Medicare Clients to Receive New Medicare Cards Starting April 2018

Medicare has a major change coming this year and I want to make sure you are aware. The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) will be replacing all members’ cards starting in April 2018. They are replacing the cards based on a provision in the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). MACRA section 501 requires CMS to remove Social Security numbers (SSN) from Medicare cards and to replace the use of SSNs with new, randomly generated Medicare beneficiary identifiers, or MBIs by April 2019, to protect the individual’s identity.

This massive card replacement will affect clients who use Medicare Supplement Insurance to fill in the gaps in their Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Individuals insured with a Medicare Advantage plan will also get new original Medicare cards, but they should continue to use their Medicare Advantage plan cards when seeking medical care.

The new cards will look just like they have in the past with a red, white, and blue palette, except these cards will not include the individual’s SSN, and will instead have a Medicare number. The MBI on their Medicare card includes both numbers and letters for optimal security. See below what the new cards will look like with the new MBI number:

Starting April 2018, newly eligible beneficiaries will get a card with a unique number regardless of where they live. For those individuals who currently have a Medicare card, CMS will begin mailing new Medicare cards over a period of approximately 12 months based on geographic location and some other factors. Ohio and Kentucky will be of the last states to get the new cards. Below is a chart that shows, based on the area, when individuals will receive their new card:

Beginning in April 2018, individuals with Medicare will be able to go to Medicare.gov/newcard to sign up for emails about the card mailing and to check the card mailing status in their state. Individuals may use their card immediately upon receiving it. They will be able to use either the SSN-based or the new random alphanumeric-based numbers through December 2019. Beginning January 1, 2020, only the new cards will be accepted.

With any change in Medicare comes confusion. This is a great opportunity to reach out to your clients to explain any changes and what they can expect. Click here for a one-page flyer from CMS that outlines the details of the new Medicare card. This is a great reference for your clients.

Webinar: Double Your Commissions With Hospital Indemnity Plans

Double your commissions with Hospital Indemnity Plans!

Join Cornerstone’s Ryan Carroll for a webinar discussing hospital indemnity plans, how to sell them, and just how they will benefit your business.

Learn different strategies for offering and communicating plan options to your clients and maximize your health coverage portfolio. Offer hospital indemnity plans as a single-packaged solution and find out how they can profit your business.

  • Thursday March 15, 2018
  • 9:30 am–10:30 am
  • Register
  • Thursday April 12, 2018
  • 9:30 am–10:30 am
  • Register

Questions? Contact your Cornerstone representative for answers!

 

UPDATES TO CLEVELAND TRAINING SESSIONS: Medicare Training Sessions with Cornerstone

NOTE: The training for February 22, 2018, has been rescheduled as a webinar for March 22, 2018, at 2:00 pm. See below for additional details…

ATTENTION SENIOR MARKET BROKERS!

Join Cornerstone at our Cleveland office this month as we present a series of specialized training sessions with our carrier partners that are geared toward helping you maximize your book of business.

TRAINING SPECIAL: Attend one or two sessions and receive a free CE voucher. Attend all three sessions and receive two free CE vouchers, valued at 24-credit hours!


HumanaTuesday, Feb. 27th

10:00 am–12:00 pm

Humana D-SNP

Are you looking to increase your client base? Please attend this session to learn how to sell Humana’s  D-SNP product to clients all year around!

Content that will be discussed:

  • Humana’s plan design
  • What’s the sales sizzle?
  • How to target the product

Cornerstone’s Cleveland Office

4500 Rockside Road Suite 330

Independence, OH 44131

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Thursday, March 22nd

2:00 pm–3:00 pm

WEBINAR: Grow Your MMO Business

Please join us to learn what resources are available to help grow your Medical Mutual of Ohio business.

Topics to be discussed:

  • Online tools
  • Sales events
  • PCP visit program

Access code: 927 781 551

REGISTER

ATTENTION CLEVELAND BROKERS | Register Today for Upcoming Training Sessions

Join Cornerstone at our Cleveland office this month as we present a series of specialized training sessions with our carrier partners that are geared toward helping you maximize your book of business.

TRAINING SPECIAL: Attend one or two sessions and receive a free CE voucher. Attend all three sessions and receive two free CE vouchers, valued at 24-credit hours!


Thursday Feb. 15th– AllWell D-SNP Training

Time: 9:00 am–11:00 am

Location:  Cornerstone’s Cleveland Office

4500 Rockside Rd. #330 Independence, OH 44131

Are sales slowing down after AEP? Come learn about AllWell’s D-SNP product and continue to sell throughout the year!

You will learn:

  • How to market the product
  • Value-based enrollment information
  • Tools to utilize

Register

 

Thursday Feb. 22nd– Grow your MMO Business Training

Time: 9:00 am–11:00 am

Location:  Cornerstone’s Cleveland Office

4500 Rockside Rd. #330 Independence, OH 44131

Please join us to learn what resources are available to help grow your Medical Mutual of Ohio business.

