5-minute Video about Veterans and Military Retirees Getting Medicare Advantage

This post, a video produced by UnitedHealthcare, is one of several posts on military veterans and military retirees and their retirement health plans: VA Health Benefits and Tricare For Life (TFL). Some of the information is specific to UnitedHealth, although a lot of it is generic and can be used if an agent is considering supplementing a veteran’s or a military retirees government-provided healthcare with plans from other carriers. The primary message is:

If You Aren’t Talking To Military Retirees or Veterans About Medicare, You Should!

In a nutshell, the message is twofold:  (1) you as an agent can enroll someone already getting VA Benefits into an MAPD, and s/he can use whichever benefit stream they desire at any time; (2) you as an agent can enroll someone with Tricare For Life (TFL) benefits into an MA-Only. In this case, there is a coordination of benefits between the MA-Only plan and Tricare, with the MA-Only plan being primary and TFL being secondary. (Although this video does not say so, you as an agent must ensure that the MA carrier is coordinating with Tricare). The video underscores the need for you as an agent to ask if the prospect/client is receiving health benefits from any other source in addition to VA or TFL. If yes, you need to do more work to ensure that you do not damage their benefits by enrolling them in an Advantage plan.

The reasons to enroll a veteran or military retiree are (1) go to a provider other than to a VA or on-base doctor, (2) avoid the prioritization and wait-times of the military benefits, (3) chiropractic benefits, (4) Silver Sneakers, (5) hearing-aid benefits, (6) house calls, (7) vision benefits. There may be more or fewer, depending on the MA plan that you enroll your clients in.

Watch this quick video – it will give you a brief preview to help you decide if selling these products makes sense for your consumers.  If you haven’t considered reaching out to military retirees or veterans, now is a perfect time to learn more.

Video describing Veterans and Military Retirees


Posted in Boomer Products, Business Development, Client Services, Government, Insurance, Medicare Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

A Success Story about a Customer Service Representative Shared by Stone-Hill Agents

Through Stone Hill, agents can employ a part-time customer service rep (CSR) for their Medicare clients. A CSR works for agents on an hourly basis for as many hours a week as they would like or can afford. The price is $18.75/hour (this covers their days off, their holidays, our training of them, as well as their wage). They can help you during AEP or during Lock-in. CSR’s when properly trained in Fraud, Waste, and Abuse and other Medicare topics can help you serve your clients better. CSR’s can help you reach out to your book of business, set appointments, investigate drug formularies and provider networks. If you are interested in such a service, give the Senior Department at Stone Hill a call.

By the way, we have discovered that CSR’s are good at supporting agents but should not be treated as agents. In other words, we have discovered that the first contact between a lead and an agent should be done by the agent and not by the CSR. This first contact is what sets a good agent apart from other agents and CSR’s. It is an agent’s competitive advantage.  If it is outsourced to a CSR, it usually leaves a bitter aftertaste. If it were not so, the CSR could easily become a competitor.

Here is the story in the agent’s words—mostly, with client names and town names changed:

Doug [A Stone-Hill employee],

I want to make you aware of the excellent customer service Terri [a Stone-Hill employee] has provided to John [XXX] in 2016, thus saving me his account for 2017.

I met w/ John and his ex, Jane, today.  On Feb 15 of this year [2016], he called me to get out of his Medicare Advantage plan and back onto original Medicare.  The issue was [his] difficulty getting into doctors he wanted to see in Tucson. You may recall he lives just north of Tucson … in southern Pinal County.  Tucson is in Pima County. UnitedHealthcare used to let [their clients] go back and forth on their HMO networks.  In 2016, they made Pima one network and Pinal another; so, you have to use their passport program to go back and forth now.  John had major issues doing this initially.  Terri spent many hours helping him figure it out and get the needed MRI, which was delayed by months due to the difficulty.  Since then, Terri has continued to help him and keep him happy.

Today he asked if he could still cancel and go back to original Medicare.  I said yes.  He thought about it and decided to stay where he is primarily because of Terri’s excellent customer service.

Mind you, Terri didn’t just save John as a client.  He lives in … a small town.  His ex, Jane, her friends Dave and Sally Smith, her friend Susan, and Susan’s brother and mother all also live in [the same small town] and are clients.  They are all aware of the mess and are all staying on their plan for next yr.  I also have Susan’s sister and brother-in-law in [another town] and Susan’s sister and brother-in-law in Tucson as clients.  So, a negative outcome could have impacted me not just for John, but for all 11 of them.

Thank you,

Nancy Ann Coon [A Stone-Hill Agent]
Posted in Business Development, Client Services, Medicare Tagged with: , ,

Medicare Announces 2017 Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles

Posted: 11 Nov 2016 06:52 AM PST

This year’s Social Security cost-of-living adjustment will increase Medicare costs for beneficiaries.

Part B

About 70% of Medicare beneficiaries will pay $109 for their 2017 Part B monthly premiums, a 3.9% increase compared to the past four years.

The remaining 30% not “held harmless” will have a monthly premium of $134 in 2017, up 10% from 2016.

As in years past, the Department of Health and Human Services mitigated extreme increases for those not “held harmless,” those people who do not receive Social Security benefits, those who enroll in Part B for the first time in 2017, those who are directly billed for their Part B premium, those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and have their premium paid by state Medicaid agencies, and those who pay an income-related premium.

