How to sell Medicare Advantage plans
Learning how to sell Medicare advantage plans can take time. There are certain steps an agent should take when getting started. This includes contracting with the most competitive carriers in the areas you plan to sell, having a full understanding of Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplements and part D plans and understanding enrollment rules. Read below to see how to get started.
Contracting with Carriers
Agents need to find the most competitive carriers in the areas they plan to market in. We suggest taking time to study the carriers plans to determine which ones offer the best overall benefits. This can be done by comparing plans on Connecture or Sunfire. Agents that do not have access to either system may compare on the Medicare plan finder. It is suggested agents access Connecture or Sunfire at some point as it is a better way to quote, compare and enroll prospects long term.
Here are some of the benefits to consider when if you are trying to see which carriers offer the most competitive plans:
- Out of pocket maximum
- Primary and specialist copays
- Inpatient hospital copay
- Ancillary benefits: Ancillary benefits have become very important when it comes to comparing plans. It can certainly be argued that people should not be picking plans based on ancillary benefits such as dental. The reality however is that people do tend to focus on those benefits more than they should so they need to be taken into consideration
- Additional benefits that provide monthly allowances from various expenses
- Network is important when it comes to offering plans. Selling a plan with a limited network can lead to a lot of client turnover. It takes time to determine the strength of a carriers network. We suggest reaching out to the broker managers with each carrier to get a better understanding of the network strength of the plans they represent.
Annual certifications are a reality with those that offer Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. Annual completion of the AHIP certification is also required. New agents should be aware they will need to complete certifications for every carrier they plan to get appointed with and sell.
How to sell Medicare Advantage plans: Education
It is critically important to put the effort in to fully understand Medicare benefits. All aspects of Medicare benefits. This includes Original Medicare benefits, enrolment periods and rules for getting Medicare A and B, Medicare advantage benefits, Medicare Supplement benefits and Medicare Part D benefits. In addition, a strong knowledge of the enrolment periods and special elections for the above listed products is also needed. Agents selling Medicare supplements in underwritten states need to understand when prospects can apply using guaranteed issue vs. policies applications that will need to go through underwriting.
Getting in front of enough prospects: Leads, marketing, referrals and maintaining a book of business
The absolute most important part of succeeding in Medicare sales is having a strategy to get in front of enough prospects. This is the number one reason Medicare producers do not make it in the business. Finding a reliable lead source is critical to success. Agents need to be aware of the reality regarding leads. None of them are easy. Working leads is anything but easy and requires thought, time, effort and tracking to make them work. Learn about various types of Medicare leads
In addition to leads, agents need to focus on multiple aspects of building a book of business. Examples would be obtaining referrals from existing clients, building referral sources with centers of influence, passive marketing through a website and social media and a number of other avenues. How to grow and manage a Medicare book of business
There is a common tendency for agents to put in time, effort and money into writing new clients without thinking about their current clients. It is far less expensive and time consuming and expensive to keep existing clients vs. writing new ones. As a result, it makes sense to focus on maintaining existing clients.
How to sell Medicare Advantage plans: How Medicare commissions work
Cash flow is commonly a problem for new agents. More than 50% of new agents start a career in Medicare and do not fully understand how Medicare Advantage commission pay out. CMS lists the max allowable commission for Medicare Advantage and Part D in every state. The maximum is not always paid out depending on the scenario. Agents should take time to understand when they will be receiving full commission vs. partial payments. Renewals are a main driver when getting into the business. It is prudent to understand renewals and factor them into the overall cash flow equations. Video on how commissions pay
How to sell Medicare Advantage plans: Selling other products for more immediate cash flow
Successful Medicare producers make substantial income due to the amount of renewal payments involved vs. other product lines. The most difficult part for new producers is managing lack of cash flow in the early years while they build up a large renewal stream. It is wise to write other products that have more front loaded commissions while writing Medicare cases. Examples of other product lines would be hospital indemnity plans, cancer, critical illness, dental and vision plans. Non health related products such as final expense, standard life, annuities and disability insurance can also be Incorporated. Lastly, ACA business can not only be an additional source of revenue but can be a great lead source for Medicare production.