2018 Open Enrollment: Shortened Window!

Open Enrollment

Did you know? There is a significant change coming our way this 2018 Open Enrollment.

The 2018 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017 (Healthcare.gov). That is 6 weeks LESS than the 2017 Open Enrollment Period which ran from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017. In other words, your time to enroll consumers in a health plan went from 3 months down to just 45 days.

Why this change from CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)? CMS explains this final rule, known as the “Market Stabilization” rule, should help lower premiums, stabilize individual and small group markets, and increase choices for Americans in the 2018 health insurance market. Additionally, the adjusted dates will better align with Medicare and the private market, encouraging individuals to enroll in coverage prior to the beginning of the year.

ThinkAdvisor.com even notes how CMS officials believe the shorter 2018 enrollment period and tighter SEP eligibility verification rules will improve the quality of the risk pool and help persuade insurers to stay in the individual market.

So how does this increase choices for your clients? For one, the adjusted time will allow issuers additional actuarial value flexibility to develop more choices with lower premium options for consumers, and to continue offering existing plans.

How do you plan on tackling the new open enrollment period? What is your strategy for success? Let us know! Shoot us an email at bizdev@gohealth.com to start the conversation and set up a time to discuss how we can work together this 2018 open enrollment period.

Filed under: News

Fixed Indemnity: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

fixed indemnity

It’s no secret to agents and brokers that there’s a high level of uncertainty when it comes to the individual health market. It is not uncommon for agents and brokers to approach the individual health insurance market with caution as details surrounding the future of the ACA unfold.

Due to this uncertainty, agents and brokers who primarily write major medical plans may find themselves exploring alternative or additional products to offer clients. According to ThinkAdvisor.com, changes to the ACA may result in altered or lessened restrictions for things like supplemental health products. Additionally, if the federal government decides to discontinue mandating that individuals obtain health coverage, employers may consider dropping their major medical coverage, allowing supplemental health benefits to then fill the gaps left in major medical coverage. So, what would this change mean to agents and brokers? What should you do while waiting for the final decision on health care bills?

It helps to first understand your options and do your research on supplemental health products. One product in particular we recommend you learn more about? Fixed indemnity products.

BenefitsPro defines fixed indemnity products as supplemental health insurance products with pre-determined lump sums to pay for certain medical expenses, regardless of how much the provider charges.

Because the benefit is preset and paid out regardless of what the total bill for the qualified service might be, it may also be called “fixed benefit insurance” or “fee for service insurance,” as pointed out by UHC (UnitedHealthcare). Given that all health insurance plans have out-of-pocket costs, (i.e. deductibles, coinsurance, or copays), the consumer can utilize their fixed indemnity plan that pays a predetermined amount of money for any qualified medical services.

While fixed benefit insurance pays a certain amount per covered service, it’s important to remember that the benefits provided are limited. Here are a few things it does not cover:

  • It is not major medical insurance.
  • It does not provide the mandated coverage necessary to avoid penalty under the ACA.
  • It does not provide coverage from expenses resulting from any preexisting medical conditions.

Why does GoHealth suggest you consider a fixed indemnity product? A few reasons:

  • Something is better than nothing: ACA instability, the lack of carriers, and the new Short Term limitations imposed on April 1st, 2017 have left few options for consumers to purchase. Fixed benefits are making a strong push into the individual market, and in some cases, may be the only thing available to provide coverage to consumers if they don’t qualify for a SEP (special enrollment period).
  • Affordability: Fixed benefit plans are a more financially beneficial option in some cases (even when factoring in a potential tax penalty), and as we all know, the number one thing on consumers’ minds when purchasing insurance is cost!
  • Access to healthcare network: Everyone wants to be first in line and no one wants to wait. Have you ever been to the ER without insurance? Not only will costs skyrocket without any type of insurance (no network discounts), but you will be deprioritized based on the fact that you don’t have insurance. Hospitals and doctors know what they will be paid if a consumer has an insurance card, while it’s a more of a gamble if they don’t. Fixed benefit plans give you the access you need to ensure health services within a timely manner.
  • Simplicity: Fixed benefit plans are laid out very simply compared to a standard major medical policy with deductibles and coinsurance. If you go to the doctor, the plan pays $X if you get hospitalized, and the plan pays $Y for each day. It is very easy for a consumer to grasp how the plan works!

Are you interested in offering fixed indemnity products? Or perhaps want to learn more about how these products can benefit your clients while also expanding your portfolio? GoHealth is happy to answer your questions! Email bizdev@gohealth.com today to learn more.

