The Dirty Secrets of Medicare Part D.
Selling a Medicare Part D stand alone drug plan is creating a lead for that carrier’s internal sales team. Their goal is to convert your Part D members into Medicare Advantage members. So how does an agent sell PDP knowing that they are competing with the carrier? Sell smart and be defensive. Warn your clients that this will happen! Prepare them for the phone solicitation, direct mail piece and door to knock (it isn’t a cold call since the carrier has a relationship with the member).
Your Sales Become Leads.
One of our friendly FMO competitors received thousands of “leads” from a carrier every year. He then gives the “leads” to his captive agents. These “leads” are the PDP members of that company. Yes, that is legal. It is ethical? Not really. The insurance company tells us they are our partners, but this doesn’t feel like how a partner should treat us. Full disclosure would be nice. At least agents would know this is happening. Will agents still sell PDP? Most will, not because they approve of what the carrier does with the Part D client we bring them, but because agents want to do what is right by the client.
There is nothing an agent can do to prevent this.
Agents call into our office very upset when their clients get called by the insurance company and urged to move away from the agent. “I’ll never sell for INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE again!” But this isn’t an option, as almost every Part D company will do this.
We used to really love one of the nation’s largest PDP carriers as they only sold PDP, therefore, it was a “safe” Part D sale. That changed recently when they purchased a MAPD company. Are they doing this? I haven’t heard any agents complain, but the management at the companies tend to move around. Eventually what is successful for one carrier, will be adopted by them all.
Don’t blame them. Insurance companies are in business to make money. They make more money off of MAPD than they do stand alone PDP.
Prepare your clients for the sales pitch they will receive.
Remind them why you both came to the conclusion that a Medicare Supplement plan was a better fit than a MAPD.
Tell them not to be seduced by the low monthly premium, there is more to choosing a Medicare insurance plan than the monthly cost. Make them feel comfortable calling you!
This sounds easy but the Greatest Generation is polite and they often won’t call their agent because “they don’t want to bother you.” Give them permission to bother you. It might save them being pushed into a plan that won’t fit their lifestyle and may not include all their doctors.
Finally, if you really won’t sell Medicare Part D drug plans, you can refer them to us a gordonmarketing.com and we are licensed to write in all states. Many agents who don’t want to certify annually for some or all of the PDP plans in their state, refer their clients to us and receive the CMS allowed referral fee. You’ll know that we won’t try to move them into a MAPD plan, and will warn them about this tactic on the part of the carriers. Or you can refer your clients to find a PDP on their own using the Medicare Plan Finder.
Sylvia Gordon and her sister, Rebecca, run Gordon Marketing, one of the nation’s largest Medicare FMO/NMA offices. They have a team of over 100 that train and support independent insurance agents in all 50 states. You can find Sylvia’s weekly posts on LinkedIn and the sisters' Youtube channel posts 2 training videos each week. Contact Sylvia at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-388-8342.