Three Reasons to Invest in the Open Enrollment Period

The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is back with some new rules. Starting January 1, 2019, Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollees have a one-time opportunity to switch their plan, similar to a grace period. This opportunity ends March 31. Both new MA enrollees and existing enrollees have the opportunity to switch plans. This is a new opportunity for MA plans to both win and lose enrollment! To make sure you are not on the losing enrollment side, here are a few ideas in which to invest resources and budget before the upcoming OEP.

Let Your Data Do the Talking

Recognize the power of the data available to you, and utilize that data to develop communications to new and existing enrollees, make organizational and/or operational changes to your operations, and allow this data to eventually feed into your product development process. Utilize leading indicators such as grievances, customer service complaints, rejected claims, and similar data to identify issues. Lagging indicators such as disenrollment surveys, especially if they are “real time,” provide valuable information. Continual analysis of both leading and lagging indicators can fix potential problems, identify members at greatest risk for disenrollment, and provide the basis of building an attrition model to predict members most likely to leave going forward.

 

Member Services and Communications need to be the Stars of OEP!

Member communication interactions (either verbal, written, or in person) could either break or win you the OEP. You still have time to review your welcome interactions with new members and your existing member communications and interactions with current members to ensure they are best in class. You may want to have member events this year so they understand the 2019 benefits – and if you have great news for them, you want to make sure they hear it. The goal is to ensure every new member knows what to do January 1 and to have multiple touches that educate, welcome, and engage members about their new MA plan. You do not want buyer’s remorse occurring at any point from the sale through the end of OEP. Existing members need to be educated about any changes in benefits, and if your data is talking to you, you will have a list of members who need “real” hands-on member service touch points. In addition, when was the last time you really looked at the communications going to your members? Are you communicating too much or not enough? Do the communications have the same tone and messaging throughout? Or are they just recycled from year to year? Has the Member Services team received training lately to make sure they are reinforcing the tone and messaging you want your members to hear and feel? Do they know the 2019 benefits and what benefits to make sure members know about? Do you listen to Member Services calls to ensure you are providing the member experience you portray in your advertising and communications?  Now is the time to reassess how you are communicating with your members and make certain you are maximizing your opportunity.

Marketing Cannot Be Forgotten

Health plans are unable to market the OEP opportunity but do have the ability to market the following:

  • Branding
  • New to Medicare
  • Education
  • Medicare Supplement

Although you may not have much of a budget for marketing during the first quarter, you can utilize it effectively. Make sure you are advertising in January and the last few weeks of March. If you have educational events, advertising them digitally or though radio will help bring additional awareness to what your organization does for its members. Most plans have a very robust “New to Medicare” budget already, but you may want to invest in some free-standing inserts in January or March and/or advertise on TV. Utilize branding during this time since it puts your brand in the market during the OEP. Whatever you have the resources to do, make sure you are strategic in your efforts to make it worthwhile.

It’s Not All about Winning Enrollment

At Gorman Health Group, we are hearing many clients talk about gaining enrollment during the OEP but not so much about the possibility of losing membership. Your goal should be to ensure you have everything in place for this OEP to make certain you are on the winning side of OEP and are not giving up your membership to another MA plan that made sure they strategically invested in this opportunity!

For more information about the OEP opportunity and ways you can set up your team for success, contact me at dhollie@ghgadvisors.com.

 

 

Resources:

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Taking Advantage of Reimbursement Increases & New Benefit Opportunities for MA?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided increases in reimbursement to plans, and Gorman Health Group believes this trend will continue for Medicare Advantage (MA) for the immediate future. So how are you taking advantage of this?

  1. Are you increasing your service area?
  2. Are you entering MA for the first time?
  3. Are you increasing your benefits and lowering premiums in existing plans?
  4. Are you introducing new products that will be more competitive in the market?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, the time to start planning for 2020 is now.

The Notice of Intent is due to CMS on November 12 of this year. You now have less than two months to ensure you have a clear strategy in place if you plan on increasing your service area or are entering MA for the first time. If you answered “yes” to either question #1 or #2, now is the time to do the following:

  • Market analysis of proposed new counties you are planning to enter
  • Three-year enrollment opportunity analysis
  • Development of a scorecard to understand which counties have the best opportunity
  • Feasibility study to provide guidance on how long it will take to be profitable

 

For existing plans that are not expanding their service area, now is the time to do the following:

  • Membership analysis by plan including:
    o Age
    o Geography
    o Length of time with plan
    o Chronic conditions and how they affect the MLR
    o Disenrollment findings
    o Plus other data based on the story it tells
  • Competitive product and benefit analysis utilizing 2019 plans and benefits
  • Market analysis

Now is the time to develop your strategy so by 1st quarter 2019 you are ready to start implementing your strategy for new plans and more competitive benefits for 2020. CMS have now given plans enormous leeway in developing benefits—now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity. Today, some benefits will need to have returns on investment, and others will need to be researched to find new vendors to actually provide the benefits. In addition, you need to ensure operational limitations are not hindering you from finding the right set of benefits for your plans.

