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Is an SOA really required for this situation?

I agree with Tscholar....not worth the risk to the agent. If you lack the time or otherwise can't be bothered, send them direct to medicare.gov or the plan website to self-enroll. The only way to be "safe" is keep your name off the app and forgo comp.

The endgame as I see it with Part D is coming. If out-of-pocket costs will soon be limited to $2,000 a year, it won't make much difference what plan you have. Even now, between reinstatement of 48 hr. SOA rule and recorded calls, who has time for 300 client reviews in AEP plus writing new business?

On Deck: Looking into Certified Insurance Counselor designation and licensing. Move to fee structure on anything related to Part C and D, no commissions. I've already been approached by one financial planning firm on this idea.

I would be interested in a fee-only thing. I have my state's "consultant" license already. Let me know what sort of opportunities are out there. I am curious as to where you find customers willing to pay real dollars to get advice that they are accustomed to getting for free? As cheap as most MA customers are, I can't imagine them paying me a meaningful fee to help them pick out a plan. If I weren't getting a commission, I simply wouldn't get paid by 80% of them.
 
SOAs are only needed for face-to-face appointments. Transacting via email is not the same thing.

With the one-year-old mandate to record phone calls, I stopped taking them and instead correspond via email and supply all necessary sales materials electronically, print Medicare.gov lists of plans and benefit comparisons, do the work of inputting meds in the Medicare.gov drug cost estimator (and confirm with the insurers' formulary when things don't look right), check all providers against the insurers' directories to make sure I don't disrupt any doctor-patient relationships if at all possible, and provide the client with all the information needed to make a decision along with my personal recommendation. I fill out apps completely and send via email to clients for their signature and have them returned to me via email, fax, or USPS, and I upload them same day as received.

I don't do many face-to-face appointments anymore, and I haven't had a disappointed client yet.
 
I would be interested in a fee-only thing. I have my state's "consultant" license already. Let me know what sort of opportunities are out there. I am curious as to where you find customers willing to pay real dollars to get advice that they are accustomed to getting for free? As cheap as most MA customers are, I can't imagine them paying me a meaningful fee to help them pick out a plan. If I weren't getting a commission, I simply wouldn't get paid by 80% of them.

You cannot charge a fee for advising anyone concerning Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, or Part D plans. PERIOD. Not with an agent's license, and not with a Consultant;s license. It's a bad idea as a concept. You clearly are in this business "for the money," and in my book, that makes you "dangerous."

There's absolutely no proof that so-called "fee-based" financial advisers do any better job for their clients than commissioned advisers, so who's to think the same would be true of fee-based "Medicare Advisers"?. What would you pay for someone to tell you how much homeowners and auto insurance they think you need, and then have to go pay premiums on top of that? That's why we as agents earn commissions. I am also a CA licensed Life & Disability Insurance Analyst, and can charge a fee for my advice, or collect a commission if I recommend a product I am appointed to transact. But I cannot have both. The only people I charge fees to are attorneys who need an expert witness for litigation.

If a person's motivations are correct, the money is meaningless. I've been in this business since 1980, and I could care less what my commissions are, because my focus is on doing what's in the client's best interest 100% of the time . . . even if it means not getting a commission because I don't represent the company or product a person needs . . . which is what I make sure they get. In the first year of "Obamacare", I enrolled hundreds of individuals into Medi-Cal because they qualified for it. I didn't know at the time that I would be paid for each enrollment. I did it because it was the right thing to do. I ended up getting about $50 each for almost half of the enrollments I submitted, and received it as if it were a "gift" from the State of California.

If your opinion of Medicare Advantage clients is they're "CHEAP" . . . you probebly don't belong in this business. Medicare Advantage is obviously not for everyone, because not everyone is comfortable with an HMO network. But for folks who understand how HMOs work, and their Primary and Specialist physicians are in a network, most will do much better financially with an MAPD HMO than Original Medicare without a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, by far.

MAPD PPOs are begining to mature and are becoming more accessible, but still aren't for everyone because they all carry up to the maximum annual out-of-pocket limits, and some folks would be financially devastated by $8500 in annual expenses . . . but paying $2000-$3000 per year for a Medicare Supplement plan -- if they can qualify -- might be an acceptable trade off for a Plan F or Plan G which means virtually $0 out-of-pocket for covered expenses.

