Experienced home care agency owners and marketers love to discuss the seemingly-mythical sources of “funded” home care. And why wouldn’t they? After all, non-medical home care services aren’t typically covered by Medicare or private healthcare insurance. The idea of financial resources that limit out-of-pocket costs is very attractive to both clients and agencies.
With that said, there has been one steady source of reliable funding for in-home senior care over the years—long-term care insurance (LTC). But how can home care agencies tap in to this lucrative stream of business?
Here are 5 time-tested ways home care agencies can identify and secure consistent LTC referrals:
1. Join Provider Networks
At the risk of sounding obvious, home care agencies must first establish contracts with insurance carriers in order to receive direct referrals. These are potential clients that are sent to the agency by an insurance company representative.
There are many benefits to being part of an insurance carrier’s network of in-home care providers. First, the prospective clients that are referred directly by insurance carriers have already been approved for LTC benefits. So, the funding is secure.
Second, insurance carriers usually only refer clients to one provider at a time. Therefore, the agency isn’t competing against multiple other companies and is likely to convert the referral into start-of-care.
Third, home care agencies that secure contracts with LTC insurance carriers may benefit from referral volume. This is particularly true for agencies with multiple locations, as the referral potential grows with expanded service geography. LTC insurance contracts disproportionately benefit multi-location home care companies.
2. Consider Discounted Pricing to Encourage Referrals
Some home care agency owners may be reluctant to discount rates, which is understandable. Most companies try to provide quality service at a fair price, and margins are usually very conservative. However, forward-thinking providers may consider the advantages of providing extra incentive for LTC referrals.
The rate/referral-tradeoff evaluation isn’t a perfect science, and even experienced home care pros often rely on their instincts. But it’s safe to say that “easy,” high-volume referrals with high conversion ratios usually justify slightly lower margins. After all, how much time and money do agencies spend on unqualified client assessments that never actually result in start-of-care
3. Network with Insurance Carriers
Most large industries have networking events, including regional and national conferences. They usually seek vendors and attendees and will therefore welcome folks from complimentary sectors. The insurance business is no different.
A quick Google search should reveal LTC industry events that provide great, low-pressure opportunities to make important connections. Some agencies may find that it’s worthwhile to sponsor a table or booth, but participation as an attendee is a lower-cost option.
4. Build Personal Relationships
Face-to-face meetings are ideal for gaining traction with LTC insurance referral sources. However, they’re often unattainable. Outside of conferences and networking events (discussed above), most insurance carrier professionals are closed-off to solicitors.
It’s therefore critical that home care agencies make the most of any contact with insurance carrier representatives. Home care employees and office workers who receive referrals should always make note of the caller, direct phone number and email address. They should be sure to gather as many details as possible and save the information.
Agency salespeople can then include prior insurance carrier referral sources in regular marketing efforts, whether through phone calls or email campaigns. They should also take an even more personal approach by updating the insurance carrier representative on referral outcomes and client start-of-care status.
5. Submit Timely Notes
LTC insurance carriers require regular note submissions from home care agency providers. The task can seem mundane and redundant for regular clients with unchanging needs and schedules, but the practice is very important to the carriers. LTC insurance policies only pay claims if the client meets certain contractual conditions, including the need for daily assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).
Regular note submissions prevent clients from losing their benefits and also aid insurance carrier representatives with their own underwriting protocols. Essentially, home care companies can make the jobs of their insurance carrier counterparts easier. And what better way to procure more referrals than by keeping the referral source happy?
In the end, LTC insurance carriers are among the best possible referral sources. Their clients have both the need for home care services and the money to pay for them. But securing this business isn’t necessarily easy.
Most caregiver agencies will find that the reward of steady, insurance-funded referrals more than justifies the marketing efforts, however. They present true win-win scenarios with patients who demonstrate real needs and cases that may last for years.
If you’re a home care agency seeking new marketing strategies and avenues for growth, be sure to consult with the industry’s best marketing agency today!