You could try using simple Web videos to support your Medicare plan sales efforts.
Insurers will still pay agents something (maybe not quite enough, but something) to bring them Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage customers.
If you have, or can borrow, a 12-year-old kid who posts skateboarding videos on the web, you can experiment with getting recordings of your own online at little or no cost.
But, of course, there are only so many hours in the day. You may prefer to stick with other prospecting methods, such as setting up card tables at drug stores, or at events popular with older consumers.
Producing your own Web videos could make the most sense for agents who:
Enjoy posting videos on the Web for phone, or have ready access to friends or close relatives who do.
Know how to handle federal, state and carrier compliance requirements.
Already run existing email or social media marketing campaigns that could herd consumers to the videos.
If, for example, you often find yourself promoting boring insurance-related web videos in your agency's email newsletter, partly because finding better or fresher videos about a particular insurance topic is difficult, that might be a sign it's time for you to figure out how to use the video recording system in your phone, and see if you can do better.
On average, consumers who are eligible for Medicare because of age may be less likely to watch video online than other consumers are, but plenty of people over 64 watch television shows and other video programming online.
Brandon Gaille reported in his marketing blog in March that YouTube alone attracted more than 19 million visitors age 65 and older in February, and that about 75 percent of all internet users ages 65 and older had visited YouTube at least once in February.
Older users tend to spend less time on YouTube, "but that's likely due to the type of content that is popular on YouTube today," Gaille writes. "Older viewers are looking for home remodeling tips, auto mechanic help, and other practical resources, instead of beauty, skin, or video game tips."
If you are an experienced Medicare product seller, and you know how the Medicare plans available in your area really work when the enrollees file claims, you may have the ability to provide immensely practical web video resources.
The number of consumers spontaneously looking online for insurance videos may be modest, but the flow of new, reasonably in-depth insurance videos also tends to be modest.
The Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare Part D annual election period started Saturday. The start of the open enrollment period might seem to be a good time for Medicare plan marketers to launch Medicare plan videos, but a YouTube search showed that marketers had introduced only 13 YouTube videos with "Medicare Advantage" and enrollment as keywords in the previous month, and only 39 in the previous year.
Most of the Medicare videos had 10 to 100 views.
George Ibanez, a managing general agent at Miami-based Medigap Today, led the YouTube Medicare plan video pack for the year, with about 10,000 views between June 13 and Oct. 16 of this year.
For a look at the seven most-watched Medicare product YouTube videos uploaded in the month before the Medicare Advantage election period, and a discussion of the videomakers' strategies, read on:
7. Brian Fricke
Brian Fricke, the founder of Winter Springs, Florida-based Financial Management Concepts, has posted about one video per week over the past year.
In the latest video, which had seven views at press time, Fricke uses a title, "How to avoid the biggest Medicare open enrollment mistake," that seems to set his video apart from other Medicare enrollment basics videos.
Fricke's point is that many Medicare enrollees spend more than they have to because they fail to work with financial professionals to review their coverage arrangements every year.
While giving his talk, Fricke stands in front of a bookshelf. At a couple of points, he and his team insert graphics, but they rely mainly on straightforward video of Fricke speaking.
6. Dale Stringer
Dale Stringer, an agent at Dallas-based First Medicare Advisors, has 11 insurance-related videos on his YouTube channel.
At press time, the Stringer video on this list, his second newest, had generated 13 views. In the video, Stringer gives a plainspoken explanation of how the Medicare annual enrollment period works.
Stringer sits (or stands) in front of a plain white background and talks.
Stringer says at the end of the video that a consumer who wants to know about the local options needs to talk to a financial services professional to understand all of the many coverage options, "because they're all different in every ZIP code in America."
Related: Simple pictures are best
5. Keith Murray
Murray, the owner of Avera, Georgia-based Integrity Senior Solutions, has 13 videos posted on his YouTube channel.
In the video listed here, Murray sticks mainly with sitting at his desk and speaking into the camera. At one point, the video uses still shots of excerpts from the government's 2017 "Medicare & You" pamphlet.
Murray distinguishes his video from Medicare basics videos by focusing on specific concern: "Unhappy with Medicare Advantage? How to leave your plan."
Murray points out that some Medicare Advantage enrollees are unhappy with the plans' high out-of-pocket costs.
At press time, Murray's video had 18 views.
4. Today's TMJ4
Tom Qualley, the chief executive officer of Brookfield, Wisconsin-based Sovereign Select, got himself into fifth place on this list by appearing as a guest on a morning news show aired by TMJ4-TV, an NBC affiliate in Milwaukee.
Tiffany Ogle, the host, interviewed Qualley about how the Medicare plan market works, how the Medicare program is changing, and how consumers can get the most value for their money.
At press time, the segment had attracted 21 views.
An agent emphasizes that a zero-premium Medicare Advantage plan is not actually "free." (Video: Medicare Inc.com/YouTube)
Jared Lewis, of MedicareInc.com, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based insurance agency, has posted nine videos in the past month. All focus on the Medicare plan market.
In the video here, "Medicare Supplement or Advantage plan — risk of choosing Advantage or 'free' Medicare plan" — Lewis talks about the disadvantages of using Medicare Advantage coverage, such as loss of access to some providers and, in some cases, high out-of-pocket costs.
Plans with high out-of-pocket costs can make budgeting for someone living on a fixed income difficult, Lewis says.
The video relies mainly on Lewis speaking into the camera. At one point, he shares the screen with some graphics.
At press time, the MedicareInc.com video had 52 views.
A regional carrier added narration to a slidedeck. (Video: choosedean/YouTube)
2. Dean Medicare Advantage
Madison, Wisconsin-based Dean Health Plan has been posting one or two YouTube videos per week over the past year.
In this video, which introduces the nonprofit carrier's 2017 Medicare Advantage plans, the company keeps production simple by combining static slides with narration.
At press time, the video had 98 views.
Related: ACA exchanges: The early days
1. Group Health
Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative, a nonprofit, member-owned health insurer, has posted about 30 YouTube videos in the past year.
In this video, "When should you enroll in Medicare?", the carrier uses Milo, "the dog who did your Medicare homework," to explain Medicare eligibility and enrollment basics.
The production team combines videos of a real dog with cute, professionally created and animated graphics to try to help consumers understand the differences between the Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D enrollment periods.
At press time, the video had already attracted 1,542 views, partly because Group Health puts links to the videos on its own, high-traffic Medicare enrollment website.
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