Regarding the article Stark calls for cap on Medicare Advantage sales commissions:
I think that if Rep. Pete Stark had to jump through the hoops to obtain all the credentialing that CMS is requiring and deal with the pressure they are placing on the agents this year because of a minority of agents across the country; pay for the gasoline for the running back and forth to sell these clients; and pay for the prospecting cost it takes to obtain clients, he might have a little more compassion for the agent. If you look at the entire industry as a whole, commissions for Medicare Advantage sales are no higher for what effort that is put into it than any other product, in fact it is much less for the time and effort it takes to make a sale. Most agents are interested in doing what is best for the client. Anyone who thinks that most agents are going to run out there and start switching clients to another plan just for the commission is fooling himself and grandstanding. The minority always sets the rules for the majority, and that still holds true. There have been so many threats by the CMS passed down through insurance companies and field marketing offices that many individuals who sold last year have chosen not to get involved. They dont want to jump through the hoops to contract, certify and hope they can figure out an honest way to market these plans this year besides constantly looking over their shoulders. About the only option they give us is direct mail and you know what happens to most direct mail this day and time and at todays postage prices, you can spend a heck of a lot of money getting very little results or none.
With all that said, you still have to service the client after the sale, and believe me it can be daunting as most retired individuals are very difficult to educate regarding Medicare even with all the material that is sent to them from the CMS and marketing companies. You can spend enormous amounts of time educating them, explaining the plan and leave mountains of information, and they still are confused. To add to that problem, the first person at the doctors office who never sold an insurance policy in their life and doesnt know squat about the billing process and who says anything negative about the plan incites the client to cancel and look for something else. What I want to know is who made them the expert? I see it over and over!
I would like to ask Stark what he thinks about us overpaid, churning insurance agents with that said. I would like to see him spend one selling cycle in the field and see what happens to his attitude!
Like most bureaucrats, he has a biased view of the big picture. Ask yourself how much of a pay cut is he willing to take this year? It would be interesting to get the answer to that question.
Randy D. CherrySecure ChoiceJefferson City, Mo.
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