Medicare Scare Tactics
The Big Lie
The “Big Lie” is a phrase and idea that Adolph Hitler and then Joseph Goebbels promoted in their propaganda war. They observed that if you told a lie about the opposition, made the lie an outrageous claim, and repeated the claim, people would believe it. This technique existed before the Nazis and will continue on to the end of time. Some politicians and sales people are particularly adept at this technique. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) refer to phenomena such as this as Medicare scare tactics. CMS dictates client and agent interaction and strongly discourages insurance agents and companies from engaging in Medicare scare tactics.
Medicare Scare Tactics
Some insurance agents who offer Medicare supplements and plans use Medicare scare tactics to promote their themselves and their products. They will make outrageously negative claims about opposing companies, products, or agents. “That company had a 40% rate increase.” “That company uses lower initial rates; then jacks them up when you are older.” Some agents who only offer Medicare supplements will dump on Medicare Advantage plans. “Those co-pays will bankrupt you.” Some agents who offer Medicare Advantage plans exclusively will rip on Medicare supplements. “Why waste your money on premiums when you hardly go to the doctor.” I’ve seen agents falsely accuse another agent of illegal or unethical business practices. “He is not even properly licensed” or “he got himself into trouble.” The more outrageous the accusation, the more it is believed by some.
Counter with Facts
Facts, however, are stubborn things. To counter Medicare scare tactics, ask them to show you the facts from a reputable third party source. I show my clients the insurance company’s history of rate increases. I show clients BOTH supplement and advantage plans side by side. They make the determination which is better for them. All licensed insurance agents are listed on the insurance department website by all states. You can check them out and see if that person has any complaints. When a person makes accusations, have them produce the evidence.
Scare Tactics are Flashing Signals
Medicare scare tactics, a.k.a., trash talk, is a signal. It is like someone who gossips about a co-worker. You know they will be gossiping about you when you walk away. Agents who talk trash about other companies, agents, agencies, and products don’t really have something better to offer. There is no need to talk someone or something down if you are offering something better. Let the facts speak for themselves. The process of selecting a Medicare solution should be an educational process, not propaganda.
If someone is trying to scare or rush you, they probably don’t want you to really see who they are or what they are offering. Cut through the noise. Brush aside the smoke. Look for the facts. “The Truth will set you free.”