Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Timeline
Focusing on Your Unique Selling Proposition
Identifying Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Improving Your Customer Service
Create a Consistent, Targeted Marketing Plan
Advertising in the Age of Obamacare
How to Remain Consistent in Your Advertising Methods
Long Term Marketing in the Age of Obamacare
We are entering into a whole new age of health insurance marketing –
the age of Obamacare.
The rules have changed, the regulations have changed, and we now
prepare to enter into the new world of healthcare reform.
This of course, is great news for the insurance companies who will
beneﬁt from millions of new customers that are now required to
maintain health insurance coverage.
But what does this mean for you and your agency? And, better yet, what
are the new rules when it comes to marketing in the age of
To be able to eﬀectively come up with a new marketing strategy you’ll
have to be capable of the following:
• Understanding the Aﬀordable Care Act and How it Will Aﬀect You
• Finding Your Unique Selling Proposition
• Focusing on Customer Service
• Targeting Your Niche
• Coming up with a long term marketing strategy
In the following chapters we’ll walk through some of the important
regulations regarding The Aﬀordable Care Act, how to compete in the
age of Obamacare, and how to set up a long term health insurance
Perhaps one of the biggest issues of Patient Protection and Aﬀordable
Care Act, also commonly referred to as Obamacare, is that no one
seems to clearly understand it. Since it’s your job as an insurance agent
to help your clients clearly and concisely understand these new laws,
it’s time to take a deep look at Obamacare so that you can better
understand it yourself.
Patient Protection and Aﬀordable Care Act Timeline
The Patient Protection and Aﬀordable Care Act was signed by President
Barack Obama in March of 2010. Several laws have taken place since
then and several more will take place in the next few years.
Let’s take a look at what has already happened and what will happen in
the future if Obamacare remains in force.
• President Obama signs the Patient Protection and
Aﬀordable Care Act
• A high risk pool set up by the government to cover high risk
adults until insurance plans are required to provide this coverage
in January of 2014.
• Insurers can no longer reject children under the age of 18
for pre-existing health conditions.
• Adult children up to the age of 26 can be insured on their
parents plan as dependents.
• Insurance plans can no longer impose an annual of lifetime
limit on a policyholders’ beneﬁts.
• Insurance companies are no longer allowed to use rescissions
to abruptly cancel insurance holder’s policies.
• Small business with 25 or fewer employees can receive a tax
credit of up to 35 percent.
• Medicare prescription drug plan donut hole begins to close.
• Health Spending Accounts and Flexible Savings accounts cannot
be used to pay for over the counter drugs.
• Medical expense income tax deductions increase from 7.5
percent to 10 percent.
• Medicaid expanded across the United to Stats to an income level
up to 133 percent the poverty line in every state. (Individual states
have the power to opt out of the “new” Medicaid regulations)
• Health exchanges begin to oﬀer insurance to individuals and
• Americans who do not have health insurance will be required to
pay a ﬁne. The maximum amount is $285
• Adults ages 18 and older cannot be rejected for
• Adults under age 30 can buy catastrophic plans for a low
cost through health care exchanges.
• Insurance plans are required to have “essential health beneﬁts”
• Tax credit of up to 50 percent available to small business with
25 or fewer employees. (Expires at the end of 2015)
• Americans who do have health insurance subject to a maximum
penalty of $975.
• Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) can begin making
recommendations to cut Medicare spending.
• Americans who do not have health insurance subject to a
maximum penalty of $2,085.
• States can choose to open health exchanges to large businesses
with more than 100 employees.
• Independent Payment Advisory Boards recommendation about
Medicare’s budget can be implemented.
• Tax on Cadillac insurance plans begin.
The states will play a large role in how the Aﬀordable Care Act is
followed through. Each state will have a choice to opt in or out of the
new Medicare laws, which state that “new eligibles” will qualify for
Medicare if their income falls into 133% poverty line.
The states will also individually be responsible for setting up their own
health care exchanges. If they choose not to set up a health care
exchange then the federal government will set one up for them.
The individual states will also decide what role insurance brokerages
play into Obamacare, if any.
FOCUSING ON YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION
Currently instead of using brokers the health exchanges will use “health
care navigators” to help shoppers understand and purchase their
policies online. This could be devastating news for insurance agents.
The appeal of the health exchange will leave many clients who once
purchased private health insurance to switch to one of the new “more
aﬀordable” insurance plans. Retaining your business and earning new
business is going to be harder than ever.
