Changes to the Cornerstone Individual Team Effective March 1, 2018

For many years the individual market has undergone tumultuous change. Remaining steady and a constant support to assist with the interpretation of industry regulations, certification requirements, product changes and carrier movement have been Cornerstone’s Account Advisors, Geoff Beglen and Colleen Glaser.

Effective March 1, 2018, Geoff Beglen, a Cornerstone Individual Market expert since 2006, will maintain support for our individual brokers and be your one point of contact. Brokers that worked with Colleen in the past are asked to reach out to Geoff going forward.

Geoff can be reached by email at gbeglen@crnstone.com or by phone at 513-629-9358 or 800-248-7675, ext. 358.

Also, be sure to sign up for Geoff’s new webinar series, The Individual Corner with Geoff Beglen, which debuted on February 21st. Geoff kicks off each weekly event with updates and news from the individual market. The series features special guests showcasing topics and training relevant to the market.

Register for the next Individual Corner webinar

Meridiancare In-Person Product Trainings | Cincinnati & Toledo

Cornerstone and MeridianCare present an informative in-person product training session on their competitive D-SNP and MAPD-HMO plans for your clients in the Toledo and Cincinnati markets.

Some benefits MeridianCare offers are:

  • $0 premium HMO in all Ohio service counties
  • Preventative dental and vision
  • Hearing and hearing aids
  • Available OTC coverage

 

Please plan to attend one of the meetings below to learn more about MeridianCare.

 

CINCINNATI

Date: Wed, March 14

Time: 8:30 am registration

9:00 am–11:00 am training

Location: Cornerstone’s Cincinnati Media Center

2101 Florence Avenue | Cincinnati, OH 45206

Click here to register.

TOLEDO

Date: Thurs, March 15

Time: 9:30 am registration

10:00 am–12:00 pm training

Location: Courtyard Marriott Maumee/Arrowhead

415 W Dussel Dr | Maumee, OH 43537

Click here to register.

 

Interested in contracting with MeridianCare?  Call your Cornerstone representative today!

Don’t Travel Without GeoBlue!

GeoBlue’s suite of international travel medical insurance provides clients with protection that picks up where their primary domestic health plan leaves off, with short- and long-term plans to cover many travelers’ needs.

Benefits of GeoBlue:

  • Network of doctors in 190+ countries
  • Easy claims processing, since GeoBlue pays providers directly
  • Assistance with both non-emergency and emergency care
  • No penalty internationally for going out of the GeoBlue network
  • Expert customer service team that is available 24/7 to help you find providers, schedule appointments, provide translation services and so much more

Why Sell GeoBlue?

  • Provide your clients with world-class protection while diversifying your income
  • GeoBlue may be sold any time throughout the year whenever your clients are on the go
  • It is not necessary to be currently enrolled in a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) health plan to purchase a GeoBlue plan

 

Contact your Cornerstone representative today to get started with GeoBlue.

Changes To Social Security Age Restrictions To Look Out For In 2018

U.S. News recently reported that the Social Security retirement age will increase in 2018. Those who will turn 62 in 2018 (born in 1956) will need to wait until age 66 and four months to claim their full Social Security retirement benefit. This age restriction is two months longer than those who turned 66 in 2017 and four months longer than older baby boomers born between 1943 and 1954 who have a full retirement at age 66.

The retirement age is expected to continue increasing in two-month increments each year until it hits 67 for everyone born in 1960 or later.

Due to this change, brokers in the senior market should focus their marketing efforts on the turning-66 demographic, rather than turning-65. For more information, contact your Cornerstone representative today.

You Don’t Have to be Zuckerberg to be in “The Social Network”

Jessica Larkin

Jessica Larkin
Marketing and Communication Services Specialist

According to Ryan Hanley, author of Content Warfare, the goal of content marketing is to “create, publish, and distribute media content to acquire targeted, profitable customers and repeat buyers.”

It is no secret that social media has ruled the digital landscape over the past several years. With social media sites continually rising from the ground, it is difficult to keep up with all of the changes. While Facebook once dominated the stage, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and more have now taken the digital space by storm. It can feel overwhelming to even consider getting your business started in this scene, but, by determining which social network platforms your clients are most likely to use and how to use these platforms to your advantage, you can create a simple social media strategy that facilitates your business’s growth and augments your communication with customers.

