When is the Best Time to Introduce a Hospital Indemnity Plan?
I have had a lot of agents to ask me, “when is the best time to introduce a hospital indemnity plan in a Medicare Advantage appointment?” And so today I wanted to take just a few moments with you to show you how I do it.
I am not saying that my way is the best way, but I have found it to be successful for me. I find that the best time to introduce the hospital indemnity product is right at the beginning of the appointment, because if you wait until after the Medicare Advantage appointment is finalized and they have selected a Medicare Advantage plan and you have filled out the paper work and then you try to introduce the hospital indemnity plan, many people have already shut down for the day. They have already made their decision and they feel like you’re just trying to throw something else at them.
Planting the Seeds
What I like to do is plant seeds, so to speak. When I sit down with someone, I open the booklet and start talking about Medicare Advantage. We obviously are going to talk about the carrier, and it really won’t matter about the carrier so much as it does the hospital expenses, because that is the big concern for a lot of the individuals that we are going to meet with. Covering the daily hospital copayment and one of the other big risks that our members will assume in a Medicare Advantage plan is cancer.
Cancer Riders: An Extra Layer of Protection
Not everyone is going to be eligible for the cancer rider, I understand that, but if they are it is something that we as agents should seriously take a look at for that individual. With hospital indemnity plans, the premiums are very affordable. So if you are looking at a low to no premium Medicare Advantage plan, it just makes sense to give an extra layer of protection, because as an agent our duty is to help them with their healthcare expenses and minimize risk.
Hospital Daily Copayments
When I am talking to individuals about their hospital daily co-payment, I will look at the brochure with them and we will look at the summary of benefits. And as you probably know, Medicare will allow you to highlight in the booklet with a yellow highlighter. Only yellow — we are not allowed to write in their pre-enrollment kits — so I always take a yellow highlighter with me.
As I discuss the daily copayment, I will indicate that the copayment, for example, in this particular plan today we’re looking at, is $345 per day for days one through five. I will explain to the applicant, "if that is worrisome for you, don’t let it bother you because we offer an additional plan that can help eliminate those daily hospital copayments for you."
Then I’ll continue on in the presentation and we’ll talk about the skilled nursing copayments, which in most plans are $0 days one through 20. Then there will be a copayment through days 21 through 100 until they reach their maximum out-of-pocket expense.
I’ll also explain to them that these hospital indemnity plans can also cover that skilled nursing care expense if there’s a concern there. What you’re going to find is that a lot of our members have family members or friends who have gone to skilled nursing care, so they realize that there’s a potential risk there and it gives us the ability to help protect against that as well.
I also highlight outpatient surgery because with hospital indemnity plans we’re also able to help protect against the cost of outpatient surgery. And with more things being done on an outpatient basis, with modern medicine improving, our clients are going to see more outpatient surgeries. We can protect against that as well with the additional policy.
Diagnostic MRIs & CT Scans
We then look at diagnostic MRIs and CT scans. Almost all Medicare Advantage plans are going to cover those at 80%, leaving 20% coinsurance for our insureds. There are now hospital indemnity plans that will help cover that 20%, so if that’s a concern for individuals, we now have plans that can eliminate that cost.
Going further, almost all plans now have an ambulance copayment. With these hospital indemnity plans, we can actually cover the expense of the ambulance. The cost of the ambulance rider is very affordable. It’s usually somewhere in the neighborhood of about $4 per month. So it’s not a lot to add that rider on. It just gives them protection so if they need an ambulance down the road, they’ll have that covered.
Chemotherapy, Radiation, & Cancer Treatments
Coninsurance for Cancer Treatments
Also, you’re talking about 20% coinsurance for chemotherapy, radiation, cancer treatments. We see that cancer is becoming more and more prevalent and now women have just about caught up with men and it’s about one in two that will deal with cancer in their lifetime.
With a Medicare Advantage plan, if someone gets cancer and goes through chemotherapy radiation treatments, we’re seeing that those individuals are at a big risk of reaching their M.O.O.P., their maximum out-of-pocket expense, for the year.
With hospital indemnity plans now, you can add a cancer rider on that. You can eliminate the risk that they assume because you can cover $5,000 or $10,000 worth of expenses if they develop cancer. This will allow the consumer to take that $5,000, put it in the bank, then use that money to make their copayments or their coinsurance until they reach their maximum out-of-pocket expense.
It alleviates a lot of the pressures and concerns that they may have if they develop cancer, because during that time you want them to be able to focus on getting better, not on how they are going to pay their bills. With the hospital indemnity plans, you can cover a lot of the risk that our clients assume by going into the Advantage plan and protect them for very little money.
Wrapping Up Your Presentation
If we plant the seeds throughout the presentation, once we finish our presentation we can say “now that we have settled up on your Medicare Advantage plan, I’d like to take a closer look at that plan that I was explaining to you that would cover and fill some of the potential risk that you have by being on the Medicare Advantage plan.” You can then open up your laptop and help them customize a hospital indemnity plan that will go along with their Medicare Advantage plan which will give them an extra layer of protection, make it more solid, and give them peace of mind.
If you’re not planting seeds throughout the Medicare Advantage appointment, give that a try and see if your sales increase, if it creates greater customer loyalty, and gives you overall better satisfaction as an agent knowing that you really did help minimize risk in that appointment.
We’d love the opportunity to work with you here at Tidewater Management Group. We offer three great options for hospital indemnity plans: Medico, Guarantee Trust Life, and Bankers Fidelity. You can also check out this post on the importance of offering hospital indemnity plans to your clients. If you have any questions or if there's anything that we can help you with, feel free to give us a call at 888-622-9122!