Starting in the health insurance industry: 6 Tips to be successful

health insurance industry

Overview: In order to be successful in the health insurance industry, pay attention to these 6 pieces of advice.

health insurance industry

What makes a successful health insurance agent successful in the competitive zeitgeist of the 21st century? It’s more than what you’re saying or selling.

To be successful as a health insurance agent, you need to have strong sales, marketing, and customer service skills. You’ll be required to locate and attract potential customers. You don’t necessarily have to be born with these skills, but developing them is crucial to your success.

Essential tips for success as a health insurance agent:

Prioritize Good Customer Service

This is a three-part tip. You need to 1) put the needs of the client before your own interests 2) be attentive and available to answer client questions or concerns and 3) have emotional intelligence. All of these tie into prioritizing good customer service. Here’s why:

  • Putting a client into a product that pays a lower commission because it better fits their needs will likely help you retain customers.

  • Customers want to be able to get in contact with their agents. Timely responses to inquiries and phone calls is a must. You almost must be able to do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it, or at least have a good reason as to why you can’t.

  • Listen and empathize with clients on a deeper level in order to discern what they really want and need. A good agent is tactful and knows how to help a client see financial reality clearly, even when the client is dead set against it.

Bonus: Do not prioritize earning a commission! You likely won’t last long in the business. Agents who listen carefully to what their clients and prospects say will be able to earn their trust — which is the hardest part of their job.

Related article(s): 8 Qualities That Make a Good Insurance Agent

Focus On Good Salesmanship (Record/Listen To Yourself)

We all know that health insurance agents (like all types of insurance agents) are salespeople by nature. Sales is namely all about confidence first, knowledge second, and everything else after. One way to develop your sales skills is to record your voice on the phone while talking to some clients.

  • Do you sound smart?

  • Do you sound confident?

  • Do you sound like a little kid who picked up the phone?

You need to acquire strong sales skills and learn the process of acquiring, nurturing, and maintaining quality customers. This might require attending seminars or undergoing a professional training program in sales.

Related article(s): 21 Insurance Sales Tips For Young or Inexperienced Insurance Agents

Develop a Strong Work Ethic

The insurance industry is competitive and you may be working independently for a good portion of the day. You need to develop a strong work ethic to be proactive when seeking out new customers, closing sales, and developing relationships with clients and industry professionals. Prioritizing your time and maintaining a strong work ethic will get you far throughout your career.

Study the Market

You need a plan to target the right prospects and seek out new customers in the right markets. Take the time to study the market and develop a strategy so you are making the best use of your time. Whether you are out on a sales call or conducting a presentation to potential customers, you need a deep understanding of what your customers want and who is the market to buy insurance — ideally, from you.

Learn From the Pros

Every successful agent needs a mentor, coach, or someone to guide them throughout their career. Make the time to connect with someone who is currently working your dream position or someone who is willing to mentor you as you grow in your career. This will provide you with valuable insights about the industry, tips for overcoming challenges you are dealing with, and an opportunity to learn from someone who has been in your position at some point in his or her career.

Related article(s): How to Succeed as an Insurance Broker or Insurance Agent

Stay on Top of Market Trends

Because life insurance policies changes, it’s essential that you stay on top of trends to achieve the success you want. As a result, you’ll not only have a better chance of selling what the client needs but also what they believe they want. With a vast knowledge of life insurance and by remaining enthusiastic yet professional, you can carefully guide an individual toward the best coverage, whether trendy or not.

Related article(s): 5 Pro Tips – How to Be a Successful Insurance Agent in 2021

The evolution of American health insurance services over the last few decades

evolution of American health insurance services

Overview: How health insurance has evolved for Americans in recent years.

evolution of American health insurance services evolution of American health insurance services

evolution of American health insurance services

From illness trends to the implementation of technology, changes in America health insurance services remain slow, complex, and constant much like the overall healthcare system.

Various healthcare proposals have been introduced over the years, but it’s the complexity of the healthcare industry in its entirety — environmental and technological factors — that remain the primary causes to changes in health insurance services in America.

  1. Increase in technology & cost of medical services

  2. Managed care & ability to select a doctor

  3. Extending Medicare coverage for prescription drugs
  4. How health care will change in the future (technology & more)

1. New technology; increased cost for health insurance

One primary change in American health insurance services is the increased cost for health insurance as a result of new technological treatments. Maybe back in the day, you could get away with surgery and a hospital stay without health insurance but now… not so much. (That goes without saying.)

This goes in tandem with the tremendous medical technology now available. If patients want to reap the benefits of these technologies, they must be willing to accept the ever-increasing medical costs that come with it.

2. Managed health care; limited doctor selection

As the cost for health insurance has risen there’s been a move toward managed health care. This move, in turn, has changed the health American insurance industry and services by creating limited flexibility for someone to choose a doctor.

Managed health care is a term that refers to health plans that involve selective contracting between insurers, health care providers, and employers to direct employees to a specified group of cost-effective health care providers.

