By Patrick Kelly, Vericred’s Director of Sales
I recently traveled to Atlanta for The 11th National Conference for the Medicare Supplement Insurance Industry, an annual summit bringing together professionals who market, sell, price, administer and support Medicare supplement insurance.
For hundreds of field agents and representatives from insurance carriers and technology platforms, the conference was an opportunity to meet their peers in the Medicare space, explore the latest tech solutions, and stay abreast of industry trends and new legislative mandates. For those insurance professionals who couldn’t make it to this year’s event, here are my top takeaways from the 2019 summit:
Tech-driven distribution is growing and agents need to get on board.
Insurance agents, especially those serving the Medicare market, have historically offered fewer technology solutions than the rest of the health insurance industry, mainly due to seniors’ disfavor of online plan shopping and enrollment experiences. That is quickly changing, as baby boomers, contrary to generations of seniors before them, are embracing digital tools. This conference stressed that to adapt to this changing, more tech-savvy environment, agents need to manage an omnichannel strategy for the optimization of plan distribution across age cohorts. Call centers, field agents and consumer-facing online shopping and enrollment platforms were highlighted across several sessions.
Medicare tech platforms are booming
Medicare tech platforms — websites enabling brokers to quote, shop for and enroll members in Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans — are increasingly popular and this conference is where these solutions are showcased to agents, as the end-users. Connecture, MediCareful (by Ritter Insurance) and CSG Actuarial were all in attendance, as each platform is focused on arming agents and consumers with the information necessary to enroll in the right plan based on each consumer’s specific requirements.
Vericred recently announced a Medicare Advantage rating API, enabling Medicare platforms and other InsurTech companies to build innovative solutions that serve the fast-growing Medicare-eligible population. Using Vericred as their data foundation, technology companies building Medicare Advantage plan search and quoting solutions can now do so without acquiring and maintaining the necessary underlying data and logic.
Senior dental was a major talking point at this year’s forum
Senior dental was a big push at this year’s conference. Agents are looking to cross-sell beyond the traditional medical and life insurance products and many dental carriers are starting to bring on senior-specific products.
Cross-selling was a topic for discussion in general. Supplemental policies such as accident, critical illness and hospital indemnity are now a part of all of the FMO’s strategy to cross-sell into their Medicare Advantage customers.
MACRA is coming!
The acronym MACRA stands for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. Congress included this to reform the Medicare payment system to share more health care costs with policyholders by no longer allowing “newly eligible” beneficiaries to obtain a Medicare supplement plan that covers the Part B deductible. It also will transition away from using Social Security numbers as identifiers to reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud. MACRA will also change the way Medicare pays health care providers, compensating them on quality of care as opposed to the number of services they perform.
Overall, the summit was an exciting opportunity to engage all participants within the Medicare space, and to discover how technology is fundamentally changing how insurance brokers quote, sell and enroll members in Medicare plans. I’m already looking forward to next year’s 12th Medicare Supplement Insurance Industry Conference, but between then and now, Vericred is positioned to be a high-level resource for brokers to better understand how digital technologies and data are transforming the Medicare landscape. Check back soon for more content regarding Medicare Advantage, and be sure to browse our blog series on this intricate insurance market.