The June 1, 2010 changeover for existing Medicare supplements (commonly called “Med supps”) has created a golden opportunity for insurance advisors to better serve their clients’ needs. Medicare supplements are a straightforward sale, and they’re a great opportunity to provide more service to your current book of business.

As an insurance producer who may be active in the senior marketplace, your clients have probably asked you if you have a solution to the vast array of Medicare options available today. Your response may have included something like, “No; I prefer to concentrate on life insurance-related products so I don’t get involved with it.”

What happened to the days of full service? It can be hard to find a business of any kind these days that provides full service. Is that the case in the insurance and financial services industry? We all know it certainly should not be; with such a wide variety of products, many producers choose to concentrate on one or two specialties and become experts in those areas. That makes sense, but if you’re looking to grow revenues and fully service your clients, you can now add another arrow to your quiver with just a little bit of effort — Medicare supplements.

Why now?

June 1, 2010 opened up new and exciting possibilities in the Medicare supplement business. Every Med supp sold after that date is a new product, and Med supps sold before that date were grandfathered and guaranteed to remain in force as is. Many people will want to learn about the changes, and some may be interested in changing plans.

What provides the opportunity?

Clients are making changes to plans and advisors for several reasons. First, the previous Medicare supplement producer may have forgotten about the customer after the sale since these sales require no service support, and thus little reason to maintain client relationships. Given your full-service client relationship, you’ll be able to help the client as concerns arise by answering questions and exploring other options, adding additional value.

In addition, new rates are all over the map. Some are higher, some are lower, but there will surely be surprises, which you can assess and address.

Finally, two brand new plans have been introduced – plans M and N. These plans are designed to emulate Medicare Advantage, with a variety of deductibles and co-insurances.

How to add Medicare supps to your practice

The business of Medicare supplements is not complicated, nor are the new plans. If you intend to be a full-service agent and don’t want to personally adjust your client’s Medicare needs, you can build an alliance with an associate who can address those needs with you jointly, or hire someone within your own agency to follow your business. When you share the wealth, everyone gains, but more importantly, your customer is less likely to go down the street to an unknown source for their Medicare needs, possibly putting your relationship with the client at risk.

If you’re regularly meeting senior needs with only one or two popular product lines, you’re leaving money on the table and ignoring your clients’ Medicare needs. Excuses such as “I don’t want to learn new products,” “It’s just too complicated,” or “Let somebody else do it” just won’t work and are the perfect excuse for someone else to get to know your clients.

The client/advisor relationship is built on service. With a little effort on your part and a solid, built-in referral system, you can service your clients’ Medicare needs and put a smile on everyone’s face. Now that’s full service.

C. Michael Replogle is the Medicare supplement sales manager for Crump Life Insurance Services’ Long Term Care Solution Center. He can be reached at 800-678-4582 ext. 6519 or michael.replogle@crump.com.