November 11, 2013

The Affordable Care Act is the hottest topic in town. Very few professionals know anything about the ACA and its impact on seniors. Most CPAs and lawyers don’t have a clear understanding as to how the ACA does or does not change senior healthcare. Seniors, on the other hand, are absolutely frantic to get more information. The Fox News Network is the senior’s 24/7 source of Medicare information. There is a lot of worry and concern out there!

Hold a workshop

Hold a workshop for them

The insurance professional who is on the front lines of Medicare supplement and healthcare law is in a position to become the go-to person within his or her community. Now is the time to offer public educational workshops for lawyers, CPAs, and financial investment advisors.

Be aware of scammers

The insurance exchanges, now called “marketplaces,” of the Affordable Care Act have nothing to do with seniors. If they’re already on Medicare, they don’t need to think about the exchanges. Nonetheless there are a lot of scam artists who are trying to exploit confusion about both Medicare and the ACA to obtain identity information. Fraudsters are calling seniors and offering help to assist them in renewing their Medicare coverage. Some scammers even offer to help seniors get their ObamaCare card. This may be a good time to do a seminar for your local police department to explain to them the ins and outs of Medicare supplements and Medicare advantage plans. As a lawyer, I can tell you that your local bar association may be a great place to volunteer to do a workshop on Medicare, Medicare supplements, Medicare advantage plans, and the ACA. Most insurance professionals are afraid to stand up in front of a group of attorneys—but right now you know more about current healthcare issues than 99.9% of attorneys.

Explain Part D

You can tell them things such as the difference between Medicare supplement plans and Medicare advantage plans. You can explain the difference in coverage and the wide variety of choices that are available. You can explain how the ACA is closing the “doughnut hole” (the gap in drug reimbursement coverage). You can explain that the gap next year is about $2,850 and then ends at $4,550 of overall drug costs. Very few people know how Medicare D reimburses generic medication differently than brand names. The prescription drug program, or PDP, is a complete mystery to almost everyone except for those of you who deal in this area every day. Call your local newspaper and let them know that you’re offering a free workshop for professionals on this subject. If you confine your audience to professionals, you will avoid numerous compliance concerns.

Be the expert and referrals follow

No one really knows where to find the right answers on healthcare. If you help the professionals in your community to know the right answers, they will be interested in referring to you. A few days ago I had a representative of one of the major healthcare insurance companies in my office. He made several statements like “Network is a huge issue.” Now is the time for the insurance professional to step forward and educate the rest of us on what it really means to purchase one Medicare related insurance policy versus another. There’s a lot at stake—and most people are going to make the decision based on ignorance. You may be the only one in the room with the experience and the education to deserve a referral.