For years my friend and industry star, Chris Westfall has been cold on MAPD. This year he told me he had finally changed his mind. For years, Mutual of Omaha has issued white papers on the negative side of MAPD, and this year they finally came around announced that they will enter the MAPD market for 2019. In other words, the stone-cold hold outs are now realizing that MAPD is often (not always) a good option for Seniors just in time for CMS to tilt the wheel in favor of MAPD and away from Med Supp. I’m not supportive of preferential treatment to MAPD, I do understand how the current administration could think that more MAPD = a savings for the federal government.
Too often I still hear Medicare Supplement agents announce that they ONLY sell MS because “It is better for the client.”
You can tell a true specialist in the Medicare market by his mix of business:
He he sells 100% of either MAPD or Med Supp chances are he isn’t a true specialist and he might not have his client’s best interests at heart.
- Some agents refuse to sell MAPD and PDP because they hate the annual certification.
- Some agents refuse to sell Med Supp becuse they have a much higher premium.
Both of these reasons point to a lazy or negligent agent. A true Medicare Specialist is able to sell both types of plans, knows when each type of plan will benefit the prospect and doesn’t bash the other type of plan in his self-interest.
Sure it hard or impossible to sell MAPD over the phone due to carrier telephone enrollment rules, so many call centers only sell Med Supp. They should still have a relationship with an agency who can sell MAPD when it is right for the client.
So why did I say the Feds love MAPD ?
Because this year they gave MAPD a huge leg up over Medicare Supplements by allowing new benefits only for MAPD and not making them available for Med Supps: Non Skilled Home Support or what we call, Home Health Care.
In addition, CMS allows MAPDs to offer tailored benefits to each member!!! If Erma needs an air conditioner in her hot and humid Mississippi home, the plan can pay for one. If Charles needs a wheel chair ramp, his MAPD plan can buy him one. These benefits don’t have to be offered to all members and can truly be personal. The Expanded Supplemental Benefits in Medicare Advantage ruling also provides for healthy meals and transportation to medical appointments.
Of course, it remains to be seen how the carriers will implement these new options–but the fact that CMS is only making them available on Medicare Advantage plans makes it clear that the Feds are favoring MAPD!