How to Sell Discount Dental & Health Plans

Discount dental and vision plans are typically sold as an add-on to major medical policies, both in group and individual settings. You will need to obtain an insurance license to solicit and sell insurance in your state, including discount dental and vision plans. Because premiums on these plans are low — only a few dollars per month in most instances — you will need to either sell them in conjunction with a larger plan, or find people to enroll in large numbers.


  1. Obtain a health insurance license. You can find the requirements specific to your state by visiting the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website — click on your state’s department of insurance regulation. You will need to enroll in your state’s approved course, pay a fee and take and pass an exam.
  2. Get appointed. You must be formally appointed by an insurance company doing business in your state to solicit and sell that company’s products. You can get appointed by contacting each insurance carrier in your area directly. They will give you specific instructions and send you a selling contract describing the terms of your relationship with them as an agent, your obligations and their commission structure.
  3. Prospect for new business in person, canvassing businesses door-to-door and asking for an appointment to review their health insurance coverage. Alternatively, you can prospect on the phone, asking to review coverage. Some companies allow you to sell the whole policy over the phone. Some agents open the conversation by asking about their dental or vision coverage, others open by asking about major medical. Your market will vary. The key is to prospect in large numbers and keep appointments.
  4. Qualify the prospect. For a prospect to be qualified, they must be insurable, and they must be able to afford the premiums. If the individual you are speaking with cannot qualify, and he cannot help you reach qualified prospects, move on.
  5. Ask a trial closing question. This is a question that allows you to determine if they may be interested without setting yourself up for a final “no.” Essentially, it is an attempt to find out if there are any unspoken objections left to going ahead with the insurance purchase. A good, brief trial close is, “How does this look to you? Have we covered everything?”
  6. Close the sale. You can do so by asking, “Can I sign you up?” Or you can “assume the sale” by smiling broadly and saying “Thank you. I’ll handle the paperwork.” Then proceed to obtain proper information such as credit card number and expiration date for the first month’s premium — and inform the client that they’ll be covered immediately.

About Managed Care Health Plans

Managed Care Plans are health care plans that contract with area health care providers who agree to provide discounts to plan members or other favorable pricing in exchange for a stream of referrals. Generally, plan members must go to these contracted providers in order to receive non-emergency services. Premiums are generally lower for managed care plans than they are for other kinds of health insurance offering similar benefits, but access to care is generally restricted to the approved list of care providers.

Types of Plans

  • There are three basic types of managed care organizatons: Health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and point of service (POS) plans. All of them contract with a limited numbers of plan providers in the service area. The list of contracted providers is called the “network.” Managed care plans tend to emphasize access to preventive care services.

History of Managed Care Plans

  • Congress passed the Health Maintenance Organization Act in 1973 that subsidized start-up costs for managed care firms and required companies with 25 employees or more and which offered traditional health insurance benefits to offer a qualified HMO plan as well. This requirement expired in 1995, but by that time HMOs and other managed care organizations were well established in the workplace market.

Preferred Provider Networks

  • Preferred provider networks also contract with a specific network of care providers, but do not typically require a referral from a PCP in order to cover visits to specialists. They provide coverage for ‘out-of-network’ services as well, but at reduced rates. For example, visits to out-of-network providers may require large copayments (flat-fees per visit) or require the plan member to pay a greater percentage of costs out of pocket.

Health Maintenance Organizations

  • HMOs require plan members to select a primary care physician, or PCP. The PCP acts as a ‘gatekeeper’ to the plan network. Except for emergencies, all covered visits and services to specialists first require a referral from the PCP. In practice, these restrictions are effective at controlling costs. HMOs frequently have the lowest premiums for a given level of covered services compared to other private health care plans.

Point of Service Plans

  • Point of service plans encourage the use of a primary care physician, but it is not a requirement. Visits to specialists are still covered, but you pay less out of pocket if you first get a referral from a primary care physician. In a sense, they are a combination of the HMO and PPO approach.


  • Managed care plans — particularly HMOs — have come under criticism from consumer groups for restricting access to medically necessary care. Criticisms include the perceived conflict between profitability and providing quality care, the administrative termination of doctor-patient relationships, and the perception of reduced patient contact time. According to data from the Henry J. Kaiser foundation, managed care plan members rated their plans lower than traditional insurance plans.

