Selling Medicare Advantage
Before an agent starts selling Medicare Advantage plans they must understand the differences between Original Medicare, Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage plans provided by private insurance companies. Medicare is our health care system providing health coverage for individuals aged 65 or older and/or the disabled.
Original Medicare is made of two parts: Part A which covers costs associated with in patient hospitalization and Skilled Nursing and Part B which covers outpatient medical services such as doctors visits, major radiology, lab work and physical therapy. Original Medicare covers roughly 80% of Medical costs. The majority of seniors sign up for or purchase Medicare insurance policies from private companies. This helps fill the gaps in coverage or provides additional coverage above traditional Medicare. Agents sell policies such as Medicare supplements, Prescription Drug and Medicare Advantage plans to help cover the 20% and to provide drug coverage. Note: A Medicare Advantage plan and a stand alone part D drug plan cannot be sold together.
Why Choose a career selling Medicare Advantage plans, supplements and drug plans?
One of the biggest reasons to choose a career in Medicare insurance is that the Medicare insurance industry is hot right now. Approximately 10,000 people are turning 65 every day in the United States, so there is an increasing need for agents to help clients pick the right plan. Since there is no shortage of potential clients, the earning potential for an agent in this career is unlimited. However, even with all the opportunity, starting a career in Medicare sales is not a layup.
Who Would Excel at selling Medicare Advantage plans?
There are all types of people with various backgrounds that excel in Medicare sales. It certainly help to have a sales background or “sales personality” but with Medicare it is not critical to be a “good sales person”. Seniors are going to choose a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and/or stand alone drug plan. A good Medicare sales person simply helps them understand the differences between the plans. This helps them to make the right choice for their specific situation.
There is a learning curve with Medicare sales but that is not the biggest challenge. The biggest challenge is getting in front of enough qualified prospects. Keep in mind the senior is likely going to enroll in something so the need to have a good sales pitch is not as important with Medicare sales as it is with other emotional based sales such as life insurance, long term care and disability insurance. Making the sale is certainly easier with Medicare than with other products but that does not matter if you are not getting in front of enough people.
There are traits that most successful agents selling Medicare advantage plans have in common. The main ones are being motivation, organization, strong understading on the topic of Medicare and being able to find ways to see qualified prospects. It may seem obvious but the reality is 90% of agents fail in at least one of those three areas.
How to Start a career selling Medicare advantage
- Complete Pre- Licensing Education: Most states require an agent to take a pre-licensing exam prior to sitting for the accident and health insurance exam. Exams are available online in most states however some states will still require a class room type setting.
- Take the State Exam: Contact your state’s insurance department to find information on your state’s requirements and local testing centers. In addition to the self-study option, there are in-person and online schools/courses that you can attend. Once you have completed the course, bring the course completion certificate to the testing center on the day of your exam. After you pass and complete this exam, you can then apply for an insurance agent’s license.
- Buy Errors and Omissions Coverage: Most insurance companies require agents to carry errors and omissions insurance. E and O is a professional liability insurance that is available from a number of companies. The prices and coverage levels vary. The are usually in the $400 to $900 a year range depending on a number of factors. Crowe and Associates offers E and O coverage to agents for $300 a year. CLICK TO LEARN ABOUT CROWE AND ASSOCIATES E AND O COVERAGE
- Get Established: To start your insurance career you must determine if you will be an independent insurance agent or if you will work as a captive agent. Independent agents are able to contract with multiple companies in order to offer choice to clients. The challenge with an independent career is finding the support and training to get started. Captive agents can only sell the plans offered by the company they work for. This can be very limiting if the company does not have a competitive product. The benefit is that most captive agents get more access to hands on training.
If you would like to watch our webinar on how to have a face to face Medicare sales appointment, please click the link below.
You can also watch our webinar on how to get ready for OEP if you click the link below.
Rules for Selling Medicare Advantage plans
Medicare advantage and Medicare Part D plans have rules for marketing. This is not the case for Medicare supplement plans which have far fewer rules from a marketing standpoint. Until recently, CMS required an agent to get a signed scope of appointment form 48 hours prior to having a Medicare Advantage and/or Medicare Part D stand alone PDP meeting. The 48 hour rule is no longer part of the requirement for 2018. It must be obtained at the beginning of the meeting prior to talking about the plans. Click here for CMS rules regarding Medicare Advantage and part D sales.
Support for independent agents selling Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplement and drug plans
A number of agencies work with independent agents and offer them a number of value added services. The most common are lead programs, lead reimbursements, online quoting engines, product and sales training. Crowe and Associates has a number of programs that independent agents can utilize. Some of our more popular programs are our 50% lead reimbursement program, Free OEP Medicare lead program, Online enrollment system for Advantage, Part D and Supplement plans, online quote engine, $300 E and O insurance and unique individual and group health insurance plan for people under the age of 65. You should click the links below to learn more about how we help independent agents succeed in Medicare sales.