If you need help, please don’t hesitate to contact me. We at Gorman Health Group are happy to assist in any way.

 

Resources:

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Webinar Recap: 2019 MCMG Highlights

Thank you to all who came to the GHG webinar regarding the 2019 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines (MCMG). We had a great attendance and are working to answer all of your questions and get a Q&A to all who attended plus the presentation! We wanted to take a minute to discuss a few items where GHG received a large number of questions: mailing statement disclaimers, Open Enrollment Period (OEP) beneficiary plan changes, and website review.

Mailing Statements

There are now only two mailing statements in Appendix 2 of the Disclaimers. The first is for Plan Information, and this is causing the most confusion. The disclaimer states the required text is “Important [Insert Plan Name] Information”. GHG interprets this to mean this disclaimer only needs to be on your member’s important plan information such as enrollment, benefit, operations, and other important plan information. GHG does not believe CMS intends advertising mailings to use this disclaimer as it would be confusing and misleading to prospects.

In addition, GHG contacted CMS about the requirement to insert the plan name since there was confusion about whether the plan needed to utilize the plan benefit package (PBP) plan name vs. the Medicare Advantage Organization (MAO) name and whether this was even necessary since the name of the plan is already on the envelope. GHG’s interpretation of CMS’ response is that as long as the name of the MAO is on the envelope and is recognizable to the member as their health plan, then inserting the plan name is not needed.

OEP

There was some confusion regarding the plan types a beneficiary can select during the OEP. A beneficiary is allowed a one-time change. The following chart describes the allowed changes:

  • Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MA-PD) to MA-PD
  • MA-PD to MA-only plan
  • MA-only to MA-PD plan
  • MA-only plan to MA-only plan
  • MA-PD to Original Medicare (with or without Part D)
  • MA-only plan to Original Medicare (with or without Part D)

Website = New Guidance From CMS That Will Make You Smile!

Those in Original Medicare or Original Medicare with Part D are not able to enroll in an MA-only or MA-PD plan. In addition, the OEP is not available for those enrolled in Medicare Savings Accounts, Cost plans, or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) plans.

On Friday, May 10, CMS released an email blast, “Updates to the Website Requirements in the Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines.” CMS is no longer requiring website marketing content to be submitted into the Health Plan Management System (HPMS) for a 45-day review. Plans can now submit their websites via HPMS as a Word document that contains a URL (sound familiar?). Screenshots, test sites, etc., are not needed. Plans are permitted to submit the website as File & Use – both their own and/or third party websites. This means all websites must be submitted five days before going live, so mark your calendar! In addition, CMS added guidance about the Material ID and websites. All website pages must have a Marketing ID, but the ID does not need to include “M” or “C.”

When making website updates, the plan must include the website’s URL in a Word document and include a summary of the changes. The updates may go live five days after HPMS submission. Plans do not need to take down their website while making updates, but make sure the changes do not go live until five days after the HPMS submission.

CMS has stated another version of the 2019 MCMG will be released before the end of the summer. I am hoping for more clarifications to occur. Let us know how we can help you!

 

 

Resources:

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Top 10 Changes – NEW Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines (MCMG)

Gorman Health Group will conduct a webinar on the new guidelines in the next couple of weeks, but we wanted to get this out right away as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has rewritten the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) for 2019. A lot of information is the same but just condensed – there are a lot changes! Here is the top 10 list of 2019 CMS MCMG changes:

