When an intended upgrade to Medicare’s Plan Finder website left insurance agents across the country scrambling at the start of their busiest season, employee wellness, Senior Market Sales® (SMS) quickly provided a solution with two important enhancements to its Lead Advantage Pro® platform Hrtech.
“The controversy over Medicare.gov’s quoting tools demonstrates the critical role that technology plays for agents, especially with a commoditized product like Medicare insurance where volume matters,” said Dwane McFerrin, Vice President of Medicare Solutions at SMS. “Agents who figure out how to leverage tools to create efficiencies, strengthen their process, and make better recommendations will win.”
Agents are flocking to SMS’ technology solutions in numbers the company has never seen before, McFerrin said. And the industry is taking note. SMS made industry news for its ability to provide a quick solution to the controversial changes.
While consumers and agents welcomed the long-overdue redesign of Medicare.gov’s Plan Finder, both protested some of the changes when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced details just weeks before the start of Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP), which is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Agents who for years had relied on the Plan Finder were suddenly left with no way to access drug lists for their clients.
With just days to find a solution for agents, SMS was the first insurance marketing organization to integrate data from Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 into its own technology. Blue Button 2.0 is a new feature that allows consumers to select who may access their Medicare information to help them find a plan. SMS innovated to integrate that data — including clients’ prescription drugs, provider(s) and pharmacy information — into Lead Advantage Pro. The integration allows agents to save time while running the most accurate quotes possible, largely by eliminating the need to re-enter prescription drugs for each client. While CMS did restore accessibility to drug lists for this open enrollment only, SMS’ quick action provided an immediate fix as well as a permanent solution for agents.
Also this AEP, SMS expanded Lead Advantage Pro’s quoting capabilities from only SMS carriers to all Part D Prescription Drug plan carriers, providing agents a superior quoting alternative. While thousands of agents have relied on the SMS tool for years, this enhancement elevates its real-world usefulness even more. Lead Advantage Pro now allows agents to manage leads, run multi-carrier quotes and facilitate quick online enrollments all in one platform.
“During AEP, every minute counts,” McFerrin said. “Senior market agents faced unprecedented challenges at the start of this AEP because of the unexpected Plan Finder changes. But our agents were still able to hit the ground running.”
SMS’ ability to anticipate and adapt quickly to changing forces in the insurance industry has made it a leader in the senior market, providing technology that supports agents in the field. In addition to being first to roll out Blue Button 2.0 integration, SMS was first to introduce technology that:
- Eliminated agents’ manual entry of drugs in drug lookup tools
- Allowed agents to enroll clients in Medicare by iPad
- Queried multiple carrier provider directories
- Provided a fillable PDF on carrier applications
- Enabled an electronic Scope of Appointment process
“Our mission at SMS is to help insurance and financial planning professionals leverage time, make more money and put their business in a position of distinction,” McFerrin said. “Today and in the coming years, that means our technology must deliver real-world solutions that make a difference in the lives of our agents and in the lives of their clients.”
About Senior Market Sales, Inc.
Senior Market Sales® (SMS) supports independent insurance and retirement planning professionals so they can focus on growing their businesses and building meaningful client relationships. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, SMS provides everything from proprietary technology and expansive products to expert training and marketing programs. By providing big-picture perspective and strategies and all-in-one place efficiencies, SMS has helped thousands of health and wealth planning professionals for nearly four decades reach new levels of success. Visit http://www.SeniorMarketSales.com for more information.