Details of Obama’s Health Care Plan

One of the pillars of the Obama administration’s platform is health care, working on the assumption that popular sentiment in the United States and practical need alike mandate a reform of the country’s health care sector. This is one of the most comprehensive proposals in the history of health provision in America and seems to be in line with other Obama initiatives that call for a more active role on the part of government.
Because of this, the Health Care Reform Bill has encountered serious opposition from many Americans, who maintain it counters the principles of small government, free enterprise and freedom of choice. Comparisons to socialist countries have also surfaced, maintaining the spirit of the reform is un-American.


  • The only government-backed health care options in the United States pending passage of the Obama initiative are Medicare and Medicaid, but these two are not universal and only offer services to specific sections of the population. Importantly, they do not cover working, middle-of-the-road Americans.
    At the same time, the administration has claimed lack of competition in the health care industry and rising costs are making it harder for Americans to obtain quality services they can afford. The purpose of this reform is to provide universal health care as a baseline to all Americans.

Additional Issues

  • The government has also said the reform will address problems beyond affordability. Primary among these are lack of true competition in the health care industry, insufficient information sharing and accountability, lack of consumer choice and a need for more scientific research.


  • The main focus of the Obama plan is universal inclusion of all Americans under a cohesive health insurance plan. As of this writing, the government estimates some 50 million people in the United States do not have any health insurance, causing significant social strife and suffering–with many going bankrupt over medical bills. With a view to centrally managed health care systems such as the ones in the United Kingdom and Canada, the government is aiming to extend coverage to everyone while maintaining choice.

Children’s Insurance

  • A big part of the reform is the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, signed by President Barack Obama in February 2009. This segment of the reform basically guarantees health insurance to all children (minors) in the United States, regardless of all other factors.

Preventive Care

  • The government is also saying current health care in the United States is focused too much on health maintenance and medication, rather than on prevention. The reform aims to shift the focus to research and preventive care with a view to reducing costs and keeping people from getting sick in the first place.


  • The reform creates a National Health Insurance Exchange that mixes public-backed and private insurance products, all available to everyone. Public health care will be available to everyone regardless of income or health factors, with the government supervising the industry through clearer standards, pricing rules and information-sharing principles.


  • Funding for the reform is slated to come from the government as well as employers, who will be required to contribute. At the same time, employees collecting health insurance benefits are to have a choice–keep their existing plan or shop for a new one at the National Health Insurance Exchange.
    Tax cuts for wealthy Americans may be scrapped to offer additional funding for the reform–initially families earning $250,000 annually were said to be the threshold, but later this number went up to $300,000.
    While the government estimates its cost at about $50 to $65 billion a year, opponents, such as Republican governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty, say the true cost is much higher and would come out of the pockets of working Americans.
    Opposition figures, such as Congressman Kevin Brady in the Republican party and organizations including Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, are also citing fears of big government, inefficient management and violation of state and patient rights as reasons to not go ahead with the reform

How to Cover a Pregnancy With Health Insurance

Cover a Pregnancy With Health Insurance

The average cost of having a baby is $6,378 for a normal delivery, $10,638 for a cesarean. The best way to ensure your pregnancy will be covered by health insurance is to plan ahead, making sure you obtain insurance before you become pregnant.


  1. Try to have health insurance before you get pregnant. If you haven’t had insurance coverage at all and then get insured through a group plan, the new health plan does not have to immediately cover your pregnancy and could make you wait a couple of months before coverage is offered.
  2. Find out what kind of coverage your health plan or prospective plan provides for birth, adoption and pregnancy. Look at what type of maternity, preventive and well-baby care the plan provides.
  3. Ask potential employers if the health insurance they offer covers maternity.
  4. Avoid switching jobs if you are pregnant. If you do begin a new job during a pregnancy, it is possible that you might have to wait up to a couple of months for coverage.
  5. Consider applying for Medicaid if you are uninsured and meet the program’s low-income requirements.
  6. Contact your state insurance department for more information on how to cover your pregnancy and ask what other types of low-cost insurance plans they offer.
  7. Think about applying for COBRA to cover your pregnancy if you are between plans. COBRA is a federal law that provides health insurance for qualified workers, their spouses and their dependent children if they are between plans.
  8. Try to get on a group health plan through your job or a professional organization if you are uninsured and pregnant. These will be less expensive than purchasing individual insurance.