  1. CMS has grouped activities and materials into Communications and Marketing that are distinguished based on intent and content. It will be important to understand the differences and educate your staff since interactions with beneficiaries can start out as a communication and end up as a marketing communication – with different compliance requirements.
  2. Plans/Sponsors may compare their plan to another plan/sponsor provided they can support the comparison through studies or statistical data and the comparisons are factually based. CMS does not provide any detail on the scope of studies or time periods required for statistical data, so proceed with caution if considering publishing plan comparisons.
  3. Plans cannot market during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) or engage or promote agent/broker activities to target the OEP as an additional marketing opportunity but can do the following:
    1. Market to beneficiaries who are new to Medicare, also known as “age-ins,” who have not yet made an enrollment decision
    2. 5-star plans can continue the Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
    3. Market to dual-eligible and low-income subsidy (LIS) beneficiaries
    4. Send marketing materials and have meetings with those who request the information/meeting, and provide OEP information via the call center
  4. CMS has provided detailed guidance on activities in the healthcare setting with an emphasis on differentiating between activities a provider (or pharmacist!) performs as a matter of a course of treatment versus activities a plan or provider performs aimed at influencing an enrollment decision. If you recall, this was one of the specific topics for consideration for which the agency sought feedback in its April 12, 2018, request for input on this guidance.
  5. There is a new Material ID process – plans must use a “C” for communication materials or “M” for marketing materials at the end of the Material ID. Here is an example: H1234_abc567_C.
  6. Documents such as the Summary of Benefits (SB), Evidence of Coverage (EOC), Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC), directories, and formularies need to be posted by October 15. CMS has listed each required document in a chart that describes to whom required, timing, method of delivery, Health Plan Management System (HPMS) timing, format, additional guidance, and translation requirements. This is very helpful.
  7. Plans no longer have to mail the EOC to existing enrollees, but the ANOC must be mailed. If a new member enrolling throughout the year (for example, for a June 1 effective date) requests hard copy materials to be mailed to him/her, the hard copy request must be fulfilled within three business days, and the request remains in effect until the member leaves the plan or requests that hard copies be stopped.
  8. Plans must keep their call centers open 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., for an additional 6 weeks – from February 14 to March 31. These additional costs need to be factored into next year’s budget, and sponsors should be having conversations with any call center vendors supporting this line of business.
  9. The rules for disclaimers have changed again, but now it’s easier! Make sure you read each disclaimer since parts of some disclaimers are still needed or if you mention 10 or more benefits.
  10. Plans must submit website marketing content for review, including contracted third-party websites. Plans do not need to submit web pages with or containing CMS-required content for review. This is a 45-day review! This means almost every website needs to be reviewed now. Website content that has not been reviewed/approved cannot be viewable to the public. This is a significant change as sponsors were previously permitted to post websites that were pending review.

This is not a year to skim through the guidelines—we are still reading and re-reading the document to make sure we understand the implications. Good luck, and watch for our webinar in the upcoming weeks!

 

 

Resources:

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Prep for the 2019 Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines

I am shocked the 2019 Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) did not come out last Friday since that is when I started vacation. But no… a week later, we are still waiting, and now the wait really starts to impact the development of our marketing strategies and tactics.

In reviewing the April 12, 2018, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) memo asking for request for input on the 2019 Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines, our Marketing team at GHG got together to think about what we would do right now not knowing what the changes are and not being 100% sure if these changes are going into effect. Here are a few suggestions to get your marketing team ready for what we are expecting:

#1 Disclaimers: There is a good chance many of the current disclaimers will be modified and/or deleted. This should not stop you from developing creative materials, although you should have some alternative copy ready to be utilized if the majority of disclaimers go away. Some ideas to consider:

  • Laundry list of most important benefits
  • Additional “call to action” copy to get prospects to either call you or go to your website
  • Copy that clearly states your differential in the market – and it doesn’t matter if this is a repeat of copy. Repeating the most important points you want a prospect to remember is an important strategy!

#2 Font Size: If CMS no longer mandates that all marketing materials have at least a Times New Roman 12-point font type, it will be much easier for the Marketing teams to fit in additional copy points. You may want to develop materials in 11-point and 12-point font to see what extra space you may gain. You may be able to utilize some of the ideas above to help increase marketing points, especially on postcards. Although remember – those whose eyes are over age 65 are not able to read very small type, and if you reverse out the type, it may become illegible, so we would not recommend anything smaller than 11 point font.

#3 Referrals: If CMS allows you to announce that you can offer a gift for a referral and you can request email addresses when asking for referrals in addition to the mailing address – start planning for a mailing now! What free gift could you provide for a referral? Think about allowing members to send referrals to the plan by email, phone, as well as mail so you can utilize these leads quickly for the Annual Election Period (AEP).

#4 Business Reply Cards (BRCs): BRCs that do not mention plan-specific benefits do not need to be submitted into the Health Plan Management System (HPMS). Make sure now that your BRCs do not mention benefits. This is an easy fix—make it now.

