It’s that time again: Fall. A time of changing leaves, pumpkin-spice everything, holiday seasons, and, of course, Annual Enrollment.
If you’re in the Medicare sales game, your biggest concern is this year’s edition of the 45-day dead sprint known as the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) kicking off on October 15.
How well you perform during this AEP season has a lot to do with how you prepare. Use this AEP checklist to review your marketing and sales process and ready to build your book of business and sell more policies this year.
Before they can sell Medicare plans, individual brokers need to be officially contracted with the Medicare providers whose plans they want to offer during the upcoming enrollment period. If you are contracting with a carrier, ensure you’ve completed all necessary paperwork, and understand the terms and conditions of each provider.
It’s best to do this as early as possible. Carriers tend to confirm and make their plans available during the first half of the year. As the summer goes on, the turnaround time for processing contracts only increases—up from about a week to as low as six weeks. The last thing you need to be doing is waiting around during the late-summer rush, wondering whether or not you’ll have contracts in time for AEP season. So, get started early.
This early period is also a great time to consider expanding your portfolio by contracting with additional providers, broadening the options you can present to potential enrollees.
Get Certified (and Re-certified)
Most carriers require that agents complete AHIP’s Medicare + Fraud, Waste, and Abuse training before selling their plans. However, each carrier possesses their own specific certification instructions that may vary from year to year. These may include certifications beyond AHIP training, including an alternative certification course from NABIP or a carrier-specific offering. Typically, these courses become available in mid-June each year.
Review Your Technology
Assessing your technology is another critical step that shouldn’t wait until the last minute. If you’re going to be dialing and messaging a large number of Medicare leads, you need the best Medicare sales software on your side to help you do so efficiently and effectively, including:
- Medicare CRM: A robust CRM system can help you track leads, manage communications, and stay on top of follow-ups.
- Quoting Software: Quickly generating quotes improves potential enrollees’ experiences, builds trust, and enhances the efficiency of your operation.
- Dialer Software: When you’re trying to get through lengthy lead lists, there’s no better solution than a flexible, powerful dialer solution that helps you maximize contact rates and talk time.
Get to Know Your Plans
To sell more Medicare Advantage plans, agents should start by getting intimately familiar with the plans they’re selling this AEP season. Between July and September, carriers typically hold trainings and their own certification courses, and ultimately release “first looks” that help agents understand new benefits, availability information, and more about their plans. Using this knowledge, agents will be able to serve as more effective advisors to potential enrolled—and better salespeople.
Acquire Your Materials and Supplies
Medicare sales can be a high-tech enterprise. But there’s still plenty of old-fashioned collateral that plays a pivotal role—and should be secured in advance. This spans everything from flyers, mailers, and business cards to their digital counterparts such as display ads and social media campaigns. Plan your events and approach, online and off, ahead of AEP to avoid any last-minute issues.
Set Your AEP Marketing Strategy
You can’t actually start marketing your Medicare plans until October 1. With so much riding on these couple of months, you need to ensure that your approach is airtight. The months, weeks, and final days ahead of AEP are the time to:
- Get your materials certified: Any and all materials marketing Medicare Advantage, Part D, or Cost plan benefits including cost savings, premium reduction, and much more need to be submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for approval.
- Review past data: Learn from your past mistakes (and successes) by reviewing historical performance data from previous AEPs.
- Educate your audience: Although you can’t market plans, you can offer general educational information—this includes promoting your brand as well as making sure prospects are aware of when AEP starts and what it entails.
Check on Your Existing Clients
During AEP, clients have the flexibility to modify their plans, and this also means they might consider changing agents. As we head into this pivotal season, taking steps to boost client retention is crucial.
Start by analyzing each client’s existing plan to discern if alterations are necessary. Reach out proactively to set up sessions to review their current plans, focusing initially on clients who might seem inclined to reconsider their current selections.
Once you’ve checked everything off your AEP checklist, all that’s left is to start selling as soon as October rolls around. Use this guide—and Convoso’s powerful outbound dialer—to make this AEP your best one yet.