Q: How often do you find yourself engaging with providers?
A: As an agent, I make weekly visits to providers to ensure that my flyers are visible in their waiting areas. During each visit, I always make sure to say hello to the providers and their staff, because having a good relationship with everyone in the office is important to me.
Q:How do you select the providers that you will engage with?
A: In the Tampa market, managers will typically assign each agent with four to five primary care physician (PCP) offices. These are the offices that I will then engage with on a weekly basis.
Q:When you engage with providers, what methods do you typically use to do so?
A: The most effective means for engaging with providers is talking to every single staff member in the office and seeing if anyone is having challenges with their Humana patients or systems. As an agent, I know I can’t solve every problem; however, I can get them in touch with someone in Humana Operations who can help. My goal is to be a go-to person who does the best I can to help solve any issues or concerns that are discussed during my visits. I also look to the GTB Physician Support Book about twice a month. This has a monthly agenda with talking points about benefits, value-added services and other resources. I have found that this information is invaluable for providers and their staff. As agents, we will also often hold “meet and greets” with our providers to stay engaged. Humana Operations, agents and providers will meet throughout the year to tour new PCP offices that joined our HMO network, meet new doctors who joined an existing practice, or to just say hello to a current office that we haven’t met with in a long time.
Q:How do you ensure you are staying compliant with CMS regulations when contacting providers? Are there any best practices that you would recommend to other agents who want to engage with providers but worry about these regulations?
A: If you’re new to physician marketing, or even if you have been doing this your entire Humana career, take the “Compliant Interactions with Providers Training,” which is mandatory for any agent assigned to a provider’s office. This is a great compliance refresher on how to properly interact with physician offices. If you’re not sure of something, stop immediately and call your manager for guidance.
Q:How has your contact and engagement with providers expanded your book of business?
A: As a new manager, I recently looked back on my past two years of sales that came from working with provider offices. I found that I had earned around 100 sales just from provider engagement. That is, I earned sales through my strong relationships with the office staff within my designated primary care physician offices who helped set up events at the office and place my marketing materials in common areas. These sales did not even include the amount of referral sales that I later received from the members who I enrolled.
Q:Can you share an example of a seminar that you’ve hosted for a provider in the past? What resources from Humana did you utilize for this seminar?
A: I have a relationship with a local church pastor who leads his church’s senior group. I present programs-in-a-box frequently at the church; however, one month I coordinated with one of my primary care physicians and the church to set up a program-in-a-box on diabetes. This was a great event for not only the provider to be a part of, but it was also helpful for the church’s seniors. Everyone was happy, and I simply facilitated the relationship.
Q:What are three things other agents should keep in mind when engaging with providers?
A: • Get to know the staff and be sure to remember their names.
• Be consistent with your visits.
• Bring valuable information to help educate the office.
Q&A with Colin Pickel, Independent Insurance Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Q: How has grassroots marketing played an integral role in growing your book of
A: In my experience, grassroots marketing has been fundamental in achieving longevity in
the Medicare space. For an agent to be successful, he or she needs to focus on developing relationships. These relationships are founded on the ability to find mutually beneficial opportunities and, if achieved, a lifetime of business can be preserved.
Q:What marketing or community involvement activities do you actively participate in to expand your network?
A: I find that senior appreciation days and senior expos are great for meeting potential clients. Many prospects will attend bingo, dance or movie nights, so participating in events of this nature provides a lot of potential for agents who are looking to expand their networks. Participating or volunteering at community festivals is also a great way to generate new relationships.
Q:What resources do you turn to when seeking out these grassroots opportunities?
A: One of the best resources is to simply do an Internet search to see what events and activities are taking place around you. Pounding the pavement with your own two feet and getting out into the community will also help when searching for future opportunities. At one event, you might see a brochure or flyer for another relevant activity. Perseverance and persistence are key when it comes to finding opportunities in grassroots marketing.
Q:What approach do you typically take when marketing in a grassroots setting to ensure you remain compliant with CMS regulations?
A: The most important thing to do when marketing in a grassroots setting is to register your event. Knowing the rules on how to conduct a marketing event or educational event helps me stay compliant with CMS regulations. Be a helpful resource and, eventually, people will reach out to you as a confidant.
Q:What informational resources do you like to keep on hand in case someone specifically asks you about Medicare?
A: During marketing events, I always keep business cards, permission-to-contact forms and Scope of Appointment (SOA) forms on hand if a prospect wants to connect with me at a later date. As for informational resources, I find that Medicare Trifold brochures and the Medicare and You book are great to have at all times if a prospect brings up Medicare organically during a conversation.
