Tag Archives: Consumer

Omaha Firms Join Forces to Meet Growing Consumer Demand for Medicare Advice


Omaha, Neb. (PRWEB) September 10, 2014

Two Omaha companies have partnered to address an emerging national trend in the financial planning, insurance and health care industries: more consumers are seeking advice on how to pick the right Medicare health plan and incorporate those health care expenses into retirement plans.

Securities America, a broker-dealer with more than 1,800 financial professionals nationwide, is working with Medicare BackOffice™, a team of insurance agents licensed, contracted and certified in all 50 states to provide Medicare advice and products. While Medicare BackOffice™ agents ultimately work directly with consumers, the company’s initial customers are financial advisors or other professionals who want to help their clients navigate Medicare while continuing to concentrate on their primary business.

“As health care costs continue to climb, more people approaching retirement are asking their advisors for advice on picking a Medicare health insurance plan and keeping health care affordable,” said Brian Hickey, Medicare BackOffice™ vice president. “We created Medicare BackOffice to help financial advisors and other professionals who don’t specialize in Medicare meet this demand so they aren’t turning clients away – and potentially losing them forever.”

By offering Medicare BackOffice™ to its financial advisors, Securities America provides a value-added service that distinguishes the company from other broker-dealers, said Zach Parker, first vice president of income distribution and product strategy at Securities America.

“At Securities America, we pride ourselves on equipping our financial advisors with tools that provide exceptional service to clients,” Parker said. “Medicare BackOffice™ gave us two solutions – first, a way for our advisors to better serve consumers who are asking for help with Medicare; and secondly, yet another way to set us apart from competitors, so that financial advisors know they’re getting an edge when they work with Securities America.”

USA Today in April reported that more than half of retirees responding to an annual survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute are not confident that they have saved enough to pay their medical expenses during retirement. The finding came at the same time the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that health care spending rose at the fastest pace in 10 years in the fourth quarter of 2013.

“Consumers already are feeling the pinch of higher health care spending and want help managing those expected costs in the future,” said Medicare BackOffice’s Hickey. “Financial advisors who help them with that first step – choosing the right Medicare health plan – fortify their relationship as a trusted advisor, ensuring that they’ll return when they need help with other financial needs. A broker-dealer or independent financial advisor doesn’t need to be a Medicare expert to help clients. Now, all they have to do is refer them to Medicare BackOffice™.”

About Medicare BackOffice™

Based in Omaha, Nebraska, Medicare BackOffice™ is a support service for broker-dealers, independent financial advisors, insurance agents and other professionals, helping their clients find the right Medicare health insurance plan. Professionals simply refer clients to Medicare BackOffice’s team of dedicated insurance agents, who are licensed, contracted and certified in all 50 states to provide Medicare advice and products from insurance carriers that are “A”-rated or better. By making clients’ search for Medicare answers easier and stress-free, Medicare BackOffice™ strengthens the referring professional’s relationship with clients. For more information, visit http://www.medicarebackoffice.com. Medicare BackOffice™ is not connected with or endorsed by the United States government or the federal Medicare program.    

About Securities America

Securities America is one of the nation’s largest independent broker-dealers with more than 1,800 independent advisors responsible for more than $ 50 billion in client assets.







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Consumer Reports Poll Finds Over One Third of Consumers More Confused on Health Law Since Start of Open Enrollment

Yonkers, NY (PRWEB) December 11, 2013

One month after the start of open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, a new survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center shows that many American consumers now feel more confused about the law, the insurance marketplaces and how the ACA will impact them.

The nationally representative survey asked consumers whether they felt better or less informed about the law over the last month. Participants were also asked to identify whether statements describing elements of the law were true or false.

Key findings of the Consumer Reports survey of Americans’ understanding of the new health law include:


Less understanding of the law. Overall, 38% of respondents indicated they felt LESS informed over the course of the past month.

Incorrect beliefs about features of the law. Nearly half (48%) thought the ACA established a government-run health plan. Thirty-six percent thought the new law allowed the government to control their selection of doctors, and 30 percent believed the law set up government panels that would dictate decisions about end-of-life care. In contrast, one-quarter or less of respondents correctly identified these as false statements.

Lack of reliable information source. Ninety percent of respondents selected at least one barrier to the attainment of reliable information about Obamacare. They were inclined to spread the blame areas among several actors: conflicting news reports (52%), complexity of the law itself (52%), biased information coming from Congress (50%), uncertainly about whose opinions on the laws should be trusted (48%), conflicting information in TV ads (47%), biased information coming from the White House (44%) and biased information coming from state officials (38%).

“The American health insurance system has long been the world’s most complicated, and now consumers are being asked to understand an entirely new set of rules and procedures in addition,” said Nancy Metcalf, who covers health insurance and the new health law as a Consumer Reports senior editor. “No wonder they feel confused and unsure where to turn for reliable information. But with open enrollment underway and HealthCare.gov working more smoothly, consumers need help so they don’t miss out on getting the right coverage for themselves and their families.”

Consumers who need coverage in place by Jan. 1 must enroll by Dec. 23. Open enrollment runs through March 31, 2014.

Consumer Reports has designed a free, new online tool called http://www.HealthLawHelper.org to cut through the clutter and confusion and deliver personalized, tailored results for consumers about how the Affordable Care Act affects them, no matter what their insurance status, including those whose plans were recently cancelled because they don’t meet the new law’s requirements. By answering a few simple, anonymous questions (age, insurance status, family size, income etc), consumers will receive a results page outlining the different options available to them and any next steps they may need to take, based on the information they provide.

HealthLawHelper.org will also alert users not only to possible financial help in paying for private health insurance, but will also tell them if they or any family members might qualify for other programs such as Medicaid or CHIP.

The tool is also available in Spanish at http://www.AseguraTuSalud.org and has been optimized for mobile devices.

Metcalf is also blogging on a new topic related to Obamacare every day. All this content can be found at http://www.ConsumerReports.org/cro/health/insurance/health-care-countdown/index.htm.

Consumer Reports Poll Methodology

The Consumer Reports National Research Center’s national representative telephone survey about consumer understanding of the Affordable Care Act between November 8-10, 2013 included 1,000 U.S. residents (18 and older) and was fielded by vendor ORC International. Respondents, who were screened to meet national demographics, were asked their understanding of the provisions of the 2010 ACA one month following its rollout in October of 2013. The margin of error is + / – 3.0 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

For a copy of the survey report, contact Joe Duraes or Kara Kelber.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

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© Consumer Reports 2013. The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®. More information about Consumer Reports’ No Commercial Use and Linking policy can be found here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/about-us/no-commercial-use-policy/index.htm.