A lot of changes will take place over the next couple of years and at this
point it’s tough to determine how those changes are going to pan out. It
could be years before we see the full eﬀect of Obamacare.
One things for sure: taking a new approach to your marketing is an
absolute necessity. Let’s further explore how you can do this.
The age of Obamacare means increased competition for you. Instead
of competing against other brokers you’ll now be competing against
Millions of uninsured individuals will now be required to purchase
health insurance. However, many of these individuals will qualify for
Medicaid or a discounted health insurance plan and won’t seek out
private health insurance.
In the age of Obamacare one of two things will happen to your book of
health insurance business. 1. It will dramatically decrease due to
millions of individuals ﬂocking to the health exchange market place. 2.
You can ﬁnd your unique selling proposition and grow faster than ever.
This all depends of how you position yourself.
There are nearly 2 million residents in Georgia but only 100 health care
navigators hired to navigate these residents through the online health
exchange. There are numbers similar to this among other states as well.
This means health exchange customer service is going to be shaky - to
put it nicely. Thousands of individuals with question regarding their
health insurance plans will go unanswered.
Individuals purchasing insurance by themselves will likely not fully
understand the policies that they purchase and be in for a rude
awakening when it’s time to use their healthcare plans.
Customer service will clearly be the health exchange’s biggest
In the age of Obamacare you need to center your health insurance
marketing plan on service. This is the one area in which you can knock
the competition out of the ball park. Many insured’s would be willing to
pay a little extra money for health care if they had a knowledgeable
agent or brokerage to guide them through the application process and
answer all of their questions. You can be that agent.
Your customer service needs to be stronger than ever.
Exceptional customer service should deﬁnitely be one of your unique
selling propositions but it’s also important to discover what other
qualities separate you from the competition.
To further uncover your unique selling points consider the following:
• What need does your product fulﬁll?
• What is special about your product that others wouldn’t be able
• Why are you diﬀerent than your competition? Why do
customers see you diﬀerently than the competition?
IDENTIFYING YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP)
In order to have a successful marketing campaign of any type you need
to know what makes you diﬀerent. What qualities does your product or
business have that consumers want or need?
Think of your business and products from the consumer’s point of view.
Why would they purchase from you instead of someone else? You
need to be able to answer this before you can move on to create a
successful marketing plan.
When coming up with your USP you need to keep in mind that you
cannot appeal to everyone. You need to appeal to a speciﬁc group –
the group that’s most likely to do business with you because of what
you have to oﬀer.
Trying to please everyone will only set you up for failure. Now is the
time to focus in on what makes you the best ﬁt for a certain customer
To help come up with your USP try summing up your business in no
more than two sentences. This is referred to as a “tag line” and should
be conveyed across all your marketing platforms.
To get your brain ticking here are a few big brands taglines:
• M&M’s “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not
in your hands.”
• Apple “Think diﬀerent.”
• Progressive Insurance “Think easier, think Progressive” “Now
that’s Progressive. Call or click today”
• Geico “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
• FedEx “When it absolutely, positively has to be there over night.”
• Bounty “The quicker picker upper.”
All of these taglines clearly convey the brand’s message in just a few
short words. You should be able to convey your USP in no more than
two sentences. Tune into your target market and your products
strengths. What would your tagline be? In the age of Obamacare what
is most likely to appeal to your target market that you have to oﬀer?
When you’re able to ﬁnd your unique selling proposition you’ll be able
to diﬀerentiate yourself from the competition, identify your ideal
customer, and convey a clear marketing message. The only way you’re
going to be able to excel in the age of Obamacare is by focusing on
your unique selling proposition.
The customer service that the health exchange has to oﬀer is going to
be weak. Customers are going to have a hard time getting their
questions answered and many of them will blindly buy the ﬁrst health
care plan they see.
Disappointment will spark when consumers feel like they aren’t getting
the coverage they thought they had and the service they feel like they
Going above and beyond what is expected is a sureﬁre way to drum up
your book of business and create lasting relationships with your
Now is the time to heavily educate and train your staﬀ to oﬀer the best
customer service possible.
There are a few traits that you need to possess as well as every other
employee in your oﬃce. The following things are what separate
mediocre customer service from exceptional customer service.
It can be hard to maintain patience when you’re dealing with a customer
who never seems to be happy but it’s essential that you keep your cool.
Remain patient with customers. They may have a hard time conveying
their questions about the healthcare laws and you need to do your best
to help them understand. One impatient episode where you are short
with a customer could wreak havoc on your business.
