sponsors? Brokers are allowed to say that carriers, or plan sponsors,...
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Do You Need an SOA for Marketing Events?

You need documented Scope of Appointment (SOA) forms for one-on-one appointments, but what about for marketing and sales events? Before you set up that booth or kiosk at a community health fair, know what the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Section 70.4.3) say about SOAs at...
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CSRs and Brokers: You Can Only Be One

Brokers and customer service representatives (CSRs) often fulfill the same duties. Both roles communicate plan information, provide requested plan materials, and take demographic information to complete enrollment. However, broker and CSR positions are not, and cannot be, the same thing. But brokers can hire...
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How to Navigate Electronic Communication for Medicare

The Medicare Marketing Guidelines update every year. As of 2018, here’s what the MMG says about electronic communication (Sections 70.1, 30.6, and 40.9). Brokers Can Now Initiate Electronic Contact Brokers may initiate electronic contact, according to the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Section 70.1). For example,...
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Do Brokers Always Have to Include a TTY Number on Marketing Materials?

TTY, or teletypewriter, numbers allow those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech impairments to communicate. The Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Section 40.7) outline when these numbers must appear on Medicare marketing materials. When Should TTY Numbers Appear on Marketing Materials? Any time...
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For Medicare Marketing, These Two Things Are Always Together

Hours and days of operation must accompany customer service phone numbers on Medicare marketing materials, per the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Section 40.6). Brokers Must Include This With a Customer Service Number Customer service numbers and hours of operation should always be seen together. When...
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How Brokers Can Help Protect Clients from Medicare ID Card Fraud

A recent AARP research study had some unsettling findings about seniors’ awareness of the new Medicare ID cards, which makes them highly vulnerable to Medicare ID card fraud. The survey of people 65 and over showed that: 76 percent were not aware of the...
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MA Plans to Cover More Services in 2019

This upcoming plan year will give your clients even more reasons to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will expand covered products and services. Beginning in 2019, Medicare Advantage plans will have more “primarily health related”...
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How Should I Place Plan Names on my Medicare Marketing Materials?

If you are planning to include plan names in your Medicare marketing materials, there are rules from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) you’ll have to follow. What Are CMS’ Rules for Plan Names on Medicare Marketing Materials? While CMS has a...
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Are Your Client Reward and Incentive Programs Compliant?

Reward and incentive (RI) programs can only be offered to current enrollees. However, that doesn’t mean these programs cannot be introduced to potential enrollees. Learn how to market these programs and comply with the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Section 110.2). You Can Market to Potential...
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Can I Put a Phone Number on Medicare Marketing Materials?

There is one easy-to-follow rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for including your phone number on Medicare marketing materials. Can a Broker Include a Contact Phone Number on Marketing Materials? Yes. You can include your phone number, according to CMS...
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The Essentials of Selling Special Needs Plans

The hardest part of selling special needs plans, or SNPs, is knowing the size of your market. Medicare Special Needs Plans are available to a larger population than you may think. More than 80 percent of seniors may qualify for SNP coverage, including those...
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How to Market Other Health-Related Lines of Business

Some Medicare recipients may benefit from other health-related products that are not available through the Medicare program. These products are not regulated under CMS and include Medicare Supplements (Medigap). Before you market and cross-sell other health-related plans, know CMS’ rules as outlined in the...
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The Basics of Selling Supplemental Health Insurance to Seniors

Selling supplemental health insurance to seniors is as rewarding as it is challenging because everyone’s healthcare needs are different. Working with the right insurance brokerage is important so you can leverage years of experience when planning how best to approach selling ancillary insurance products...
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How Do I Compliantly Market in a Healthcare Facility?

Before you set up your marketing booth in a healthcare facility or approach individuals in healthcare settings to advertise Medicare plans, know the rules (Section 70.5). Can I Conduct Marketing Activities in Any Healthcare Facility? No. You can only conduct marketing activities in provider...
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What Are CMS’ Rules for Marketing Multiple Lines of Business?