Topics to be discussed:

  • Online tools
  • Sales events
  • PCP visit program

Register

 

Tuesday Feb. 27th– Humana MP D-SNP Training

Time: 10:00 am–12:00 pm

Location:  Cornerstone’s Cleveland Office

4500 Rockside Rd. #330 Independence, OH 44131

Are you looking to increase your client base? Please attend this session to learn how to sell Humana’s  D-SNP product to clients all year around!

Content that will be discussed:

  • Humana’s plan design
  • What’s the sales sizzle?
  • How to target the product

Register

WEBINAR: Humana MarketPoint’s D-SNP & LIS Enrollment Training

Join Humana for a Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) and LIS training webinar!

Take advantage of this training to learn how to market D-SNP plans, introduce Humana’s D-SNP products to offer to your clients in Ohio, and highlight how to enroll clients with LIS.


Wednesday, February 7

10:00 am–11:00 am

Add to my calendar

Meeting Number (access code): 599-134

Contact your Cornerstone representative with any questions.

Attention MMO Agents: Important Notice Regarding Payment of Commissions

Historically Cornerstone has paid Medical Mutual of Ohio commissions to all agents partnering with our General Agency. Beginning with January commissions payments (which are paid mid-February), Medical Mutual of Ohio will now be paying commissions directly to you or to your agency on a monthly basis.

This DOES NOT impact the relationship you hold with Cornerstone in any way, other than the transition to direct payment of commissions from MMO.

A notice from Medical Mutal of Ohio was sent to all MMO agents providing complete instructions for direct deposit/EFT* and included an EFT Agreement along with guidance for accessing commission statements using MyBrokerLink.com.  A copy of the MMO notification is attached for your reference. If MMO does not have an EFT Agreement on file, commissions will be paid by check and sent via US mail.

Cornerstone is here to assist you with this transition. If you have questions or need assistance, please email BrokerContracting@medmutual.com or reach out to your Cornerstone commission team for help.

Click here to see the official notice from MMO.


*MMO asks that you please include a voided check or bank letter with your EFT form.

Opioid Use Disorder: An Epidemic That Does Not Discriminate

Jennifer Agnello

Jennifer Agnello | President

Recently I attended a seminar on what has become the nation’s number one health care crisis: opioid use. It was a wake-up call to some astonishing information. Our industry has begun to feel the devastating effects and so far there is no end in sight. The statistics were alarming:

  • Every 16 minutes, there is a death from opioid overdose
  • 1,375 percent increase in opioid treatment spending over five years
  • 4.5 million Americans estimated to have a substance use disorder associated with prescription painkillers
  • $78.5 billion estimated cost of America’s opioid epidemic

According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention mortality data, death rates for young adults ages 25 to 44 has increased from 139.8 per 100,000 in 2010 to 151.3 per 100,000 in 2015, an increase of 8.2 percent in 5 years. In our own backyard (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania), those increases were 20 percent or more. This is concerning data when you factor in the costs associated and the number of lives destroyed.

In 2016, it is estimated that 59,000 to 65,000 lives were taken from drug overdoses in the U.S. These estimates are conservative, considering unreported or misreported overdose deaths. Compare that with peak car crash death rates in 1972 of 54,589 and peak H.I.V. deaths in 1995 of 50,887.

As opioid use continues to rise, drug overdoses are expected to be the leading cause of death in the U.S. for Americans under age 50. Synthetic opioids, such as Fentanyl and its closely related counterparts, play a major role in driving overdose death numbers to exponential levels. Resources and budgets are strained by the rise in numbers. Increased police, medical care, foster care, and additional administrative burdens have all combined to quickly exceed state and federal budgets.

Many may ask how we arrived at such outrageous numbers. Some thought-provoking background:

From the mid-1980s through the 2000s

  1. First publication suggesting safety of extended opioid use in non-cancer pain
  2. MS Contin approval
  3. OxyContin approval
  4. APS launches “Pain as the Fifth Vital Sign” campaign
  5. Purdue launches $200 million marketing campaign
  6. Multiple new opioid brands and key generics flood market
  7. Opioid Rx volume and death toll skyrocket
  8. Government investigations ensue
  9. Purdue pays $600 million in fines for false promotion
  10. 2012: 259 million opiate Rxs were issued in the U.S.

The opioid use disorder (OUD) epidemic has been driven by the U.S. health care system’s unintentional widespread prescribing of opioid painkillers without realizing the consequences.

  • 80 percent of the world’s supply of all Rx opioids are consumed in the U.S.
  • 92 units is the average number of tablets per Rx. Opioid dependence can start in just a few days. Risk of chronic opioid use increases with each additional day of opioid supplied starting with the third day.
  • 91 percent of patients who experience opioid overdose receive another opioid Rx within 10 months.
  • 80 percent of heroin users report starting on Rx opioids prior to transitioning to heroin.
  • 53 percent of users received opioids free from a friend/relative, while another 16.6 percent took or bought them from a friend/relative.