My years in the insurance business have unveiled that customers
number one complaint with agents was misleading statements. Don’t
give your customers half-truths. Don’t tell them what they want to hear,
tell them what they need to hear in the most polite way possible.
Being completely honest with your customer base is the quickest way to
earn their respect.
When it comes to a complex topic like health insurance, customers
need an agent who can attentively listen and address their questions
and concerns. You should pay enough attention to your customers to
get a sense of their frustrations without them having to spell it out for
Remember word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing,
regardless if it’s good or bad.
To keep your prospects and customers happy you need to answer their
questions and return their phone calls or emails as soon as possible.
Nobody wants to have their concerns pushed aside. Failing to return
customers phone calls will only hurt your business.
If you feel like you or your staﬀ are lacking in the customer service
department you can improve your customer service skills by doing the
• Attending customer service training events and seminars
• Sending your staﬀ to customer service training events
• Creating a manual on how to answer the phone, greet customers,
and answer customer’s questions
• Implementing a dress code
• Educate your staﬀ on the new health care regulation, the
underwriting guidelines, application process, and features of
your health insurance products
Never underestimate how far good customer service will go. If your staﬀ
can keep your customer’s questions answered and are happy to help
out, you’ll be one step in the right direction of marketing in the age of
It’s important to note that everyone in your oﬃce should consistently
maintain the same excellent level of customer service. If you are
excelling at your job as an agent helping prospects out and answering
their questions, but they’re greeted by a rude and unhelpful receptionist,
your eﬀorts will be defeated. All of the staﬀ need to be on the same
page. Think of your oﬃce as a team.
Once you are satisﬁed with the level of customer service that you and
your staﬀ are oﬀering it’s time to weigh in heavy on marketing.
CREATE A CONSISTENT, TARGETED MARKETING PLAN
There are two things we know about Obamacare. If income is 400%
within the poverty line subsidies and discounted health insurance are
oﬀered through the health care market place. Big businesses with 100
or more employees will not have access to the health exchanges until
2017, if at all.
This information helps you pick out your target clients. Individuals who
are in the top or above the 400% poverty line and large businesses
seem like ideal candidates for the health insurance products you have
to oﬀer. You won’t have to worry about tough competition due to the
price and you can diﬀerentiate yourself because of the exceptional
customer service that you oﬀer.
To narrow down your target market even further it’s important that you
know your products well. You can further niche down your list by asking
yourself the following questions.
• What age group is oﬀered the best pricing on my product?
• Who are my typical buyers?
• Where do my typical buyers live?
• Where do my typical buyers hangout?
• What type of businesses have I had success with in the past?
Once you answer these questions you’ll be able to even further narrow
down your list. In order to market to the people on this list try answering
the following questions.
• What are my prospect’s wants and needs?
• How do they feel about healthcare reform?
• How can I make them feel better about their health
You can learn about your target market through compiled data.
Compiled data is a compilation of consumer information collected from
credit bureaus, courthouse records, public domain, internet leads, and
more. Compiled data can give you heightened information about your
prospects habits and living situations.
By using compiled data alongside insurance leads you’ll be able to
discover even more information about your target market and create a
strong, quality marketing list.
After all of these questions are answered you’ll have a sense of what
your typical buyer looks like and where he hangs out. Now it’s time to
position yourself in front of him.
ADVERTISING IN THE AGE OF OBAMACARE
In the age of Obamacare you need to be everywhere. And more than
being everywhere you need to be consistent with your message. The
new health exchange’s unique selling point is price. You can’t compete
and even if you could the Aﬀordable Care Act has so much buzz it’d
almost be pointless to try. Your unique selling point needs to be service
or product related.
Once you’ve found your unique selling point it’s time to eﬀectively
advertise it and reel the business in. You should focus on a combination
of the following types of advertising:
• Online Advertising
• Direct Advertising
• Community Involvement
• Radio Advertising
You want your message to be everywhere. The average person has to
see an ad more than 7 times to remember it. Your message needs to be
loud and clear across all of these platforms. Most of all your message
needs to communicate your unique selling proposition.
Online advertising can be a whole host of ideas. One of the most
eﬀective ways to advertise online is through social media.
Let’s take Facebook for example. You can create an ad that conveys
your message and unique selling point. You can then target who you
want to see that ad by age, location, and gender. Now your ad will
appear in front of the people most likely to click on it.