The Part B deductible also increased 13% to $183 in 2017.

Part A

The 2017 Part A deductible of $1,316 is a $28 increase from last year.

According to CMS, beneficiaries must pay a coinsurance amount of $329 per day for the 61st through 90th day of hospitalization ($322 in 2016) in a benefit period and $658 per day for lifetime reserve days ($644 in in 2016). For beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities, the daily coinsurance for days 21 through 100 of extended care services in a benefit period will be $164.50 in 2017 ($161 in 2016).

Those that haven’t acquired premium-free Part A from 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment will pay $227 monthly for Part A coverage, a $1 increase from 2016.

Posted in Boomer Products, Insurance, Medicare, Training Tagged with:

“Tomb” it may concern…



Happy Halloween

Posted in Dental etc.

Protected: Generic SOA (Approved by CMS in 2016)

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Posted in Agent Only, Medicare Tagged with: , ,

Celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month with BEST Life and Health Group Dental



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Posted in Insurance

A Rant about the Pronunciation of a Single Term in Govt-Sponsored Healthcare

Americans have a reputation in some parts of the world for being lazy with their speech habits, although we like to consider ourselves coolly efficient and unwilling to put up with hoity-toity speech.  This cool efficiency means that we feel fine when we use the same pronunciation for different ideas; for example, the pronunciations of the words vane, vein, and vain. I do not feel too bad about those similar pronunciations since, at least, the American rules of spelling and pronunciation support their sounding the same. But there are two words that should not sound the same since they are spelled so differently:

Credible and Creditable

The spelling of the second word, creditable, the term that is important to government-sponsored healthcare regulation like Medicare, should not be pronounced as kre-duh-buhl, as if it were credible. Creditable‘s spelling indicates that it should have 4 syllables during pronunciation, not 3. I offer you this easy-to-say alternative pronunciation:  kruh-DIT-uh-buhl, the stress being on the second syllable. Saying it this way, your tongue does not trip; your lips do not suffer irreparable damage. Plus, such pronunciation involves an acceptable amount of cool American efficiency, an amount that we can be proud of.  You can tell that just the cool amount of efficiency is there from all the “uh’s” in the pronunciation. Best of all, such a pronunciation easily distinguishes it from credible.

Promote this pronunciation among your friends! I will be grateful that you did.

What do you think? Could we build a social movement around improving the pronunciation of a single word? (Everyone else in the country is building a social movement around a bunch of other trivial ideas, so why not us!)

By the way, this trivial opinion is just mine, not Stone Hill's.—Doug
Posted in Medicare, Personal Enrichment Tagged with: , , ,

Protected: 2017 MAPD Detailed Comparison for UT (provided by an agent)

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Posted in Agent Only, Boomer Products, Carriers, Medicare Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Best Life and Health New Broker Cash Program and Mid-Month Effective Dates



Posted in Insurance

Make sure your social media outreach complies with Medicare’s Marketing Guidelines

September 10, 2015 | by Justin Bever

[small revisions done on the original article]

Since I last wrote about making sure your custom Medicare marketing website is compliant, CMS and individual carriers have drastically increased their oversight for agents’ websites and use of social media. Many carriers now require agents to submit all of their website content for approval and ask questions about how we as agents are using social media to communicate with our clients.

CMS launched an official Facebook page for Medicare recently, which might be what spurred several carriers to send mandatory surveys to agents (You can view it by clicking here). Agents are required to complete these surveys, which go over what kind of communications we use to generate new business, if at all. They cover use of social media as well as online Lead generation services.

This scope of the Medicare Marketing Guidelines extends to all electronic communications, including websites, email and social media. As agents we need to be diligent about how we use social media and other online media to generate new opportunities. After all, we always need to be in compliance with the Medicare Marketing Guidelines if we want to continue selling.

Here are three easy tips to follow for using social media compliantly.

Do not engage in unsolicited contact. The Medicare Marketing Guidelines prevent agents from making unsolicited contact to a Medicare beneficiary for the purposes of enrolling them into a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan. This extends to social media and should be considered prior to reaching out to beneficiaries on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any other social media website. Unless you were contacted first, do not send private messages or leave comments for beneficiaries advertising your service — CMS can consider these actions to be unsolicited contact. Don’t let a Facebook private message be your downfall!

Don’t make false statements or claims. While this tip seems pretty common sense, social media is often full of exaggeration and partisan information. Your opinions are important, but remember as a senior insurance advisor, anything you post could be reviewed by CMS for compliance if it ultimately led you to a sale.

Make sure your profiles are set to private. Social media is the ultimate public forum. Agents may sometimes get requests from beneficiaries through a public forum like Twitter or a from Facebook comment asking for help. Always direct beneficiaries to a private form of communication prior to discussing their unique situation, even if they have already shared part of their story on the public page.

Here’s the reason why: As covered entities under HIPPA, agents are required to make every effort to protect a member or prospective member’s Personal or Protected Health Information.

While this is not an exhaustive list, these three rules can help you remain compliant when using social media or other digital media to communicate with your clients or prospects.

Posted in Boomer Products, Business Development, Medicare, Sales & Marketing, Technology Tagged with: