Work with Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans

People are retiring with less financial resources than they had ten years ago. This changes the current Medicare marketing landscape. Consider Medicare Dual eligible beneficiaries account for more than 20 percent of the Medicare population, leaving about 12.7 million Americans needing your knowledge, experience, and guidance. Let’s review some of the advantages of selling Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (DSNPs) and the population these plans serve.  

What is a Dual Special Needs Plan? 

Dual Special Needs Plans (DSNPs) are for low-income individuals entitled to and enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid state plans. These plans are designed for the specific unique needs of this underserved demographic. They include various extra benefits such as dental coverage (often dentures), vision coverage, hearing aids, grocery assistance, transportation (often non-medical), and more. 

Why Sell Dual Special Needs Plans? 

As an insurance agent, you encounter people from all walks of life. However, their specific needs vary from person to person, zip code to zip code, and state to state, depending on health conditions, lifestyles, budgets, and social determinants of health. Understanding this is key to avoiding a common pitfall of maintaining a “one size fits all” approach to marketing. Diversifying your skill set and expertise to include DSNPs helps build your business by growing revenue and increasing your referral stream but also increases your retention and protects your business from competing agent poaching. 

Selling D-SNPs benefits you, but it may be even more critical for the clients you serve. It’s essential to understand this population is largely underserved, typically very connected to their community and local services, and has a powerful word of mouth. There is an abundance of beneficiaries seeking help to navigate and understand their health insurance options. A little extra work on the front end of the relationship can practically guarantee referrals. Best practices include educating them to advocate for themselves, be responsive, and be respectful. Get involved consistently within their communities by volunteering at food banks, organizing a food drive, connecting with places of worship, or developing a relationship with the local pharmacy or Family Dollar-type store in a community. Simple things to suggest during your appointment, such as designating a drawer or place where Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance mail can be placed for future reference. Often they avoid this mail, and it can cause delays and disruption in service. Attention to detail differentiates you from other agents. Adding your phone number to their phone and their phone number to yours goes a long way in cultivating a new relationship as well. 

The relationship component of working with DSNPs is critical for long-term success. If you are an agent who focuses on volume and app counts rather than relationship and retention, you may find that DSNPs are not the right market for you. Agents that genuinely desire to help others through their business and seek to improve the quality of life for the people they serve will thrive selling DSNPs.

If you’re interested in growing your business in the DSNP market, remember these things:

  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Sharpen your skills.
  • Know your state plans.
  • Educate your clients with practical and straightforward information.
  • Seek to understand their particular needs and the community services they utilize. 

Finally, Dual Eligible individuals live in low-income urban and rural areas. These areas may be unfamiliar, and you may find yourself outside your comfort zone. That’s OK. It can be challenging in the beginning and sometimes uncomfortable. So, when working with the DSNP market, keep an open mind and seek to understand. It can be both emotionally and financially rewarding. Remember, without your help, this underserved population may otherwise not receive the coverage, benefits, and quality of life they need and deserve.

For more information on DSNP’s, what products are available in your area, and how to get started, please reach out to the UIG Brokerage Team.