Filed under: News

ACA Challenges & Our Advice to Agents

As a leader in the industry since being founded in 2001, GoHealth knows a thing or two about the ups and downs of the insurance industry. This year is no different; we’ve seen significant industry changes and ACA challenges, from rising premiums to declining sales commissions.

We recognize that these changes present unique challenges to agents. But fear not! We have advice on how to take these so-called challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth.

GoHealth’s Advice to Agents

Target Carriers and States with High Commission.

  • Examples: Anthem, Molina, HCSC

Expected commissions from each of these carriers are in line with previous commissions or are higher than previous years due to the increase in premiums. In addition, by adding each of these carriers you are immediately equipped to sell in over 20 states!

Target Areas with Low Competition.

  • Examples: Illinois, Florida, Oklahoma

Oklahoma only has a single carrier (HCSC), Illinois has traditionally been a state dominated by HCSC based on networks, and Molina is the lowest priced silver plan in Florida, a market with less competition than usual!

Cross Sell! Cross Sell! Cross Sell!

Our suggestion? Consider selling ancillary products, such as SecureAssist!

SecureAssist products lowers consumers’ costs, alleviating the burden of paying their entire deductible out-of-pocket. They’ll receive critical illness protection and a cash benefit if they incur a medical expense, saving them from out-of-pocket expenses!

In addition, consumers will have 24/7 access to doctors via phone or online chat, a personal healthcare concierge team, an extensive discount network for prescription medications and dental/vision services, and identity theft recovery services.

Major Changes Are Coming: Get Ready for Brokers to Serve a Greater Purpose in Coming Years.

All indications show that insurers are beginning to find ways to become profitable during OEP. We expect that trend to continue, which will create more need for brokers.

Save Money on Enrollment Solutions. Sell More Efficiently without Breaking the Bank!

Email sales@gohealth.com now to sign up with our new low rate!

Filed under: News

AEP Reminders & How to Take Advantage of This Short Window

October 15, 2016.

This marked the start of the Annual Election Period, and when agents could start selling over-65 health insurance plans. Have you hit the ground running?

If you haven’t, there’s still time—but you must act fast. While the Annual Election Period window is short (October 15 – December 7, 2016), it presents a significant opportunity to write a lot of business!

As a reminder, here are 3 reasons why you should sell Medicare this Annual Election Period:

  1. Longer policy duration than under-65 plans
  2. Higher lifetime value and worth 7 x’s more (on average) than a major medical policy
  3. According to CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid increased to 119 million in 2014, and it could rise again to 150 million in 2025.

Help Aging Seniors Get the Coverage They Need1.

While individuals are not required to re-enroll in Medicare each year, Agents can review, change, and expand plans if needed. Once individuals have Medicare Parts A & B, you can begin explaining Medicare coverage options and guide them through the enrollment process to help them find the coverage that’s right for their unique needs.

During This Time Period, You Can Assist Consumers with the Following1:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Change Medicare Advantage plans
  • Find a new Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug plan
  • Switch from one Prescription Drug plan to another

REMEMBER! You must complete your AHIP Certification before you can sell.

GoHealth Has the Solutions You Need to Hit the Ground Running This AEP.

  1. Certification Guides
    • AHIP and carrier-specific guides to aid in navigating seemingly complicated certification processes
  2. Compliance Resources/Job Aids
    • Guides and trainers available to teach agents the CMS-compliant processes for meeting with consumers, presenting their options and facilitating their enrollments
  3. Lead Sourcing Expertise
    • Industry-leading knowledge in senior-lead sourcing options

Contact GoHealth today to get moving!

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

Sources: 1. “When Can I Join a Health or Drug Plan?” Medicare.gov: The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

Filed under: News

The Annual Election Period Is Almost Here!

The Medicare Annual Election Period is upon us! Are you prepared?

For your over-65 consumers, the annual election period is critical for reviewing and changing plans.

For agents, the annual election period is crucial for maintaining your book of business and increasing your income! Medicare products offer a higher lifetime value, a longer payback period than under-65 plans, and are worth 7x’s more (on average) than a major medical policy.

Curious about the future of Medicare enrollments? According to CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid increased to 119 million in 2014, and it could rise again to 150 million in 2025. This, and the fact that Medicare is by far and wide a more stable market than under-65 right now, should be all the reason you need to get involved.

For a successful AEP, be sure to review the important dates and reminders below!

Annual Election Period

Ready to take on this Annual Election Period? Contact GoHealth to get started (before it’s too late)!

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

Filed under: News

Open Enrollment for 2017 Health Insurance: Dates & Reminders

The Open Enrollment Period for 2017 health insurance coverage is fast approaching.

Do you know when Open Enrollment begins and when it ends?