Social media is a series of websites and applications that are designed for content sharing and communication. Though built for personal use, businesses began to recognize the strength of a social media following and its purpose: to build connections.

Businesses big and small began using social media to drive targeted traffic to their site and establish meaningful connections with their audience. Larger brands like GE and Net-A-Porter have built an impressive following on social media over the years, increasing traffic to their sites and cultivating their brand identities through a landscape on which traditional marketing is unable to capitalize. But even small businesses have success on social media. Coconut Bliss, an Oregon-based ice cream company, uses social media to represent their brand’s authenticity and transparency. As a result, they have garnered more than 17,500 followers on their Twitter account and more than 31,000 followers on their Facebook page—an impressive feat for a small business.

The insurance world has responded to these metrics in kind with agencies and carriers also finding success through various social channels including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Instagram. For example, UnitedHealthcare has amassed nearly 160,000 Facebook followers, more than 44,000 Twitter followers, 1,500 Instagram followers, and a strong YouTube subscription base at 14,000. But this analysis does not stop at the carrier level because even smaller agencies like Sarasota, Florida-based American Insurance Agencies Direct have reached a Facebook audience of more than 400 and a LinkedIn following of 97.

It is worth noting that these followers come from a variety of backgrounds. Social media is no longer just a pathway for a specific demographic. Though Facebook was originally designed as a medium through which the college-aged youth could communicate, it has since evolved to include a much more impressive following. Data from Statista’s January 2018 examination of the distribution of Facebook users in the United States suggests that most users are in a large margin between the ages of 18 and 65. Additional research from the Pew Research Center indicates that the number of seniors/all adults who go online increased from 14 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2013, and this number is expected to continue growing. Yes, even the older generations have a foot in the door—and a large one at that.

It is important to note that social media, above all else, is NOT a sales tool. This is not the right venue to promote your products and services, and it is also not a welcome home for religious and political posts because of their divisive nature. Rather, it is the platform to promote you. This is the network you can use to establish yourself as an “expert” in the industry that stays ahead of the game with research on the latest market news.

But social media is more than just a platform to connect with your clients. Websites like LinkedIn and Facebook are a great medium for promoting and building your brand identity and awareness. Your social media profile and the posts that you share represent your company’s vision and voice. What is it that you want to communicate in these posts? What do you want to say that will engage, influence, and motivate your audience?

Use social media as a key to staying in touch with existing and prospective clients. The social media king himself, Mark Zuckerberg, once said, “Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.” Become that trusted friend to your client base. Share industry news on your social media sites to show that you stay up to date on the latest trends, and include your own two cents on the piece. Respond to comments on your posts. Engage with your clients and community. Encourage new and existing clients to follow your social media. Start and be a part of the conversation so you can make a lasting impression on your clientele.

Start with one or two platforms (we suggest LinkedIn and Facebook), and begin sharing posts every couple days about news in the industry, and be sure to connect with your audience with “likes,” “shares,” and “comments.” You can also post health tips and educational resources that will help your clients, as well as testimonials from loyal clients, success stories, and inspiring quotes.

Not sure how to get started? Here are a number of different resources that you can use to get your social media off the ground:

Social media is here to stay and it is easier to use and maintain than you might think. Stay ahead of the game and find out what social media strategies work best for you and your business. Don’t shy away from social media—it may be the most important and economic digital marketing tool that you use.

 

Sources:

Distribution of Facebook users in the United States as of January 2018, by age group and gender

How Aetna Will Handle the Medicare Numbers

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be replacing all members’ Medicare 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.

Attached is a detailed document regarding how Aetna will be handling the new Medicare numbers and what will occur in the future. 

Medicare Clients to Receive New 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 Medicaid 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!

 

UHC Will Now Process Tamiflu Coverage

In response to this year’s severe flu epidemic and the shortage of generic anti-flu medicine, UnitedHealthcare will process coverage for the brand version of the flu medicine, Tamiflu, as a single-source brand, effective immediately.

For more information, contact your Cornerstone representative today.

UHC Adds Shingrix Vaccine To Preventive Benefits

UnitedHealthcare will include the Shingrix vaccine as a covered benefit for certain customers beginning April 1, 2018. This vaccine is available in network through most physicians’ offices, urgent care centers, and convenience care clinics.

For more information, contact your Cornerstone representative.