Best Health Care Plans in California

The flag of California.
Californians can choose from numerous health care plans. Finding the best plan for you and your family requires balancing costs and benefits as well as studying overall quality ratings for each plan. To help you choose, a number of organizations rate the quality of health plans. These include the nonprofit National Committee for Quality Assurance, California’s Office of the Patient Advocate and publisher U.S. News & World Report. The state health insurance exchange, Covered California, also is developing a quality rating system.

National Committee for Quality Assurance

  • Founded in 1990, the National Committee for Quality Assurance is a private, nonprofit organization that accredits health plans based on quality and quality improvement ratings. In California, more than 60 health plans hold some degree of NCQA accreditation. Of these, four commercial plans and two Medicare plans are rated as excellent – the highest level of accreditation. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. offers four of the six plans, including commercial and Medicare plans covering Northern and Southern California, respectively. Kaiser Foundation Northern California is based in Oakland, and its Southern California plan is based in Pasadena. The two remaining health plans with an excellent rating include San Diego-based Sharp Health Plan and Sacramento’s Western Health Advantage. More than 20 health plans are rated as commendable, the next-highest rating.

California Health Care Quality Report Cards

  • California Health Care Quality Report Cards rank the state’s largest private health plans on the quality of health care and on how patients rate their experience. The reports currently evaluate 10 Health Maintenance Organizations and six Preferred Provider Organizations. Among HMOs, only Kaiser Foundation Health Plans in Northern and Southern California received excellent ratings in both clinical quality of care and patient satisfaction. Sharp Health Plan earned a good quality rating and an excellent patient satisfaction rating. Blue Shield of California HMO, Cigna HMO, Health Net of California, Inc., UnitedHealthcare of California, and Western Health Advantage earned good ratings. None of the PPOs earned an excellent rating on either measure. However, Anthem Blue Cross PPO and Health Net PPO earned good scores.

U.S. News & World Report

  • In its rankings for 2014, U.S. News used government data to rate 142 private health insurance plans available to individuals and families living in California. Of these, plans from eight insurance companies earned the top rating of five stars. Insurers offering five-star plans included Anthem Blue Cross of California, Assurant Health, Blue Shield of California, Chinese Community Health Plan, Cigna, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente and Valley Health Plan. Among Medicare Advantage plans, only Kaiser Permanente earned a five-star rating.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.

  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, Inc. in Northern and Southern California received top marks from all three ratings systems. The plans are part of Kaiser Permanente, one of the country’s largest not-for-profit managed health care organizations. Founded in 1945 and headquartered in Oakland, Calif., Kaiser Permanente covers more than 9 million members. It controls quality and costs using an integrated model of health care. Insured members receive care from physicians operating through Permanente Medical Groups at hospitals and other facilities owned by Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.

Sharp Health Plan

  • Sharp Health Plan received excellent ratings from NCQA as well as good quality and excellent patient satisfaction ratings from California Health Care Quality Report Cards. A subsidiary of Sharp HealthCare, Sharp Health Plan is a not-for-profit HMO serving members in the San Diego area. Like Kaiser Permanente, Sharp follows an integrated model of care.

How to Use Major Medical Health Insurance Plans

Major medical health insurance provides a way for many to be insureUse Major Medical Health Insurance Plansd in case of a drastic occurrences. This type of insurance policy is especially attractive to those who can’t afford (or don’t wish) to pay large premiums for everyday benefits that they hardly use. There are drawbacks to major medical plans, however. The main one is the high deductible that must be paid out of pocket before the insurance kicks in. Here’s how to use a major medical health insurance plan.


  1. Find out the deductible of your major medical health insurance policy. For example, the deductible on my plan was $5,000 per member or $10,000 per family per year. We would have to spend that much money out of pocket before our health insurance kicked in and covered the rest.
  2. Build up a savings account to cover your deductible in case you have a major medical occurrence. Contribute the maximum allowed to your HSA (Health Savings Account) which is automatically offered with a major medical plan. Save any above that in a bank account.
  3. Pay your monthly or quarterly premiums on time to avoid coverage lapse. Reestablishing health care coverage can by costly and is not guaranteed, so keep your coverage current.
  4. Submit all doctor bills to your insurance company, While they won’t pay the bills (you need to pay them using your savings or HSA) they will keep record of your expenses, which count toward your deductible.
  5. Stay as healthy as you can by eating well, exercising, avoiding stress and being safe.