#5 Provider Communications: CMS is expected to clarify it is not a violation of CMS marketing requirements if contracted providers notify their patients that the contract status between the provider and the plan/Part D sponsor is changing. We have seen many plans this year developing benefits and products with their providers. Utilizing providers to communicate this relationship during AEP is important. You don’t have to wait for the guidelines to be released on this one – it is already allowed!

 

 

Resources:

Benefits are Submitted. What’s Top of Mind for 2019 Marketing and Sales? Learn more

Whether you need help establishing an effective member experience or member communication strategy, cataloging and evaluating existing member communications, or identifying opportunities to streamline and strengthen your member engagement tactics or interventions, we can help. Read more here

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Benefits are Submitted. What’s Top of Mind for 2019 Marketing & Sales?

Now that benefits have been submitted, the emphasis is turning to Sales and Marketing. When speaking with different Medicare Advantage plans across the country, you start to hear different things about what is going to be important for Marketing and Sales this Annual Election Period (AEP) and Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Here is some of the top “buzz” we have been hearing from plans:

  1. Bigger marketing budgets for 2019! Many MA plans are happy with their 2019 MA products and want to take advantage of this opportunity to grab market share. We see increased spending in New-to-Medicare programs, AEP direct mail, and social media especially.
  2. More diverse sales distribution strategies are coming into play this year. We have seen many MA plans really diversify their sales strategies and do the following:
    1. Increase Field Marketing Organization (FMO) arrangements and number of contracted agents.
    2. Pay attention to the metrics of the telesales team and either decide to outsource this function or develop much stronger training internally, plus build a more solid process to get leads to the proper sales channel quickly instead of just sending out sales packages and delaying the sales opportunity by several weeks.
    3. Build web strategies to increase online sales, especially to the New-to-Medicare segment.
  3. OEP is back! We have spoken to several MA plans about this new/old enrollment period, and here is what we are hearing from the marketplace:
    1. Make sure onboarding is perfect since you no longer have nine months to change a bad first impression. Make sure prospects understand what to expect when they enroll, and meet that expectation.
    2. Show the love to both your new members and those you have determined are most likely to leave in the first quarter. Member meetings with food help drive attendance as well as welcome calls.
    3. Although MA marketing is not allowed during the OEP, there are a few different ways to ensure your name is reinforced during the OEP:
      1. New-to-Medicare programs – running a few free-standing inserts might be helpful
      2. Brand marketing TV in the first quarter
      3. Medicare Supplement marketing, especially in January if you have Medicare Supplement
    4. Ensure your agents (both internal and external) understand the OEP rules and make the most of bringing you sales during this time

 

Resources:

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Pressure Test your 2019 Expansion Strategy in 3 Steps

Do it now! Get your benefit strawman, enrollment projections, and financial goals developed before benefit season begins!

Step 1: Market Analysis – Hopefully you have already performed this step before you submitted the Notice of Intent to Apply (NOIA), but if not, it’s not too late. A market analysis typically includes the following:

  • Penetration analysis
  • Enrollment trends and market share
  • Product trends and growth patterns
  • Competitive analysis
  • Premium and benefit trends
  • Demographic analysis

Now that the 2018 benefits have been released, it is time to relook at the product, benefit, and premium trends through a market analysis to see what has changed so you are fully prepared for the beginning of benefit season in February 2018. The Gorman Health Group (GHG) Marketing team was just evaluating a new product for a client and discovered their competitors added three new plans for 2018. This changes how you look at the market. It is important to understand how your clients changed their product and plan portfolio for 2018 and then look at the 2018 Annual Election Period (AEP) results in February to solidify your market analysis, but you will want to start building your strawman of benefits and premiums now.

Step 2: Market and Enrollment Opportunity – Understanding your market opportunity is critical, and too many times a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan develops enrollment projections on the back of an envelope or in a board meeting instead of looking at the market and understanding the “real” market opportunity. Understanding the market potential and then looking at how much of the market you will be able to gain is a much better way to estimate your enrollment projections.

Our Product team recently worked with a client who was trying to determine why there was such a variance between their current sales results and enrollment projections. During GHG’s review of the client’s enrollment projection methodology, GHG identified certain demographic and market considerations were not included despite being taken into consideration when developing their marketing and sales strategies.

“These exclusions [demographic and market] are common,” says Nilsa Rudisill, Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Strategy, “and even more so is disconnect between company enrollment projections and sales and marketing strategies.”

