Urgent Call to Action: Protecting Medicare and the Role of Insurance Agents
A recent development has been shared that demands our immediate attention and action. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a rule change that could significantly impact the payments that Field Marketing Organizations (FMOs) and agencies receive to support insurance agents and, by extension, consumers. This proposed rule, if passed, would make it increasingly difficult for insurance agents to provide seniors with the guidance they need to choose the Medicare coverage that best fits their unique needs.
The Proposed Rule Change and Its Impact
The proposed rule change by CMS targets administrative payments to agencies and Field Marketing Organizations (FMOs). These organizations play a critical role in empowering independent insurance agents and agencies with the necessary tools, technology, and training to serve seniors navigating the complexities of Medicare effectively. The potential reduction or elimination of these payments could disrupt this essential support system, leading to higher operational costs for agents and potentially increased premiums for consumers.
The Coalition’s Efforts and How You Can Help
In response to this concerning development, a coalition known as Americans for Beneficiary Choice has been formed, uniting partners, carriers, and stakeholders in the Medicare field. This coalition has been working tirelessly to make the voices of concerned parties heard. A significant part of their effort is a petition aimed at CMS, outlining the numerous concerns surrounding the proposed rule change.
Here’s how you can make a difference:
Sign the Petition:
The first step is simple yet powerful. Visit https://beneficiarychoice.org and add your name to the petition. This collective show of concern is a crucial component of our advocacy.
Write a Personal Letter/Email:
The coalition has prepared a guide to help you draft a personal letter to CMS and your elected representatives in Congress. Your unique perspective and experiences can make a compelling case against the proposed changes.
- Submit your personalized response to CMS:
- Send your response to your local representative:
Spread the Word:
Encourage others within your network to join this cause. The more voices that join in, the louder and more effective our message will be.
Three Ways to Communicate with Congressional Representatives
When reaching out to your congressional representatives, it’s important to convey your message clearly and persuasively. Here are three variations on how to approach this communication:
- The Personal Experience Approach:
Dear [Representative’s Name],
As a dedicated member of the Medicare insurance sector, I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact that FMOs have on our ability to serve seniors. The proposed CMS rule change threatens to disrupt this service, potentially leaving many seniors without the guidance they rely on. I urge you to consider the detrimental effects of this rule on our elderly community and take a stand against it.
- The Data-Driven Approach:
Dear [Representative’s Name],
I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the CMS’s proposed rule change. Studies have shown that the support provided by FMOs significantly enhances the quality of service that insurance agents can offer to Medicare beneficiaries. Reducing or eliminating this support could lead to a decrease in the quality and variety of Medicare plan options available to seniors. I urge you to review the data and take action against this proposed rule.
- The Community Impact Approach:
Dear [Representative’s Name],
As a constituent and professional in the Medicare insurance industry, I am alarmed by the potential consequences of the CMS’s proposed rule change. This change could adversely affect not just agents and agencies but also the wider community of seniors who depend on us for making informed Medicare decisions. Our community relies on the support and services that FMOs provide. I implore you to oppose this rule change and prioritize the well-being of our senior citizens.
Here are some additional talking points that you might consider adding to your message:
Our upline providers offer resources that we rely on, and without them, it would greatly affect our ability to provide the best solutions to our customers. Our uplines provide us with services including:
- FMOs — and the agents and agencies who rely on them — are a crucial resource to help seniors navigate the complexities of Medicare.
- Training new and existing agents to better understand the Medicare space
- Training consumer advocates that will take a personalized approach to each individual and their specific needs
- Provide insurance and healthcare advocacy for consumers during high-stress situations when those consumers might not be able to advocate for themselves.
- FMOs help seniors find Medicare coverage that best fits their needs based on their financial and health situation.
- Market research such as CSG Actuarial and Deft
- Annual AEP product (carrier in person) and compliance training
- Training to help agents explain Insurance and its myriad of options and variables to seniors
- Helps offer consumers true choice and understanding of their options instead of listing hundreds of plans that might not work with their medications, providers, and special needs
- FMOs provide technology, services, and support that empower agents and agencies to offer seniors a wider variety of insurance carrier choices and plans.
- Quoting and software tools that allow us to compare prescription drug prices and healthcare costs of the different plans
- Call recording systems to protect the consumer
- CRM systems
- Help with Commission issues
- Agent Marketing Support
- Marketing design help
- Business cards and collateral
- Webpages and/or their design
- Pre-approved presentations for community events/meetings
- Help with marketing costs
- Stamps and postage
- Customer retention support
- FMOs deliver ongoing education and training that helps ensure agents and agencies stay up to speed on regulatory changes and remain fully compliant.
- Continuing Education costs and training
- Help with Errors & Omissions Insurance
- Compliant marketing mailers, flyers, postcards etc.
- Compliance oversight on our marketing efforts
- Compliance training and on-demand advice
Now is the time to get involved and effect change now.
The proposed rule change by CMS is more than just a policy shift; it’s a decision that could have far-reaching implications for seniors and the professionals dedicated to assisting them. By signing the petition, writing to CMS and your representatives, and encouraging others to join this cause, you can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Medicare coverage. Let’s stand together to ensure that our voices are heard and that the needs of Medicare beneficiaries are not overlooked in these critical policy considerations.
We are here to help
Our FMO Team is here to assist you with questions and support. Please reach out to Western Asset Protection at 800-955-5390 or email@example.com.