How To Become A Medicare Agent
Although there are many facets to becoming a licensed Medicare agent, the job description at a glance is rather simple. You are marketing Medicare insurance to two groups of people: those who are 65 years or older and eligible for Medicare benefits, and those who are under 65 years old, disabled, and also eligible for Medicare benefits.
Here are seven simple steps:
Get your health insurance license
It goes without saying that agents should be well-versed, experts even, in all things Medicare. Some of the most common topics to study are deductibles, compliance, health care laws in your area, claims, and the general ins and outs of how Original Medicare works, as well as Medicare Advantage. There are courses that offer Medicare training, which must be state-specific. For most states, the prospective agent must take a course to study for the health insurance license. The course is led by an instructor, lasts about a week, and has an exam that must be passed at the end of the course. The other option is self-studying to take the same exam.
Some courses also offer life insurance certifications simultaneously – many agents choose to take advantage of this opportunity as the marketing group for Medicare and life insurance is often very similar.
Complete the AHIP Medicare training
Once licensed, the next requirement is passing (with a 90% minimum) the annual Medicare training and certification through America’s Health Insurance Program (AHIP). The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is the agency that regulates Medicare plans, the agents who sell them, and the insurance carriers and brokers. AHIP certification typically starts in June and certifies those who pass for selling the following year. The exam is currently a cost of $175. Our agents take AHIP at the discounted rate of $125. Click here for details.
Errors and Omissions Insurance
Even with the best of intentions, every agent will make a mistake eventually. This coverage, known as Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O), will help in the event that a client decides to take legal action against you. If they feel that you gave misleading or incorrect information and decide to litigate, these policies can cover between one and three million dollars in coverage. Their cost however, is only $300 to $500 a year. Most carriers will not work with agents who do not have Errors and Omissions Insurance. Purchase E&O here.
Contract with a Medicare Field Marketing Organization (FMO)
A Field Marketing Organization is a company that distributes health insurance plans to agents and agencies on behalf of the insurance carriers. Once contracted with an FMO, that organization will be able to help you get contracted to sell with multiple insurance companies, which increases both your clientele options and potential income. Some FMOs provide E&O insurance, as well as other benefits.
Get contracted with multiple Medicare companies
Each insurance carrier requires its own individual contract to sell their products. Most carriers require the following criteria be met before contracting with an agent:
- A copy of the agent’s health insurance license
- Proof of an E&O policy
- Legal questionnaire written by the carrier
- A background check
- Some carriers require their own specific annual certifications that pertain to their plans.
Complete annual certifications
Depending on the state, you may be required to complete additional continuing education training and certifications annually. These are essential to keeping your license active in your area. Some of the most common ones are hours of Ethics and Anti-Money Laundering Training and hours in your area of concentration as an agent, whatever that may be.
Maintain continuing education when required
Your FMO will provide additional information as to what is required to maintain your contract with them. Most states have individual continuing education requirements.
Through these relatively simple steps and some effort on your part, a career in Medicare sales as a licensed Medicare Insurance Agent is well within your reach.
We offer $500 to every agent for Medicare leads. Learn more.