Sunday, December 21, 2008

Medicare Beneficiaries May See a Dearth of Advice in 2009

Medicare beneficiaries should be aware (if not angry) that getting advice on Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans will be much tougher in 2009.

Just 4 days prior to the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) mandated a cut in compensation to independent advisers educated and certified to assist Medicare beneficiaries in their enrollment. For help and qualified advice in PA NJ or DE try this organization:

In this stroke of socialist and anti-business policy making CMS has forced independent advisers out of the business. Come 2009 many of the better qualified, and most experienced agents will re-focus their business efforts into business segments where they are fairly compensated. Having committed resources many professionals were already committed to the 2008 Annual enrollment season but this has turned into a losing proposition. (CMS change came days before in a most unprofessional implementation – Credit card companies by example have been given 18 months before their industry modification takes effects) Many professional, qualified advisors had no other choice but to remain involved for the 2008 Annual Enrollment Period in hopes to recoup already sunk cost. Even more troubling, this ruling did not apply to the single choice, biased, insurance company employees – (Can you say “political contributions”) - they will be compensated at about 10x the amount of independent advisers (when you include reasonable overhead, costs, and expenses required for normal business operations).

So buyer beware; the less objective insurance company salesmen will gladly enroll you in their company policy. But don’t expect them to tell you if there is a better choice available. How’s that for looking out for the senior population? Nice work CMS.

Medicare beneficiaries are strongly encouraged to contact their representative and tell them:
a) That advice on Medicare Advantage and Medicare Rx plans is extremely important!
b) That in a democratic, capitalist society compensation should not be regulated, free markets are part of this countries foundation and have worked until now.
c) That these new regulations will create a vacuum of advice that will likely be filled by less qualified, biased, and/or unethical individuals.
d) That we have recommended and support additional oversight but not unfair market regulations.
e) Agencies should be held accountable for bad agents and that excess complaints should result in license revocation.

Every industry wants to weed out the bad apples, and rein in excess cost, however CMS's current guidelines are just unsophisticated and archaic. They were poorly devised, and poorly implemented. Those in the business between fits of frustration are stunned by the lack of intelligence and sophistication in the newest guidelines. Medicare beneficiaries should be as well.

We encourage everyone on Medicare, who knows someone on Medicare, or is simply insulted by the poor performance of our government and government agencies should contact your local representative and/or these additional Representatives: Stark, Grassley, Baucus, Hatch, and Rockefeller. For additional comments and contact information see November blogs....

Let them know how you feel and that incompetence will no longer be tolerated.