Talking Medicare is the Senior Marketing Specialists weekly topic sheet. Information for agents to know for their clients, staff, and industry.

The 2017 COLA was released!

View the press release from Social Security regarding the 2017 COLA at this link: https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/

Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Outlined:  https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/colasummary.html

The 2017 COLA increase is 0.3%. Seniors should see an average monthly increase of about $4 in their social security checks. There is a Projected 2017 Medicare Part B premium of $149 and Deductible of $204. Note: Last year CMS announced the deductible and premium amounts on November 10th.  CMS announcements appear at this site: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/Newsroom-Center.html

What Secret Shoppers Look For at an Event

Here are a few excerpts from the UHC Secret Shopper Agent Tool:

  • Only light snacks were offered (no meals at sales events)
  • If gifts were distributed, they did not exceed nominal retail value ($15.00)
  • It was clear that participation or disclosing consumer contact information was voluntary, not required and did not obligate the consumer to enroll, to attend the event, or participate in raffles
  • The agent did not make any absolute statements
  • The agent only used CMS approved marketing material and the CMS Identification Number was present on all materials issued at the event (i.e., “S1234_0021”)
  • The agent did not disparage the competitors or discuss any decreased benefits the competitors may have
  • The agent did not refer to competitors by name

Find a full list at this link: https://www.smsteam.net/wp-content/uploads/training/Secret-Shopper-Agent-Tool.pdf

UHC Reminder: The 1557 UnitedHealthcare Event Disclaimer is required to be posted at all formal/informal events:   https://www.smsteam.net/wp-content/uploads/training/1557-UnitedHealthcare-Event-Disclaimer.pdf

The Elder Law Whiteboard

The Elder Law Whiteboard is a video series produced by the National Elder Law Foundation, with help from certified elder law attorneys from around the country, that is designed to answer some of your basic questions about elder law and elder law topics.


Check out “Medicaid for Long Term Care | Jim Schuster, CELA” from National Elder Law Foundation on Vimeo.

The video is available for your viewing pleasure at https://vimeo.com/74975095

CMS 2017 State by State MA Fact Sheets

This is a link to the CMS market overview fact sheets:


What can I Do During The Annual Enrollment Period for MA and PDP Plans?

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

Note: AEP is not a Guarantee Issue Period for Medicare Supplements.

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