You should also actively be involved in at least one social media
network that your prospects are most likely to use. Don’t use your social
network for blatant self-promotion. Instead use it to be involved in the
community and to share interesting and relevant information with your
Another eﬀective online advertising method is through Cost Per Click
(CPC) ads. CPC ads run by networks like Google will let you create an ad
and target who sees that ad according to the area they live in and the
information they search for. CPC ads can by far be the most beneﬁcial to
reach your target audience. Best of all you only pay for the ad when it’s
You can also go a bit further with online advertising by adding a blog to
your existing website. Adding useful information to your blog in regards
to what’s going on in your community, articles on insurance, and new
insurance laws will be much appreciated by your customers and keep
you from having to answer the same questions repeatedly. You should
also share your blog posts on your social media channels.
Blogs are also a great way to improve your rankings within the search
engine, therefore getting you found online by possible customers.
While billboard advertising has died down in popularity it is still a great
way to advertise if used in conjunction with other outlets. Your billboard
should clearly convey your unique selling point and should be located in
an area heavily traveled by your target customers.
Direct advertising entails you sending out letters, emails, and making
phone calls to individual prospects. You can create a direct advertising
list by ﬁrst narrowing down your target market and using compiled data
and aged leads to learn more about the prospect.
You will then be able to create custom letters that are far more eﬀective
than sending a generic letter to everyone in the phone book. You need
to be consistent in your direct advertising campaign. It may take several
methods of contact before you interest a prospect in your services.
Being involved in your community helps you gain respect, build new
relationships, and therefore increase your book of business. You should
actively look to volunteer and join clubs within your community.
Being involved in your community is perhaps some of the best
advertising you can get. People want to do business with those that care
and give back.
And last but not least, radio advertising should be added to the mix of
things. Find out which radio station your prospects listen to and set up a
short targeted ad to appeal to them. These messages should be
broadcast at the times your prospects are most likely to be listening. Do
your research beforehand. A little radio advertising can go a long way.
To create an eﬀective marketing plan you need to have a strong
message and your message needs to be everywhere that your targeted
prospects are. By conveying the same consistent tone and message
over and over your advertisements are sure to be heard.
You’ll gain the attention of those who you want to do business with and
turn them into customers. In the age of Obamacare everyone has
questions. You want to be the one giving all the answers.
How to Remain Consistent in Your Advertising Methods
Chances are you’ve seen your fair share of big brand advertising versus
small company advertising. Do you ever wonder why the big brand
advertising is so successful? Well, you might say that they have a lot of
money to put toward advertising. That may certainly be true, but bigger
than that they are consistent in their marketing eﬀorts.
Big brands convey the same message ﬂawlessly no matter which
avenue of advertising they appear on. Their logos are always
consistently used. Their tag line is always consistently used. Consumers
can instantly recognize a big brand as soon as they hear or see one of
You want your advertising to do the same. Your advertising should
cohesively ﬂow from print, online, radio, and billboards.
You can do this by incorporating the following ideas into your campaign.
• Use the same logo in each form of advertising
• Come up with a tag line that conveys your USP and repeatedly
use it in each form of advertising
• Target the same group of customers in each advertisement
Start small. If you feel like you have more than one group of customers
to target, only try one at a time. Pick the group that is most likely to do
business with you and focus on them in every form of advertisement.
When you are pleased with the results go on to experiment with other
target clients. Always remain consistent in your marketing methods.
Long Term Marketing in the Age of Obamacare
As the next several years unfold you’ll be able to see the full eﬀects of
Obamacare on your business. To prevent your book of business from
depleting you need to make sure your marketing plans are long term.
Experiment with diﬀerent forms of advertising and relay your message
(USP) over and over. Customers believe consistency. If you say you’re
one thing today and another tomorrow prospects will have a hard time
believing you. Find out what makes you diﬀerent from the competition
and use that to your advantage.
In order to eﬀectively market and sell health insurance you need to
know who is most likely to purchase from you. As of today this would be
those who do not qualify for a government subsidy or discounted health
plan and large businesses with more than 100 employees.
Do your homework to niche down your target market even further for
optimal success. Advertise in all the places your customers are most
likely to be. Switch up your advertising methods every few months but
maintain your consistency. If you ﬁnd one avenue of advertising is
working exceptionally well for you stick with it.
Don’t underestimate the power or great customer service in the age of
Obamacare. The health care exchange will be seriously lacking in this
department. You need to shine through.
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