My clients know me and trust me and send me their friends and family members. I don't prospect and I don't buy leads, I live on word-of-mouth referrals . . . it's the best possible source of income.
 
Read your SOA form:

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires agents to document the scope of a marketing appointment prior to any face-to-face sales meeting to ensure understanding of what will be discussed between the agent and the Medicare beneficiary (or their authorized representative)."

The whole point of the SOA is to inform the client that they're talking to an INSURANCE AGENT who might SELL them something -- not someone from the Government or Medicare because of the things they say. The requirement for Medicare SOAs was preceeded several years by SOAs for Long Term Care insurance sales meetings (at least here in CA).

As a Medicare beneficiary myself, I get dozens of scam calls every month, 12 months of the year, from people whose first language is home to an area shaded by the Himalayas. "I'm calling from the Medicare Center . . ." I wish I could reach out and grab them by the short hairs.
 
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Reply to me112233:

My situation is probably different, as I have been doing Medicare almost exclusively the last 8 years and have hundreds of clients on the books. I do the Part D plan review with all new Med Supp prospects and offer annual reviews. They have come to rely on me. I tell clients their lowest cost drug plan options, even if I can't write it. They sometimes ask if they can pay me a fee. Of course, I refuse though one nice lady sent a couple dozen of my favorite oatmeal raisin cookies.

I also network with a financial planning firm .....so far it's simply a referral basis. They are content I know what I'm doing and not a threat to their other business. They recently indicated interest in something more structured, hence the fee-based idea. Their clients already pay fees for investment advice so adding Medicare reviews would be an added benefit. The firm could just pay me and forget asking clients for any specific fee. There are already other folks doing Medicare consultations at $400 a couple and not selling any insurance.
 
Read your SOA form:

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires agents to document the scope of a marketing appointment prior to any face-to-face sales meeting to ensure understanding of what will be discussed between the agent and the Medicare beneficiary (or their authorized representative)."

The whole point of the SOA is to inform the client that they're talking to an INSURANCE AGENT who might SELL them something -- not someone from the Government or Medicare because of the things they say. The requirement for Medicare SOAs was preceeded several years by SOAs for Long Term Care insurance sales meetings (at least here in CA).

As a Medicare beneficiary myself, I get dozens of scam calls every month, 12 months of the year, from people whose first language is home to an area shaded by the Himalayas. "I'm calling from the Medicare Center . . ." I wish I could reach out and grab them by the short hairs.

You must have an old SOA. Mine doesn’t not say, “face to face”. Either way, it doesn’t matter. If you took AHIP, you should know the correct answer and it’s not your answer. They literally have been quizzing us on that exact same scenario each year.

None of this matters if you don’t get a complaint. You’re not required to submit a SOA with apps. The second you get a complaint? You might want to have that SOA handy. No matter how you took that application.
 
It's been nerve wracking

I appreciate the "lets not overthink this..." I wish I wouldn't. But darn it I worked too hard to screw anything up with a stupid complaint.

In reality I've never once been asked for an SOA by any authority. I was randomly asked for my recording of a meeting by BCBS I said I don't have one, did all F2F and whatev....moving on, never heard another word.

With that said, I drive myself batty some days trying to be uber compliant.

Example: with any over the phone enrollment, I send a text Scope and do the appt, recorded on the phone equipped with a whole long a$$ presentation down to the stars and dental....the actual phone appt gets done 3 days after the text SOA for good measure. Then text esig after. Takes forever to be so compliant. I mean really, even if they have no teeth it's required to go over all aspects of the enrollment book. Come on is everyone actually fully compliant 100. I think not.

Also, I'm only in my 50s and I'm slammed day in and day out with Medicare calls. One after another all day every day.

It is getting sickening. Depending on my mood, I go with it for awhile, give fake birthday and see how far theyll take it before i tell them off. So non compliant its crazy making. As far as I can see it only helps us honest agents. They send one after another referral by the time theyve been screwed over by these phone jockeys theyre scared $hitless to talk to anyone over the phone not referred to them. Most of em are smart enough to just hang up. Still creates a headache hearing seniors all say the same thing. I just pull my phone out and show them. Chances are good, I'll get a call myself when I'm in an appt. We then just laugh it off when they see it happens to all of us, even agent in 50s.

Rambling....phone ringing off hook right now.
 

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