This rapidly-changing revolution has affected everyone from physicians and hospitals to patients and insurance carriers.

Says Marc Maraccini, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at North Texas Healthcare Network: “Fifteen years ago, it used to be that a person had an insurance provider that covered almost anything with no questions asked. But this process made it difficult for employers to estimate how much they would pay for their employees’ health care. This is because a physician or hospital could charge almost any amount for a procedure or prescription.

A managed care plan has caused most people to receive coverage through their employer over the last decade. This practice saves money because unlike traditional plans, managed care plans contract directly with the health care providers to set payment for services.

Related article(s): The Evolution of Health Insurance

3. Medicare updated to include prescription drug coverage

In the early 2000s, one major change health insurance services saw was the update to Medicare to include prescription drug coverage. This idea  that was initially proposed by George W. Bush eventually turned into the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (sometimes called Medicare Part D). Enrollment was (and still is) voluntary, although millions of Americans use the program.

For a detailed timeline of the evolution of the American health care industry from Colonial Times (1700s) to now (21st Century), take a look at the related article below.

Related article(s): The History of Medicine and Organized Healthcare in America

4. Changes to expect for the future of health care services for Americans

As the baby boomer generation approaches retirement, thus qualifying for Medicare, healthcare spending by federal, state, and local governments is projected to increase.

Along with policy and technological changes, the people who provide healthcare are also changing. Providers are an important part of the healthcare system and any changes to their education, satisfaction, or demographics are likely to affect how patients receive care.

In the future, healthcare providers are more likely to focus their education on business than ever before. A large-scale analysis of Harvard Business School’s physician graduates indicates substantial growth in the number of physicians pursuing M.B.A. degrees in the last decade. This growth may result in more private practices and healthcare administrators.

Healthcare technology trends that focus heavily on patient empowerment will be on the rise (artificial intelligence, VR/AR, 3D-printing, robotics or nanotechnology). For example, the introduction of wearable biometric devices provide patients with information about their own health. Telemedicine apps allow patients to easily access care no matter where they live. These types of new technologies are focused on monitoring, research, and healthcare availability so patients will be able to take a more active role in their care.

With advances in digital healthcare technologies, healthcare workers have to embrace emerging healthcare technologies with an open mind in order to stay relevant in the coming years.

Related article(s): How We Can Expect The Healthcare Industry to Change in The Future and 10 Ways Technology Is Changing Healthcare

The Latest Small-Group Health Plan News

group health plans

For your Redlands-based small business, of one to one hundred employees, finding the right health plan can be a challenge. Amid so many options, fluctuating circumstances, and things to consider, the choice is often overwhelming. However, with informed guidance and attentive counsel, you and your employees will benefit from the security of a quality health insurance plan. This is where we at Bernardini and Donovan come in. We are here to provide you with expert advice as you make this critical decision for your valued team members. And before you finalize your choices, take note of these health insurance updates.

Latest small group health insurance news:

  1. In the fourth quarter of this year, those who are renewing their policies will notice a rate increase. This is caused by an added component of the Affordable Care Act called the Health Insurance Tax (HIT). Though it was anticipated to be repealed, it is now driving up costs. These price increases vary in severity ranging from three to four percent to 15 percent. As we anticipate this upcoming tax, there are some opportunities to offset these costs with other insurers. Though this option will not exempt you of this tax, it will alleviate it, so it is not so harsh.
  2. Rates seem to fluctuate with every quarter. That’s why in light of these increases, we can look forward to a rumored rate decrease in the first quarter of next year. Take note though that group plans are dependent upon their renewal date. This is the point at which your rate will be fixed for the next 12 months. And so, these changes will not affect your policy if it’s locked into what is called your rate guarantee.
  3. There is a new coverage option, specifically helpful for the small employer who is concerned that they will not have enough participants. The Portfolio Plan does not require any number of participants, making this one of our most competitive options and an excellent choice for small business owners.
  1. As you consider these updates and search for your ideal plan, keep in mind the value of your insurance broker’s customer service. While the price of a health coverage plan will remain the same across the board, the quality of your broker’s service is what really matters. So, look for a provider that will be there when you need them, who will help you care for your employees, and make sure to keep you compliant. These are the most valuable services a broker can provide. And these are what we at Bernardini and Donovan are proud to offer our clients right here in Redlands. If you are in search of a health coverage plan in any capacity, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are prepared to offer our expertise as we assist you in this complex decision-making process.

5 Small Business Health Insurance Pitfalls

small business health insurance

Redlands small businesses face several challenges when it comes to employee health insurance. However, this must be made available for the benefit of each employee and the success of your company. Offering health insurance makes your employees more likely to stick around, keeps them happy and healthy, and can even save you money. So, while it may seem like a daunting endeavor, we advise that no matter the size of your company, you consider offering health insurance.

There are a few mistakes when implementing a health care plan for your employees of which to take note. Make sure that you are aware of their threat and of the ways these pitfalls can be avoided. And rest assured that, even when issues arise, there are often simple solutions.