Step 3: Financial Feasibility Study – The next step is to pressure test your hypothesis with a financial feasibility study. Although a feasibility study is not an actuarial study, it does test whether a hypothetical benefit design could work in a target market based on revenue and cost characteristics of that market. It also takes into account assumptions about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) payment trends, enrollment, premium and costs, and projected enrollment over a period of five years.

GHG’s Finance, Marketing, Sales and Product teams work very closely together to customize the assumptions that impact this study for our clients based on level of comfort, capabilities, and growth opportunity, even if it means the overall opportunity does not look promising in the end. For example, this study was performed for a client who was interested in offering a Special Needs Plan statewide. Although the financials appeared sound, we looked beyond the numbers to tell the client “what it really” takes to launch a successful product in their particular market by providing multiple financial scenarios, including a scenario that appeared less profitable in the short term but actually more manageable as a company new to MA.

This process allows you to make smart, informed decisions about your current or potential market without all the investment upfront. This type of process is not a one and done! It tends to be a very iterative process to understand how to dial the levers in the market to see if and when you can expect profitable growth. So take the time now to get it done right, or spend the money later by guessing incorrectly.

 

 

Resources:

Want to stay up to date on policy and regulation changes? The Insider is GHG’s exclusive intelligence briefing, providing in-depth analysis and expert summaries of the most critical legislative and political activities impacting and shaping your organization. Read our full press release >>

Stay connected to industry news and gain perspective on how to navigate the latest issues through GHG’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe >>


Now Is The Time To Start Planning For 2019 Medicare Advantage Growth

Here are three planning questions you need to ask yourself right now:

  1. Are you losing market share because you are not offering the right products or product mix?
  2. How could the profitability of your Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollment change if you expanded your service area?
  3. Is now the time to begin offering an MA plan?

There is a proven process to go about answering these questions.

The first step begins with a market analysis to assess both current and/or proposed markets. Looking at market enrollment trends and understanding the market demographics with product and premium analyses help you understand what levers are driving the market. Plus, a benefit analysis starts to show which benefits at which premium price points are most favorable.

You then want to take the results from the market assessment and build an enrollment projection to understand what the five-year trend might be with a new product at a certain benefit level and price point or how your current product might perform in a new service area.

The next step is to pressure-test your hypothesis with a financial feasibility study. Although a feasibility study is not an actuarial study, it tests whether a hypothetical benefit design could work in a target market based on the revenue and cost characteristics of that market. It also takes into account assumptions about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) payment trends, enrollment, premium, and costs.

This process allows you to make smart, informed decisions about your current or potential market without all the investment upfront. Now is the time to start planning since the Notice of Intent to Apply (NOIA) is right around the corner in November. This type of process is not a one and done! It tends to be a very iterative process to understand how to dial the levers in the market to see if you can develop additional, profitable growth. So take the time now to get it done right, or spend the money later by guessing incorrectly.

 

 

Resources:

Want to stay up to date on policy and regulation changes? The Insider is GHG’s exclusive intelligence briefing, providing in-depth analysis and expert summaries of the most critical legislative and political activities impacting and shaping your organization. Read our full press release >>

Stay connected to industry news and gain perspective on how to navigate the latest issues through GHG’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe >>


Three Reasons Why Pre-AEP Marketing Is Critical

One of the reasons healthcare marketing is so interesting is that it’s never static for long. Once you think you have it figured out, something changes in the mix. Pre-Annual Election Period (AEP) marketing is one of those phenomena that changes the mix in AEP marketing. If a pre-AEP marketing strategy is not in your marketing plan this year, here are three reasons why you may want to reconsider:

  1. In working with plans across the country, many are finding the pre-AEP mailing to be the most cost-effective mailing in the AEP mix and also generates the most leads. Typically, these are inexpensive mailings or postcards that arrive in the mailbox the latter part of September – right before AEP.
  2. Since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) states plans/Part D sponsors cannot market for an upcoming plan year prior to October 1, you must develop advertising that is very generic in your messaging, can be informational and educational, and utilizes direct response-oriented language with a very strong call to action to generate a response. This strategy seems to be paying off.
  3. When a plan is new to the market or introducing a new product to the market, multi-channel, pre-AEP marketing has been found to be very productive. Advertising the brand and/or hinting of something new helps build recognition, chatter, and leads before the full barrage of marketing begins in October, especially for new plans. Although this type of marketing may not have a strong return on investment by itself, it can be measured in the overall AEP marketing analytics.