Representing multiple lines of business can help brokers increase their revenue. If you are one of the many brokers selling supplemental products in addition to Medicare, make sure you are following this guideline when advertising your services. Keep Materials Clear and Concise Advertising a...
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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...
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How to Provide Nonhealth-Related Information to Medicare Enrollees

During the Medicare enrollment process, beneficiaries may have other, nonhealth-related questions that apply to their stage in life—but not directly to Medicare. The beneficiary may ask questions such as, “Do I qualify for adult daycare?” or “Do you know of any good assisted living...
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What Are the Limitations When Marketing 5-Star SEPs?

Medicare plans with a 5-star rating are excellent health plans for seniors. But CMS has rules on how you can market 5-star Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) to Medicare enrollees. Medicare health and drug plans are evaluated every year. Ratings are announced in the fall...
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Polish Up on Selling Dental Insurance to Seniors

Are You Selling Dental Insurance to Seniors? Selling dental insurance to seniors is a great way to grow your income. More and more people are aging into the senior market every day, and most people lose their dental benefits when they retire. In fact,...
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What Happens If I Misuse the Medicare Name or Marks?

The Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) notes a United States Code (U.S.C.) that prohibits the misuse of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program name and marks. The MMG, in Section 150.4, also describes what could be interpreted as misuse and the penalties associated with it....
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SEPs: What Your Clients Should Know

Can I Tell Enrollees That They Can Use an SEP to Switch Medicare Plans? No. Encouraging beneficiaries to enroll in a lower-rated plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) under the pretense that they can change to a higher-rated plan at a later...
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What You Need to Know About Mailings for Multiple Lines of Business

You may have a stack of brochures for the different health plans you represent that you want to send out to your Medicare prospects and beneficiaries. CMS’ guidelines differ for health-related lines of business and advertising multiple lines of business. So, before you get...
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Know Your Medicare Anti-Discrimination Guidelines

Maintaining high ethical standards and anti-discrimination policies are hallmarks of good business practices. Marketing Medicare services is no exception. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has created strict guidelines to ensure that brokers treat all beneficiaries equally. What Are All of the Medicare...
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What Are the Rules for Medicare Sales Events and Appointments?

Getting ready to host a sales event or simply schedule your next sales appointment? Before you send out your invitations and print those sign-in sheets, you’ll want to make sure you’re following the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines dictated in the...
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Hosting an Educational Event for Medicare?

The Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Section 50.1) dictate that educational events have to be in specific settings. We break down rules below. Where Can Brokers Host Educational Events? All educational events need to be held in a public venue. They cannot be held in someone’s...
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How to Promote Your Medicare Prize Drawing

Conducting a drawing or gift, when allowed under your state’s laws, is one way to attract attendees to a Medicare marketing event. When promoting your prize drawing in marketing material, make sure you include the proper written statement to avoid any confusion and to...
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How to Use Disclaimers for PFFS & MSA Plans

When creating marketing material for Medicare Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) and Medicare Savings Account (MSA) plans, CMS requires that you include specific disclaimers (MMG, Appendix 5). What Is the PFFS Plan Disclaimer? PFFS materials targeting potential enrollees must include the following: A Private Fee-for-Service plan...
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Telephone Enrollment Activities and How to Complete Them

Medicare beneficiaries may request to enroll in a plan over the phone when they make a call to you or during an outbound call from you. Depending on who initiated the call, your telephone enrollment activities are limited (MMG, Sections 80.2 and 80.3). There...
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How to Follow CMS Rules for Enrollee-Only Educational Events

Want to teach your current Medicare enrollees about next year’s plan offerings? You might consider hosting an enrollee-only educational event. But before you send out the invites, review these CMS guidelines (MMG, Sections 70.8 and 70.8.1) about what you can (and can’t) do during...
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Know Your I-SNP Marketing Requirements

Medicare Institutional Special Needs Plans (I-SNPs) are for Medicare Advantage-eligible enrollees who have had, or will need, at least 90 days in a long-term care (LTC) or skilled nursing facility (SNF), inpatient psychiatric facility, or an intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled. Brokers...
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When and How to Use Medicare SNP Disclaimers

Finding and helping people who are eligible for Medicare Special Needs Plans can be rewarding. But when creating material to recruit prospective clients, you need to include a disclaimer that makes it clear that these plans are created for people with specific conditions or...
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6 Tips to Increase Your Senior Market Sales Year-Round

So you just closed another AEP season. Are you thinking about what could have gone better? Or how you can enhance your senior insurance marketing to get better results selling Medicare year-round? We can help! With these six tips, you can grow your client...
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Why You Need a Disclaimer When Marketing Dual Special Needs Plans

Medicare Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) enrollees are eligible for the combined benefits of Medicare and Medicaid services. Brokers can reach out to prospects or clients who qualify for a D-SNP, but the marketing material must include a specific disclaimer. What Is the...
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When and How to Use NCQA SNP Approvals in Marketing Material

Every Medicare Special Needs Plan (SNP) is assessed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) based on detailed Model of Care (MOC) guidelines created by CMS. Depending on the score a plan receives, it is granted a one-, two-, or three-year approval. If...
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How Brokers Can Help Minnesota Medicare Cost Plan Enrollees

Medicare Cost Plan contracts will not be renewed in areas that have at least two competing Medicare Advantage plans that meet certain enrollment requirements. These plans will be discontinued at the end of 2018. In Minnesota, there are nearly 400,000 Medicare Cost Plan enrollees, which...
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Why Some Medicare Beneficiaries May Pay More With MACRA

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) changes the way Medicare calculates payment models and helps streamline systems. These changes affect many aspects of the Medicare system, including the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Since 2007, IRMAA has established that...
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What You Need to Know About MACRA

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, or MACRA, is impacting Medicare beneficiaries, doctors, and hospitals. Although MACRA has several components, the most important is its establishment of new ways to pay physicians who work with Medicare beneficiaries. Now is the time...
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How Insurance Agents Become Valuable to Caretakers

It slowly develops over time, and you don’t notice while it’s unfolding. But one day, you wake up and realize you have become the parent in the relationship with your mother or father. If you have a parent with a significant or chronic health...
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3 Principles for Success in Community-Based Medicare Marketing

Through our work with thousands of insurance agents, we’ve found that the most successful ones deploy a consistent community-based Medicare marketing strategy that fuels their growth and creates a pipeline of continuous prospects and referrals. There are three top principles of success that have...
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What You Should Know About Scope of Appointment

Throughout each Annual Enrollment Period, Scope of Appointment (SOA) forms are a must-have before your meetings with beneficiaries. Below, I’ve broken down a few frequently asked questions about SOA forms. Do I need to have an SOA for sales meetings that discuss plan benefits?...
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Excelsior Adds Michael Blea and Scott McMillan to Management Team

Michael Blea and Scott McMillan to lead National Provider Marketing and California Senior Markets Sales teams NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas – Excelsior Insurance Brokerage, Inc. (“Excelsior” or the “Company”) announced the appointment of Michael Blea as the Vice President of National Provider Marketing and...
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What Is a Plan Sponsor?

The term “plan sponsor” is used heavily in CMS guidelines that brokers must be familiar with. (Think: Medicare Marketing Guidelines.) If you’re not familiar with the term, you might be asking yourself, “Exactly what is a plan sponsor?” Don’t worry (or waste time digging...
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How to Become the Go-To Medicare Expert in Your Community

Reputation matters. When you come across a professional you trust, it’s a natural fit to recommend that person to friends and family. It could be the tax professional who has given effective advice throughout the years. Or maybe it’s the physician you trust without...
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Does Marketing Material I Create Need to Be Reviewed?

When you create your own marketing materials, like business cards, do they need to be submitted for review? It depends on what you’re including. In this article, we’ll explain what the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (sections 10, 30.3, 50.2, and 50.3) say about broker-created materials....
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How Do I Compliantly Ask for Medicare Referrals?

Getting referrals from current Medicare enrollees is a great way to grow your client base. But there are CMS guidelines (Medicare Marketing Guidelines section 30.8) you’ll have to follow when asking for referral information and when contacting those referrals. In this article, we’ll detail...
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What Are the Rules for Providing Food at Medicare Events?

Getting ready to host your next Medicare event? Before you call a caterer—or hit the grocery store—you’ll want to make sure you’re following the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) for providing food and beverages. And don’t worry: You don’t have to start sorting through the...
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Can I Use Superlatives When Marketing for Medicare?

The Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) has strict rules for what you can and cannot say about Medicare products and services. One such rule in the general marketing requirements (section 40.4) details the use of superlatives. In this article, we will define superlatives, break down...
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