Here are a few important dates and reminders you should know:

Open Enrollment Dates and Reminders

For a successful Open Enrollment Period, you should schedule a free demo of the GoHealth Marketplace (our user-friendly shopping and enrollment technology), consider purchasing health and senior insurance leads (delivered right to you), and subscribe to our newly renovated agent newsletter, the GoHealth Industry Insider (delivering the latest news and trends, announcements, technology updates, and more)!

Filed under: News

Open Enrollment for 2017 Health Insurance: Dates & Reminders

The Open Enrollment Period for 2017 health insurance coverage is fast approaching.

Do you know when Open Enrollment begins and when it ends?

Here are a few important dates and reminders you should know:

Open Enrollment Dates and Reminders

For a successful Open Enrollment Period, you should schedule a free demo of the GoHealth Marketplace (our user-friendly shopping and enrollment technology), consider purchasing health and senior insurance leads (delivered right to you), and subscribe to our newly renovated agent newsletter, the GoHealth Industry Insider (delivering the latest news and trends, announcements, technology updates, and more)!

Filed under: News

What a Medicare Policy Is Really Worth

Today, there is an urgency and need for agents to write Medicare policies. What’s more is that the value agents can earn writing a Medicare policy is greater than writing an under-65 policy. How much more, you ask?

A Medicare policy is worth on average 7x’s the major medical policy and can last up to 6–10 years.

Medicare products offer higher lifetime value with a longer payback period than under-65 plans

Medicare Policy Value

A More Stable Market

Additionally, Medicare is by far and wide a more stable market than under-65. Just look at Aetna’s recent announcement about 2017, and how they will be in just 242 counties (down from 778) and remain on-exchange in just four states: Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska, and Virginia.

Worried about potential roadblocks in Medicare? Don’t be. We know how you can overcome 3 roadblocks which agents have indicated has slowed them from moving into this space.

Non-Medicare producing agents indicate these three factors as the source of their hesitancy:

  1. Cumbersome certification processes
  2. Concerns over compliance regulations
  3. Lead sourcing opportunities and costs

Fortunately, GoHealth has the solutions to ease your transition:

  1. Certification Guides
    1. AHIP and carrier-specific guides to aid in navigating seemingly complicated certification processes
  2. Compliance Resources/Job Aids
    1. Guides and trainers available to teach agents the CMS-compliant processes for meeting with consumers, presenting their options and facilitating their enrollments
  3. Lead Sourcing Expertise
    1. Industry-leading knowledge in senior-lead sourcing options

Ready to overcome these roadblocks and increase the value of your policies? Contact GoHealth to get started today.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

Filed under: News

What’s The Value of a Health Insurance Agent Today?

  • Before Open Enrollment.
  • Upon termination of a plan.
  • Amidst constant CMS and industry changes.

What do these unique situations all have in common? They are all times in which an experienced health insurance agent is needed by individuals. Agents can use these times to make an impact on individuals and provide value upon their plan selection.

The Overall Need

In addition to those situations, everyone in the United States today is now required to have health insurance. If they don’t, individuals will face a fine come tax time of 2.5% of income or $695 (whichever is higher, https://www.healthcare.gov/). This does two things:

  1. Motivates individuals to get insured
  2. Increases demand for professional guidance from an experienced health insurance agent, like you.

Industry Activity

Just take a look at the activity during last year’s open enrollment period:

Saving Clients Money

By helping your clients switch plans, you could be saving them an average of $42 per month in premium costs; equivalent to over $500 in annual savings. (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Make an Impact

Be the health insurance agent to make that impact! Contact GoHealth to learn how you can provide the best service to your clients today, or check out our industry leading technology and lead offerings: GoHealth Marketplace (our user-friendly shopping and enrollment technology), GoHealth BrokerOffice (lead management tool for health insurance agents), and health and senior insurance leads (delivered right to you).

Filed under: News

Important Dates & Deadlines for Agents

Save the important date(s) for agent success!

important dates

Carrier Appointments:

  • Thursday, September 1st
    • This is a suggested date, as Carriers become heavily congested after September 1st
    • Agents need to have completed appointments/certifications and training to ensure agent-readiness for AEP/OEP

FFM Certification:

  • If you’re selling for 2017, you need to get certified or re-certify for the 2017 Open Enrollment Period. Contact GoHealth or your Account Manager for guidance or access to our FFM Certification guide

Medicare Annual Election Period:

  • Saturday, October 15th

Open Enrollment Period (OEP):

  • Tuesday, November 1st

Our goal is to keep you updated with important dates & deadlines, industry changes, technology updates, and more. To make sure you’re always in the know, we recommend that you subscribe to the GoHealth Industry Insider; your all-in-one resource for success!

Filed under: News