About Pre-Tax Health Insurance Plans

Health insurance plans come in many types, including plans that use pre-tax dollars which is known as a pre-tax health insurance plan or a cafeteria plan. This is the only type of plan that an employer can use to offer employees an option to choose between benefits that are taxed or non-taxed without causing non-taxed benefits to become taxable. A pre-tax health insurance plan needs to meet requirements of Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code (see Resources).


  • A pre-tax or cafeteria plan can have many types of qualified benefits for employees, dependents, spouses and even former employees. These can include accident and health benefits, assistance for adoptions, assistance for dependent care, coverage for group life insurance as well as a health savings account. Employers that want to set up a pre-tax health insurance plan must specify all benefits as well as have rules in place for eligibility and election.

Premium Conversions

  • A premium conversion is an option that is included with many types of pre-tax plans. This is when an employee’s pre-tax dollars are used to contribute to family health care costs. An employee will need to estimate from year to year the total amount that will be needed for health-related expenses. When this happens an employee’s take-home pay is reduced by the amount that is used to contribute to the pre-tax plan.

Flexible Spending Arrangement

  • A pre-tax plan also includes an option for a medical and dependent care reimbursement account. These types of accounts are referred to as a flexible spending arrangement. This means that an employee can use pre-tax dollars to pay for specific out-of-pocket expenses. The pre-tax health plan will then reimburse the employee for certain types of qualified expenses as defined by the plan.

Health Care Reimbursement Account

  • A health care reimbursement account or HCRA is an account in which pre-tax dollars are deposited to pay for certain types of medical expenses that are not covered by insurance. Expenses can include chiropractors, dental work, birth control and vision care. A pre-tax plan offered by an employer may place a limit on an employee’s contribution, but the law does not set any limit amounts.

Use It or Lose It Provision

  • A pre-tax or Cafeteria plan has a provision known as “use it or lose it.” This means that the amount of pre-tax dollars that have been used to contribute to the plan does not roll over from year to year. If there is an outstanding balance in a pre-tax plan and it is not used by the end of the year the amount left over is forfeited. However, the IRS has loosened the rules for this provision by allowing funds to be used for up to two years and fifteen days after the benefit year has ended.

How to Become a CNA

Home health used to be what your parents did to help you feel better when you had an earache. As baby boomers get older, this is quickly becoming a significant component of healthcare. Certified Nursing Assistants are the bedrock of home health and other healthcare outlets that require patient assistance with activities of daily living. The CNA career path can be very rewarding. Here’s how to become a CNA.


  1. Make sure there is a desire to serve. A caring, nuturing attitude is required for anyone who wants to be in this profession.
  2. Get a high school diploma or a GED.
  3. Complete the six to twelve week program for CNA education offered in most states. These programs may be found via the Internet, yellow pages or word of mouth — check the link at the bottom. Make sure the program is accredited in the state where work is being sought.
  4. Contact state aid registry or licensing program. Board officials will be able to advise on what to look for from an accredited program and as well as a listing of local schools. This is also the organization that will keep a record of any complaints or criminal activity on any CNA.
  5. Pay for the training class. The costs vary from $300 to $600 for a program. Financial aid is often available. Each school will have financial aid requirements.
  6. Send resumes to home helath agencies in the area. Home health is often the primary employer for CNA’s. Many CNA’s work for multple agencies in order to acquire the number of weekly hours desired. Hospitals and nursing homes are also primary employers for CNA’s.

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  1. Make sure there is a desire to serve. A caring, nuturing attitude is required for anyone who wants to be in this profession.
  2. Get a high school diploma or a GED.
  3. Complete the six to twelve week program for CNA education offered in most states. These programs may be found via the Internet, yellow pages or word of mouth — check the link at the bottom. Make sure the program is accredited in the state where work is being sought.
  4. Contact state aid registry or licensing program. Board officials will be able to advise on what to look for from an accredited program and as well as a listing of local schools. This is also the organization that will keep a record of any complaints or criminal activity on any CNA.
  5. Pay for the training class. The costs vary from $300 to $600 for a program. Financial aid is often available. Each school will have financial aid requirements.
  6. Send resumes to home helath agencies in the area. Home health is often the primary employer for CNA’s. Many CNA’s work for multple agencies in order to acquire the number of weekly hours desired. Hospitals and nursing homes are also primary employers for CNA’s.

AARP Group Health Insurance Plans

Getting and keeping access to good quality health insurance is a key concern of America’s senior citizens. Therefore it should come as no surprise that their premier interest group and association, AARP, not only lobbies for it on their behalf, but also offers an array of health, optical and dental plans of its own.

Image result for AARP Group Health Insurance Plans


  • AARP stands for the American Association of Retired Persons and is a non-profit interest group. They are best known for their political lobbying efforts on behalf of Americans over the age of 50, but as part of their mission to improve the quality of life of their members, they also provide “a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services.” This includes health insurance plans.

Ages 50-64

  • AARP offers three plans for members aged 50 to 64. This first and most basic is their Essential Health Insurance Plan, which offers a fixed-cash hospital indemnity with limited coverage, but at a substantially discounted premium. Next is the Essential Plus Plan, which is a step up in terms of coverage and indemnity and is meant to compete with normal health insurance. At the top of the ladder is the Essential Premier Plan. Rates and details vary depending on where the applicant for the insurance lives. There is also the Hospital Indemnity Insurance, which is meant to supplement whatever other insurance plans are held by the customer.

Ages 65+

  • These plans offered by AARP are designed as modules to supplement Medicare. The Medicare RX Plan is designed to cover increases in the price of drugs or unanticipated changes in a customer’s drug requirements. The Medicare Supplement Plan is intended to help cover some of the expenses not covered by Medicare and thereby limit the expenses born directly and out of pocket by the customer. The top plan is the Medicare Complete Plan, which is a comprehensive scheme that features no limits based on pre-existing conditions, and offers discounts and benefits based on customer fitness.


  • AARP offers a dental plan through the Delta Dental Insurance Company. The plan limits the costs of preventative and emergency dental work and allows the customer to keep their existing dentist. Premiums are guaranteed for 2-year periods.


  • The AARP optical plan works through a network of selected optometrists and opthamologists, and offers a 30 percent discount on eyeglasses and a 20 percent discount on contacts through participating major chains, such as Pearle Vision and Lenscrafters.

How to Sell an Article to a Health and Fitness Magazine

Sell an Article to a Health and Fitness Magazine

The health and fitness magazine area is a huge market; so they are always looking for articles. You don’t even have to be a doctor or physical trainer to have an article accepted by one. All it takes is some research and the proper writing skills to make some money from multiple health and fitness magazines. Follow these steps to learn more.


  1. Choose a health and/or fitness magazine for which you would be interested in writing. Call or visit their website to get access to the writer’s guidelines. This will provide you with everything you need to know, from querying the editor to submitting an acceptable article.
  2. Review the editorial calendar if there is one. You may find something which will give you an idea for a great topic. If there is no calendar, review the types of articles they publish.
  3. Buy the magazine for which you would like to write. This will give you an idea of what type of voices and content is generally used in the publication. You should use caution though to make sure you do not make your article to too similar.
  4. Pick a health and fitness topic that you are knowledgable and familiar. Don’t pick anything which is too technical if you are not an expert, as it will take you long to do the research and write the article.
  5. Begin the research and writing for the article. Contact a health and fitness expert to get quotes and their point of view on a specific topic. This will give your article credibility.
  6. Revise your article. Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors. Use a spell-checker and grammar checker and have someone else edit your article for mistakes. Grammar and spell-checkers do not catch all mistakes and often times you do not see mistakes that will be obvious to someone else.
  7. Write up a query letter for approval of the article when you are finished. A query letter is a punchy, irresistible one-page letter proposing an idea for a feature piece. Most of the time it is best to send the query letter after writing, so that you can be specific in your query regarding article length and content.
  8. Submit your article once the editor has given you the go-ahead, then reap the benefits of getting published and paid from a health and fitness magazine!