Business Name: Medicare Made Simple
Owner: Theresa Cangemi
Products and services: Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplements, Prescription Drug plans;
(ALSO: life insurance, long term care, dental, group health insurance)
Number of employees: just self
Location: New York State; Upstate NY
Twitter Handle: http://twitter.com/MedicareSimple
What prompted you to start your own business?
I have always wanted to do my own thing and own my own business. I just needed the product or service. I found Medicare Made Simple and the enjoyment of educating a growing population of retirees about the Medicare system and their choices.
How much research did you do before starting your business?
It took me a year of reading the appointment contracts and discussing the contract language with my attorney before I decided to become appointed with UnitedHealthcare.
What were the most helpful sources, including websites?
I can’t say any source was the most helpful. My sources and learning curve have really been a “learn as you go” experience. The Help Desk through UnitedHealthcare has been a BIG help and network, network, networking.
When were you the most discouraged?
This year when CMS (The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) announced that the Open Enrollment Period (January 1st – March 31st) was going away. It is now a disenrollment period. This has been very discouraging because just when I am in contract negotiations and about to increase my Medicare Advantage plan offerings, to offer a more holistic approach, with other carrier’s MA plans, a whole 3 months worth of earning potential gets shut down.
What company or individual do you admire?
I admire any start-up company who can take an idea, go into business, stick to it, make it work and make the company profitable, and grow it to add employees and earn big revenues.
What will make your business stand out from competitors?
The service and educational experience that I provide, including the long term client relationship.
Who is your target client/customer base?
Those eligible for Medicare, age 65 and older. Also, someone who has had a long term illness or disability and at their 25 month of their disability they can apply for Medicare.
What surprised you the most in your business venture?
The lack of earning potential due to the strict Medicare regulations and enrollment periods. As of January 2011, the new Obama care plan has made some Medicare changes, such as, the three month Open Enrollment period will be going away and it has now become a disenrollment period instead.
In order to stay self employed, I have had to make some changes to my business. I have entered back into selling group health insurance and voluntary benefits (to businesses); also now offer life insurance, long term care, and dental.
What are you the most proud of? (Professionally speaking)
That I can say that I am self employed and have my own business. My business is mine. It is my personality, my creativity, my decisions, my hard work, and my clients I have earned.
How have you been “Affirmed”? (a specific event or something that showed you, that you made the right decision is starting your business.)
When after meeting with a client whom I have helped they comment, “thank God I met you”.
Reminder: the Annual Enrollment Period, for Medicare, starts November 15th – December 31st.