2,000,000+ Phone Calls With Extend Health’s Benefit Advisors Have Helped Seniors Make More Informed Medicare Choices

Extend Health empowers seniors with coverage choice and unbiased answers to their most pressing questions

SAN MATEO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Licensed benefit advisors for Extend Health, Inc., which operates the nation’s largest private Medicare exchange, have spent close to 40,000,000 minutes – the equivalent of about 75 years – on more than 2,000,000 phone calls helping seniors navigate the complexity of Medicare and evaluate private Medicare supplemental plans on the Extend Health exchange. The exchange enables seniors to compare and choose from over 3,500 private Medicare plans from more than 70 national and regional insurance companies to obtain coverage that suits their needs. Ninety-five percent of those choices are made with the help of a benefit advisor.

According to Jim Furr, Benefit Advisor for Extend Health, “Few of the seniors we talk with have been in the driver’s seat to pick and choose their health care coverage. Without prior experience, choosing from a myriad of possibilities can be daunting.”

Benefit advisors report that the most important concern of seniors when they first call Extend Health is how much their plans will cost. Other concerns include whether the plans available to them on the Extend Health exchange offer benefits as good as the coverage they currently have.

Said Furr, “As a benefit advisor, I am thrilled to help seniors choose the right plan for them – tailored to their specific needs, down to the pharmacy they frequent and the doctors they prefer. Plus, I get great satisfaction in helping ease their anxiety and make using an exchange a positive experience.”

Benefit advisors report that personal contact with seniors is what makes the difference in easing their uncertainty about using an exchange. According to a July 2011 survey of Extend Health’s benefit advisors, 72%1 of seniors have “somewhat” or “very negative” feelings about exchanges at the beginning of their first call. After working with a benefit advisor and completing enrollment in a plan, seniors’ sentiments shift dramatically, with 81% expressing “somewhat” or “very” positive feelings.

According to one of those seniors, Sara E.2, “[My benefit advisor] was professional and quite knowledgeable about my needs and the programs that are offered. She explained them to me clearly and completely, answering my questions thoroughly. She was able to get me signed onto the programs immediately, nearly painlessly. She seemed to sense my extreme anxiety about these decisions I had to make, and through her kindness, efficiency, understanding, humor, and willingness to take as much time with me as I needed, my anxiety was greatly ameliorated. That was no small task! Her care of me, with her knowledge of the programs I needed and how to approach my emotional needs was close to the level of a licensed social worker. She is fine indeed.”

Said Bryce Williams, CEO of Extend Health, “This shift from negative to positive attitudes about exchanges is testament to the strength, experience and professionalism of Extend Health’s hundreds of benefit advisors. All of our benefit advisors complete approximately 216 hours of training. They are all licensed, accredited, and certified to sell insurance providers’ plans in the states in which they are licensed to work.”

Said senior Elizabeth L., “Working with [my benefit advisor] was so easy. She took the confusion out of the process. As my enrollment period approached, I was so bombarded with info from insurance companies, the government, Social Security and other organizations that I dreaded even getting into the process. Annette explained and guided me with professionalism, courtesy, and patience. Her manner was always helpful. I am much relieved to have made my selections and on the road to becoming a Medicare recipient thanks to her guidance.”

Added Williams, “An exchange is clearly more than a website. Human interaction with our benefit advisors is a critical piece to a successful exchange. Our benefit advisors are the best at what they do. They know the transition to Medicare can be difficult. They want to help and they do help. In reality, through our exchange, Extend Health seniors are at the cutting edge of health care insurance choices. We call it ‘the power of mass personalization’.”

The questions and detailed responses from the survey of benefit advisors are as follows:

When seniors call Extend Health for the first time, what is the one thing they are most concerned about?

How much their plans/coverage will cost     56.1%
 

Whether the plans available on the exchange will offer coverage that is as good as the coverage they currently have

28.1%
 
What exactly an HRA is and how it works 12.3%
 

The advantages of using an exchange to compare and select plans versus doing it themselves

3.5%
 

At the beginning of your first conversation with a senior, how would you describe his/her general feelings about transitioning from an employer's group plan to an exchange?

Very positive                   1.8%
Somewhat positive 8.8%
Neutral 17.5%
Somewhat negative 64.9%
Very negative 7.0%
 

After you have completed an application for a health plan with a senior, how would you describe his/her feelings about transitioning from an employer's group plan to an exchange?

Very positive                     35.1%
Somewhat positive 45.6%
Neutral 14.0%
Somewhat negative 1.8%
Very negative 3.5%
 

About Extend Health

Extend Health, Inc. founded in 2004, operates the largest private Medicare exchange in the country. For more information, visit Extend Health on the web at http://www.extendhealth.com.

Extend Health is a registered trademark of Extend Health, Inc. Other names may be trademarks or servicemarks of their respective owners.

1 For top line reporting purposes, Extend Health, Inc. rounds percentages up or down as appropriate.

2 The seniors quoted are actual customers of the Extend Health private Medicare exchange. To protect their privacy, Extend Health does not disclose their last names.



CONTACT:

For Extend Health, Inc.
Rob Wyse, 212-920-1470
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  California

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Seniors  Health  Hospitals  Professional Services  Insurance  Consumer  General Health

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