California health insurance
  1. A misunderstanding of eligibility requirements. 
    There are a few things that might keep an individual from partaking in their employer’s health care insurance plan. That’s because a group insurance plan does not automatically prompt eligibility for every employee. Typically, employees are required to work a minimum of 30 hours a week and must fulfill a distinguished waiting period to gain eligibility. This all depends on your state, your insurance provider, and your particular policy. Make sure that upon implementing a new plan, your employees are aware of these requirements.
  2. Miscommunication about the waiting period.  The waiting period indicates the number of consecutive days an employee must work to gain eligibility for the health insurance plan. This number should be decided based on the time you believe is required to discern an employee’s loyalty to the company. And you must communicate this exact amount clearly to your new employees to avoid miscommunication and confusion.
  3. Paperwork mishaps.  Paperwork is something about which we can all commiserate. But despite its world-renowned nuisance, this is the paperwork you cannot overlook. Incomplete or untimely paperwork will cause several complications in your health insurance plan. So make sure that it is submitted with complete accuracy and on time. And be assured that if an employee is terminated, added, or needs to make changes to their coverage, their corresponding paperwork is updated correctly.
  4. Failing to reconcile carrier bills. If an employee is wrongly included or missing from a bill, you face the issue of someone either not receiving coverage or being overcharged. And while these bills are typically accurate, you ought to review them regularly for assurance.
  5. Neglecting to take action when something goes wrong. The Explanation of Benefits or EOB lists the date of service, cost, negotiated discount and deductible accounting and amount for which the patient is responsible. This must coincide with the patient’s medical bills. So if these are mismatched, or demonstrate an issue, be sure to take action immediately. There is often an easy solution to this problem, but it is best solved with urgency.

While these issues may pose significant setbacks to your business, choosing a local Redlands broker like Bernardini and Donovan will help alleviate their severity and prevalence. We are prepared to assist your choice in plans and to provide exceptional customer services as it is administered.

Health insurance is a vital aspect of one’s well being. It assures that upon unforeseen medical circumstances, an individual will be financially covered. This confidence, as one faces inevitable unknowns, is crucial to living well and happily. So, as a small business owner, be sure to provide insurance to your employees for their peace of mind and the benefit of your company. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us today for a simplified and seamless experience.

California Vaccination Rates Dropping: What You Need to Know

California Vaccination Rates Dropping: What You Need to Know

For 3,000 years, smallpox was among the world’s most feared diseases. Over 80 percent of children faced an early death with the foreboding diagnosis. But in 1796, Edward Jenner developed the first successful vaccine against smallpox. And upon his discovery, millions of lives were spared from this deadly disease. So today, we celebrate Jenner’s genius and the worldwide eradication of smallpox.

Since 1796, 14 more diseases have been held at bay or made less-prominent by the invention and wide administration of vaccines. They are now generally non-threatening to western civilization. These diseases include polio, tetanus, flu, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, rubella, Hib, measles, whooping cough, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, mumps, chickenpox, and diphtheria. While they still exist, each of these is far less common in the United States. Today, our society is healthier and safer thanks to modern medicine the contributions of vaccines.

smallpoxWhile vaccines are essential to the prosperity of humankind, communities of non-medical skeptics have turned against immunizations. Anti-vaccine groups strongly oppose these preventative measures, causing some regression in societal health in recent years. Just this year, we’ve seen the repercussions of this dangerous anti-vaccine sentiment. According to the California Department of Public Health, the 2018-2019 school year’s vaccine rate among California kindergarteners dropped from 95.1 percent to 94.8 percent. This drop is likely due to the 70 percent increase in medical vaccine exemptions obtained by parents this past year.

While medical exemptions were distributed, physicians are suspicious that in such a short period, so many people developed new illnesses, keeping them from receiving vaccinations. It is more likely that these exemptions were given for the patients’ personal beliefs, which under California law, is illegal.

This is frightening. While the vaccination rate among kindergarteners has dropped less than one percentage point (.9%), the concentration of unprotected people is what is concerning. According to physicians, 95 percent of people near one another must be immunized to prevent the spread of disease. This is called herd immunity. So, if a few people are not vaccinated, there is no significant threat. However, an entire community could be at higher risk for disease outbreak if it contains multiple low-vaccine-rate schools. And several California communities fit these alarming criteria.

According to data collected by the L.A. Times, about 1,500 schools in California reported a kindergarten vaccine rate under the safe limit of 95 percent. And 400 of these schools can be found in Los Angeles county, half of which are located within a half-mile of each other. So, in the case of disease outbreak, entire communities could be at serious risk.

What to do…

Be sure that you and your children are up to date on required immunizations, including the yearly flu shot. These preventative measures will not only impact your own health but that of those around you. And if you are concerned about the vaccination rate at your school, check out Shots for School to see how your’s is doing. Take care and stay up-to-date on your vaccines!

We at Bernardini and Donovan strive to promote the health of you and your family. We are here for your health insurance needs and prepared to assist your particular requirements. Do not hesitate to call on us for unmatched health insurance services.

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