Q:For agents looking to expand their grassroots efforts, what tips would you provide?
A: The most important thing for agents to do is make a business plan and execute it. I recommend leaving the house every day by 9:00 a.m. to keep yourself motivated and on a schedule. By focusing on relationships and expanding your network, more doors will open.
Q&A with Ron Hood, Independent Insurance Agent, Tulsa, OK
Q: How long have you been selling Medicare? And how has it increased your book
A: I have been selling Medicare for three years now. I have seen a lot of growth in my book of
business, and about 30 percent of my income is from Medicare sales.
Q:You recently penetrated the Medicare market. How did you identify the opportunities available within this market?
A: As I mentioned, I have only been selling Medicare for three years now. I find that a great way to identify opportunities is by discovering where prospects are and building relationships with them. What has been most successful for me is to regularly schedule events at places where people frequent and get to know them on a personal level. Even though I can’t approach people about Medicare plans, if I am accessible to them on a regular basis, they are more likely to come to me for help. They get bombarded with phone calls and mailings, so many of the people who want more information like to speak personally with an agent.
Q:Why were you originally hesitant to enter the Medicare market?
A: For 10 years, I focused mainly on group health products. I was hesitant about selling Medicare
because I feared that it would not be worth it in the long run.
Q:What has your progress been like selling Medicare? Do you have a success story that you could share?
A: Initially, I was cautious about all the regulations surrounding Medicare, which made me feel uncomfortable about marketing the product. But as time went on, I learned that face-toface interactions and a thorough presentation of the plan offerings was something that many people were seeking. I found that a lot of prospects would tell me that they did not understand Medicare, which piqued my interest in selling it. I grew to enjoy how much I was truly helping my clients by providing them with personal interactions to help answer any questions they had.
Q:Some agents find the idea of selling MAPD daunting. What are three tips that you would give agents who are getting started?
Be sure to consult Medicare.gov or Humana.com to verify coverage of medications.
Be very aware of competitive carriers, knowing the plans and products that they offer. This will help you stay abreast of where Humana stands out and help you understand what plans might be best for your customer.
When filling out applications, do so slowly and thoroughly so that you don’t have to go back and fix any problems later.
Q:What external and Humana resources do you turn to for answers about selling
A: One of the best CMS resources that I consult frequently is the Medicare and You publication. I
also look to Humana Medicare Supplement publications for information. Many prospects receive Medicare books in the mail that they do not end up reading. I like to incorporate these into my presentations and show Humana videos as well. This provides prospects with a point of reference to go back to once the meeting has ended to help refresh their memories. Humana sales brochures are also a great way to learn about the products being offered. The Medicare.gov resources are also great to help answer any Medicare-specific questions that may come up.
Q&A with Mary Touve, Humana Sales Representative — Minnesota
Q: How did you first begin selling to the Veterans market? What piqued your
interest and caused you to pursue it?
A: Just prior to becoming a sales agent, I volunteered for The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) at their state golf tournament. I saw a lot of humility among the Veterans, which compelled me to give back. I started building relationships by volunteering at other Veteran functions, as they could see my desire to help and serve. To this day, all of the Veteran channels that I work with appreciate that I’m down to earth and willing to step up and help our Veterans. When your attitude is to serve instead of sell, countless opportunities open up for you to expand your network.
Q:What about your approach has been most effective in reaching this market?
A: Some of the first Veterans I met had served in the Vietnam War. I had no idea what they went through upon returning home from service! My love and empathy for them ignited a passion within me to help and serve this group.
Q:What is something surprising that you’ve learned about this group and how they value their healthcare?
A: The Veterans I work with truly appreciate Humana’s desire to “give back” by offering our Medicare Advantage Only plan. They are grateful, humble and appreciative when they learn about the healthcare benefits available through that plan.
Q:What about your approach has been most effective in reaching this market? To what do you attribute your success?
A: I attribute my success to truly being “boots on the ground.” I recognized a need and made myself available to help. My outreach had a domino effect, in that starting with the VFW opened up other Veteran channel opportunities. These came through other organizations including the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), the Disabled American Veterans Charity (DAV), County Veteran Service Officers, American Legion and the Marine Corps League. They have seen me year after year for nine years and know that I am there to serve each individual person, rather than sell my products. Therefore, they happily refer friends, family and clients to me.
Q:What grassroots efforts have enabled you to best connect with Veterans?
