As us cold calling sales agents polish up our sales scripts for another Open Enrollment, we may be in for a challenging quarter. Prospecting health insurance leads in the face of rising premiums and government regulation isn’t easy.
Some would say it’s also a turbulent time for those Americans struggling to buy and keep health insurance. Daily media stories shock with news of premium spikes and some insurers are indeed leaving the ACA exchanges to shore up profits. All with mere weeks to go before the next Open Enrollment.
For insurance sellers, the focus should be on getting more health insurance clients on board this November. In this complex environment, this calls for your creativity and planning to get new clients onboarded now and then meeting their evolving needs in an uncertain future. Here’s how.
Note Up to 4 Million Need Coverage Now
Consider the plight of those health insurance customers on the exchange looking at fewer insurers and higher costs. For these folks, options are shrinking.
Industry research by GfK reports a number of customers are pessimistic about the ACA.
- 33% of survey respondents think their insurer will exit their exchange in 2017.
- 32% don’t think they’ll find suitable replacement coverage on the ACA that meets their needs for 2017.
Depending on whose exchange signup numbers you look at, these exchange customers represent between 3 and 4 million currently insured customers who may end up with no coverage in 2017.
Even more revealing is what those folks who lose ACA coverage could do next.
- 13% said they would just go without any health insurance.
- 43% said they would try to find something else on the exchange.
- 35% said they would quit worrying about trying to stay on the exchange and go directly to an insurer or agent for their coverage needs.
GfK’s survey suggests that health insurance leads aren’t all that picky — as long as they can find coverage that fits their needs at a reasonable price, they’ll buy.
- 66% said they weren’t concerned with brand loyalty at all.
- 20% more said they would consider a competitor’s coverage options.
That’s an 86% opportunity to capture exchange customers from competitors!
Push the Benefits of Short-Term Medical
Some of these exchange customers may be able to go the open market and buy market-priced coverage from you. However, don’t discount those other leads who exit the exchange.
For these millions of Americans, some coverage may be better than none. That’s a case you can make to these leads now, with an opportunity to sell fuller policy coverage to your loyal customers in the future.
A short-term medical policy may be a good option for some of these shoppers — young people in good health, recent grads, the temporarily underemployed, workers between jobs, new hires waiting for group coverage to kick in, and so on.
To be sure, short-term medical does have its drawbacks — preexisting condition clauses, sick patient exclusions, and renewal health requirements, among other exceptions. These policies also don’t typically meet the ACA’s minimum coverage requirement, meaning customers may be liable for the Obamacare tax penalty.
However, many short-term policies offer easy sign-up and no-penalty cancellation, a wide network of health care providers, and lower premiums than many ACA plans.
Be Ready to Nurture Continuing Relationships
Of course, the key to turning a short-term medical customer into a long-term health insurance client is in your service. Stellar service, a consultative problem-solving focus, and attentiveness to each individual prospect’s needs is a must.
Even though short-term coverage isn’t a long-term solution, it is a great way to get new clientele on board now. Experts think the ACA exchange crunch could drive millions of health care buyers into the short-term coverage market over the next few months.
We can’t control the future of the ACA, but we can control how we respond to the landscape. Push to get coverage for your health insurance leads, even if it’s for the short term, to get more customers on your rolls and use this opportunity to set your business up for further growth down the road.
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