Whatever your situation, we have seen pre-AEP marketing take many different approaches – with a few that appear to have crossed the line – so make sure you “stay within the lines” of CMS’ regulations with your pre-AEP marketing. We would be happy to assist you with developing a pre-AEP strategy to help you meet your goals.

 

Resources:

Want to stay up to date on policy and regulation changes? The Insider is GHG’s exclusive intelligence briefing, providing in-depth analysis and expert summaries of the most critical legislative and political activities impacting and shaping your organization. Read our full press release >>

Stay connected to industry news and gain perspective on how to navigate the latest issues through GHG’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe >>


Final Benefit Submission Is Done. Top 5 Items To Focus on Now!

Benefits were submitted on June 5, 2017. Too many times we see health plans wait until the last minute to complete important information. This tends to lead to incorrect mailings and advertising getting into the marketplace with costly errata mailings occurring. Gorman Health Group recommends you start with a strong work plan in place to get the following documents completed, starting now:

Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) and Explanation of Coverage (EOC). The 2018 model materials have been released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The ANOCs and EOCs are typically the most difficult documents to develop, get reviewed, and have printed. It is best to develop these documents now since they must be mailed by September 30, 2017. Also, make sure you have a reputable printer who understands these documents and the importance of meeting CMS deadlines.

Summary of Benefits (SBs). As stated during the CMS Spring Conference, CMS will no longer be issuing annual memos for the SB; instead, changes will be listed each year in the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG). Although the 2018 MMG have not yet been released, CMS did highlight the following changes for 2018:

  • No more hard copy changes.
  • Outpatient hospital coverage will be listed right after inpatient hospital coverage.
  • The extra premium for optional supplemental benefits can be included in the SB.
  • The document must be labeled “Summary of Benefits,” and the plan year should be visible on the cover.
  • If a benefit is not covered, such as transportation, you still need to list the benefit and state “Not covered.”
  • Plans can add other benefits not listed by CMS to the SB and should label the section “Additional Benefits.”

It is important to start development of the SB early since it is typically inserted into sales kits/packages and needs to be in the hands of your sales representatives no later than October 1. Printing, fulfillment, and shipping of the SB is a timely and costly endeavor.

Sales Kits/Packages. In addition to the SB, you should begin working on the following materials:

  • Enrollment Form. If you are still working with enrollment forms, start now. Although the Medicare Managed Care Manual Chapter 2, Medicare Advantage Enrollment and Disenrollment, guidance is not usually updated until August, it is important to have this document submitted and ready to go if you have to make changes if it is non-model, especially since this is part of the sales kit/packages.
  • Benefit Highlights Sheet. Although CMS states they will continue to allow benefit highlights to be developed, they prefer the prospect reads the SB instead. GHG understands that benefit highlights sheets are a great resource for sales staff, as well as for prospective enrollees who wish to quickly view key benefits most important to them.

Sales Presentations. If you develop sales presentations for your sales team, start working on them now. The last thing you need is to have your sales force sitting with a prospect and not have the approved resources.

Annual Election Period (AEP) Mailing #1. There is nothing worse than the phones not ringing, idle sales reps, and websites with no traffic. We have seen this firsthand, and it is not pretty. Get your mailings started! Even though you may think it’s too early, it isn’t. There are so many interruptions during the summer months with employee vacations, release of the MMG, and review periods, it’s best to start as soon as possible.

One last important NOTE: As you know, filed benefits are not final until they have been “blessed” by CMS. Every year, we hear complaints about how benefit changes are communicated – or not communicated. Please make sure you have a communication strategy in place to update all departments’ if/when benefits change. This process – when done correctly – saves money, time, and embarrassing communications with CMS!

Our team of experts can develop or review your sales collateral and creative by product type to help ensure your high-impact messaging is both targeted and compliant. Contact me directly at dhollie@ghgadvisors.com for more information.

 

Resources:

Want to stay up to date on policy and regulation changes? The Insider is GHG’s exclusive intelligence briefing, providing in-depth analysis and expert summaries of the most critical legislative and political activities impacting and shaping your organization. Read our full press release >>

New Webinar! Join us on Tuesday, June 20, from 1-2 pm ET, for a webinar on best practices for agent onboarding and oversight, compliant and efficient solutions to onboard and certify agents for the 2018 selling season and more! Register now >> 

Stay connected to industry news and gain perspective on how to navigate the latest issues through GHG’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe >>