Can American First Finance Merchants Discourage A Consumer From Applying New Medicare Supplement Competition in Texas

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New Medicare Supplement Competition in Texas

The top dogs in the Texas Medicare supplement market are getting their money’s worth. Two competitive carriers have entered the scene and are coming out on top in most zip codes in Texas. Cigna, underwritten by American Retirement Life Insurance Company, and Manhattan Life have been getting the attention of Texas agents and consumers lately. With low premiums and fast processing, it’s no wonder these two carriers are managing to attract huge amounts of new business and notoriety so quickly.

American Retirement Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Cigna, began selling Medicare supplements in Texas in early February 2013. Last year, ARLIC offered highly competitive rates, dramatically improving the Texas Medicare supplement landscape. Before the Cigna brand, only three carriers could actually offer the lowest premiums: Omaha Insurance, Oxford Life and Continental Life (Aetna). These operators each have their own postcodes which they pursue competitively. Your chances of getting more than 1 or 2 “good” rates in each zip code were slim a year ago. You have Omaha, Oxford or Continental, along with one of the less competitive brands. They were slim pickins.

Now that Cigna has been added to the mix, consumers are finding better rates as well as more options for selecting a quality carrier.

Cigna also offers a quick and easy application process, as does Manhattan Life. Through an electronic application, agents can send new business and save money to their customers effortlessly. New business usually takes 3 days to 2 weeks to issue (3-5 day policy issues). Of course, this also depends on the time of year the application is submitted. Open enrollment months are inevitably busier.

Because of its economical rates, Cigna experienced a boom in demand. They are quickly hiring more staff to keep up with the demand for their product. This growth in your company in the first year of business is extraordinary and can only mean success. If you are a consumer and are concerned about the financial prospects of this company, you should be assured that ARLIC’s low rates and the Cigna brand are here to stay.

Located in Austin, Texas, ARLIC’s rates are highly competitive for residents of Travis County and surrounding areas. There are also some other “hot” areas, such as zip codes in and around North Texas. If you are a Medicare Supplement insured living in one of these areas, it may be time to call an agent and review your current policy.

ARLIC offers Plans A, F, G, and N, which are also available in 18 other states. You can check availability on the ARLIC website.

A more recent addition to the Texas Medicare supplement market is Manhattan Life. A few months ago, Manhattan Life did not sell in Texas. I was completely unaware of this company, to be frank. Then slowly, I started seeing his name pop up in my dating engine and now when I look up Texas zip codes, Manhattan Life is definitely top 5 in most areas, even #2 in some. I suspect this will change (for the better) as they grow in the next year.

Similar to Cigna, Manhattan Life is a respected and financially sound company, which is part of a larger family; Central United Life, Western United Life and Family Life are close relatives and trusted brands in the industry.

Along with Texas, Manhattan Life offers Medigap plans in AZ, GA, IL, IN, MI, MS, NC, NE, PA, SC, TN, TX and VA. Plans available for purchase include A, B, C, D, F, G, M, and N, which offer more breadth than ARLIC (although not all are offered in every state).

Both Cigna and Manhattan Life are leaders in many areas of Texas. While Cigna remains number one of the two, I suspect Manhattan Life is targeting more specific niches if it hasn’t already. I also expect both companies to evolve in the coming years, whether that means stabilizing their rates and focusing on specific areas or perhaps in the case of Manhattan Life, pushing Cigna out of the top spot; only time will tell.

Some consumers have expressed concern about purchasing a policy from a new carrier and then having the carrier pull a “bait and switch” by raising rates and leaving their customers stuck with high premiums. While I won’t guarantee anything, I don’t think it’s a smart technique for either company. Keep in mind that even though their rates are low, they are still competing with powerhouses that have been selling in Texas for years. It will take 5-10 years to build a solid reputation amidst such dominant competition.

Fortunately for consumers, the emergence of these new products does nothing but push rates to be more competitive. If you’ve never thought about reviewing your policy, now is the perfect time to call an agent as carriers are fighting for your business more than ever.

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