A: Volunteering at Veteran-sponsored events, such as meat raffles, membership events and remodeling projects. I also find that being consistently present at Veteran-related conferences and functions has not only conveyed my personal commitment to this group but has also confirmed Humana’s presence in the market and shown its continued commitment to Veterans and their spouses.
Q:Can you share a personal story about how you improved a Veteran’s healthcare experience?
A: Sure! Once a Veteran member called me in a stressed panic. He shared that he was taken by ambulance over 50 miles and had an emergency heart-bypass surgery. He was very nervous about the medical bills he was going to receive. To ease his concern, I walked him through the copays for the ambulance, ER and hospital and estimated the total charges. He instantly had great peace of mind knowing that his $0 premium plan had great coverage in this totally unexpected situation. He was thrilled and made sure to spread the news!
Q:What is the single most important thing you’d like to convey to agents interested in selling to the Veteran audience?
A: Serve rather than sell. When actions are genuine, treasures will follow.
Q:What tools that Humana offers did you find to be the most effective in helping you become comfortable reaching this group?
A: An awesome MA Only plan, which really benefits most Veterans! Co-branded flyers have also proven to be helpful. One of the biggest tools, however, that I am grateful for is the support and flexibility that Humana has given me through our local leadership. They have allowed me to have a presence at all of the various events, conferences, meetings and so on. I also appreciate the support and guidance we receive from our Veteran channel contacts. These have all contributed to both a rewarding and successful career!
Q&A with Jeremy Jones, Managing Broker, Life and Health Advocate
Q:How long have you been selling to the LIS-eligible market? How did you first
recognize this opportunity, and what caused you to pursue it?
A: As of today, I have been selling to this market for three years. I recognized this market because
many eligible members I was speaking with were not educated on the LIS program. I found that many of my clients were complaining about the escalating cost of prescription drugs. This common issue caused me to dig deeper into possible solutions, such as the LIS program. I attended a Humana webinar about LIS and how to assist members with questions concerning prescription drug cost options. This education taught me that we, as agents, need to go the extra step by simply informing members about the program.
Q:What about your approach has been most effective in reaching this market?
A: The most effective way to reach this market is by asking questions. If we don’t, many members will remain silent about their finances. Making members aware of the LIS program early in the conversation allows them more time to process the benefit and make an informed decision.
Q:What tips would you give other agents interested in selling to LIS eligibles?
A: My biggest suggestion to other agents is to have their members reapply on a yearly basis, because financial situations do change. Many members will say, “I’ve already tried this before and they didn’t approve my situation.”
Q:Can you relate a personal story about how you might have helped one of your
customers through connecting them with the LIS Extra Help program?
A: Of course! I have a couple who thought they would never qualify for the LIS program because they both continued to work odd jobs. I made sure to mention that LIS could possibly benefit them because the husband had begun using multiple medications. They both reluctantly applied, however they were approved just a few weeks later. For members such as them, who are not as technically savvy, I offer to use my tablet and assist them with the Medicare.gov site. This gave them a chance to explore the site in addition to creating an email account and linking it with their mobile. After their approval, I received a call of excitement about their LIS-eligibility approval. They kept telling me how gracious they were for my assistance.
Q:What marketing/community involvement activities do you participate in to grow your network? Are
there any hobbies, services or network approaches you’ve used that have lent well to your approach?
A: Local community centers are a great way to meet new people. I start by finding an event or class that I am genuinely interested in attending, such as a free yoga class or line dancing. When I approach someone, I will open up the
dialogue by mentioning why I love coming to this event and asking them why they are attending. This allows us to talk
about our common hobbies.
Q:What steps did you take to become comfortable with the LIS process?
A: I contacted Medicare directly to ask how long the LIS process would take for a member to receive his or her approval letter. I also asked them if membership would expire once the member is enrolled, and if LIS is prescription drug specific or if new Medicare members can use the funding for other necessities.
Q:Are there common challenges you observe new clients encounter in the LIS enrollment process? If so, what are those common challenges, and what do you do to help resolve them?
A: The biggest challenge tends to be that new clients will need to gather some sort of financial statement to send to CMS. Gathering these documents can be a challenge, as many eligibles may not have access to them for various reasons. To resolve this issue, I offer to assist them in determining what documents would be deemed as eligible. I have them gather any financial reports, latest tax returns, pay stubs or other financial documents that assist with the application requirements. Explaining the application to them relieves their anxiety with the process.
Q:Any final thoughts you could convey that would be helpful to other agents who want to start pursuing this opportunity and audience?
A: When you assist a member through the LIS process and they receive an approval, I’ve found that they become clients for life. I would dare to say we are now family!