The CDC publishes guidelines for prescribing opioids which include, but are not limited to:

  • Opioids are not to be the first line therapy for chronic pain.
  • Short duration of acute pain.
  • Three days of therapy should be sufficient, more than seven days is rarely needed.
  • The lowest effective dose is recommended to start.

Interestingly, 44.7 percent of first-fill opioid prescriptions are NOT in compliance with CDC recommendations.

From an insurer’s perspective, the focus is on methods of treatment and the education of providers. Determining the most effective approach to care in order to provide sustained long-term results is critical. Approaching OUD as a long-term chronic condition, instead of relying solely on short-term interventions, is essential. Each patient is unique and needs dedicated appropriate resources and guidance.

Pairing counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy with approved FDA medication to treat substance abuse disorders and prevent opioid overdose are more effective than behavioral interventions or medication alone. Studies suggest that with this medication-assisted treatment, the chances of remission within a year are significantly greater, up to 50 percent compared to 10 percent with traditional treatment. Along with these figures, this type of treatment costs up to 75 percent less than residential treatment. Education of physicians for this treatment protocol is critical and will take time. However, insurance carriers are responding to the needs rapidly and are developing methods to educate both the providers and the public.

In March of 2017, President Trump created a commission to study the crisis and their interim report has made a number of initial recommendations. As of October 2017, the Trump administration declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

As we, together, begin to recognize the scale of this crisis, it is critical that we acknowledge that OUD is an epidemic that does not discriminate. Be it the athlete who is prescribed pain medications for an injury and becomes addicted, or a relative who is recovering from surgery, or any one of the many circumstances in which victims lives are taken, let’s not be so quick to judge. Taking a “moral” perspective will not effect change. Instead, we need to come together to find a solution.

LIVE TRAINING: Cornerstone & Anthem’s DSNP Training Series

Join Cornerstone and Anthem for a Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) training series!

Take advantage of these LIVE in-person training sessions to learn more about how to market D-SNP plans, solutions to challenges you may face when selling these plans, and the details of Anthem’s D-SNP products.

Don’t miss these valuable training sessions!

Register today for ONE meeting location near you.

 

Mon. January 29

8:30 am registration | 9:00 am–11:00 am

Media Center Cornerstone Cincinnati

2101 Florence Avenue | Cincinnati, OH 45206

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Mon. January 29

1:30 pm registration | 2:00 pm–4:00 pm

The Golf Club at Yankee Trace

10000 Yankee Street | Centerville, OH 45458

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Tues. January 30

8:30 am registration | 9:00 am–11:00 am

Howard Johnson Inn

1920 Roschman Avenue | Lima, OH 45804

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Tues. January 30

1:30 pm registration | 2:00 pm–4:00 pm

Hilton Garden Inn – Perrysburg

6165 Levis Commons Blvd. | Perrysburg, OH 43551

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Wed. January 31

8:30 am registration | 9:00 am–11:00 am

Holiday Inn – Independence

6001 Rockside Road | Cleveland, OH 44131

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Thurs. February 1

8:30 am registration | 9:00 am–11:00 am

Wedgewood Country Club

9600 Wedgewood Blvd. | Powell, OH 43065

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Tues. February 6

9:30 am registration | 10:00 am–12:00 pm

Holiday Inn Boardman

7410 South Avenue | Youngstown, OH 44512

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Tues. February 20

9:30 am registration | 10:00 am–12:00 pm

Courtyard Marriott

4375 Metro Cir NW | North Canton, OH 44720 ( off I-77)

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Tues. February 27

8:30 am registration | 9:00 am–11:00 am

Media Center Cornerstone Cincinnati

2101 Florence Avenue | Cincinnati, OH 45206

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Tues. February 27

8:30 am registration | 9:00 am–11:00 am

Holiday Inn French Quarter – Perrysburg

10630 Fremont Pike | Perrysburg, OH 43551

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Wed. February 28

8:30 am registration | 9:00 am–11:00 am

Wedgewood Country Club

9600 Wedgewood Blvd. | Powell, OH 43065

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Thurs. March 1

12:30 pm registration | 1:00 pm–3:00 pm

Holiday Inn – Independence

6001 Rockside Road | Cleveland, OH 44131

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Premiums Hike For Children Under 2018 ACA Policies

Premiums increased across the board this year and not insignificantly. Fourth quarter hit harder than ever, a telling glimpse into next year if nothing changes in our legislature. One major change that didn’t get much press was the change in factors for children age 15 to 20 on group and individual plans. You may have seen it on ACA quotes without giving it a second thought.

But as December 2nd article from the LA Times explains, this is a “complicated new rule, approved last year by the Obama administration, that allows insurance companies to assign more of a family’s overall premium cost to children in individual and small group policies, starting in 2018.” It goes on to say, “It also allows insurers to charge higher rates for teens than for younger children beginning at age 15, because teenagers typically rack up bigger medical bills. Up until now, the ACA has not allowed any difference in the amount charged for children from birth to age 20.”

Click here for the full article.