How Many MedSupp Products Do You Need?

Limited Portfolio StampThere are many times in conversations with agents about Medicare Supplement plans that, when asking what products the agent offers, I’ve received this type of response:

I write all of my clients with ABC Medicare Supplement.  I don’t need anything else.

While there may be one dominant product in a given area, it is not a good idea to limit your options for helping your clients.  Here are some thoughts as to some reasons why agents need to seriously consider having multiple product options in their portfolio.


It has been my experience that when agents look at rates for Medicare Supplement products, most of the discussion centers around the rates for consumers who are turning 65.  While that may be a large part of an agent’s new business, that certainly isn’t all of the business.  There are many consumers who are older than age 65 who either are new to Medicare Supplement, looking to switch from their current plan, or are leaving Medicare Advantage.  Often times, the carrier that has the best rates at age 65 is not the one that has the best rates at age 69, 72, or 75.


When dealing with consumers who are outside of their Open Enrollment Period, the underwriting questions on a particular application become of critical importance.  What good are great rates if your client can’t get approved?  Many agents will try to have multiple options in their portfolio specifically for that reason.  Some things to look at to make those decisions are the underwriting questions, underwriting guides, and declinable drug lists.  Many agents will add a product simply because of how they view a particular medical condition; for example, whether the carrier will allow an applicant to use small levels of insulin for treatment of diabetes.

Rate Increase History

Agents that write Medicare Supplement in volume know that the worst part of their business is having to go back to a large book of business and move them to another product.  Why would an agent have to move their book?  Because a massive rate increase has aggravated their clients!  Sometimes clients will even specifically ask as to what a particular company’s rate increase history has been, either in that state or nationally.  Many times, it is a better move to recommend a product that – while a few dollars more expensive right now – projects to have a much more consistent rate over the long term.  It will lead to happier clients, as well as less time wasted moving clients simply to retain commissions the agent is already earning.

It may turn out that, as an agent writing Medicare Supplement business, most of your clients will end up in the same product.  However, not having additional options could potentially cost you business or run the risk of wasted time rolling large numbers of clients.


About Bill Kiray

Bill Kiray is the Assistant Vice President of Neishloss & Fleming. Bill coordinates and plans all outbound marketing initiatives, manages top distributor and carrier relationship, and provides high level product and market knowledge to agents.

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2 Responses to How Many MedSupp Products Do You Need?

  1. Tessa Rado June 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Well put, Bill. You make a lot of valid points. It’s always good to present options when making a sale. We offer well rounded services here as well, to custom fit the needs of each individual agent.

  2. Tangie Harlan August 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Excellent topic! Really successful businesses always offers more than one option to cater to the melting pot that is our home. Great way to break it down simply for us and hammer home the importance of a well-rounded portfolio. Thanks Bill!

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