The Annual Enrollment Period which occurs every fall is right around the corner. October 15th kicks off the beginning of that window when your clients can make changes to their Medicare Advantage plans. So now is the time to go through our AEP checklist to ensure you're ready for the busiest time of year. Whether you're selling Medicare Advantage products, Prescription Drug Plans, Medicare Supplement products or any combination of the three, being prepared is your best asset. Below we'll go over our AEP checklist as well as review what your clients can do during the Annual Enrollment Period which ends on December 7th.
What can your clients do during AEP?
1. Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan (or vice versa)
2. Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
3. Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn't have drug coverage to one that does offer drug coverage (or vice versa)
4. Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)
5. Switch from one Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) to another PDP
6. Drop Medicare Prescription Drug coverage completely
There are many scenarios that can play out during AEP and it's in your best interest to review your clients' policies with them to ensure they have appropriate coverage for the coming year. Many of your clients may want to review their Medicare Supplement plans during this time as well, and it's the perfect time to do so.
If you need to finish any contracting you may have started, complete it and review any carriers you wish to add. Carriers have blackout dates where you can no longer move your contract. You can review our carrier black out dates on our AEP page.
2. AHIP Training
Be sure to complete your AHIP training. Many carriers offer discounts, but you must access the training through the carriers' agent websites to receive that discount.
3. Product Training
Login to agent sites and complete all product training. You'll get notified by the carrier when you’re eligible to being selling. Watch your Inbox carefully.
Login to MedicareCENTER and get familiar with all the new tools available. Upload and update your clients in the CRM and review the training and best practices guides.
5. Electronic Applications
Familiarize yourself with electronic applications now (before the rush). This will make them much easier to complete. You can download carrier e-App training guides from our Electronics App page.
6. Order Supplies & Materials
Order any supplies you may need from your carriers directly, and be sure to request our complimentary*, branded marketing materials to help you promote yourself.
Make sure you're ready to go and have everything you need to make this your most successful AEP yet. We're here to help you succeed and are always available to assist you with your AEP strategy.
*Must be a contracted producer to qualify for our complimentary marketing materials.
Every year between October 15th and December 7th Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to make changes to their existing policies and change their benefits with regard to Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans and Prescription Drug plans. It can be an overwhelming time for seniors as they sift through all the literature that has been mailed to them, and all the plans they've been researching online.
Your clients should have received their 'Annual Notice of Change' from their insurance company. This notice will list any changes in their policy, such as possible increase in costs or coverage. The notice should compare the benefits they currently have and what they will be in 2020. Their prescription drug plans should also be reviewed at this time of year to ensure that their medications will still be covered.
As their insurance agent, you can assist them with making the best decision regarding their policies for the next year or even longer. We've laid out everything your clients can do during this enrollment period below.
So what exactly can your clients do?
There are so many options for your clients, and it can be a daunting process to assist them with their choices, but utilizing our tools and resources will help make the process smoother. Some of these tools include using our rate and underwriting tool which will allow you to cost compare Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans for them. If you don't have access to our Resource for Rates tool, you can request access and receive a 30 day trial. Our contracted agents always have full access to this tool. It's also available as an app in the App Store and on Google Play. Use your login credentials for the desktop version to access quotes on the go.
Reviewing our new Medicare & Part D Plan Finder guide will help you if you're not AHIP certified and selling prescription drug plans to your clients. It's a step-by-step guide to the newly launched site on Medicare.gov. The new plan finder has a much simpler, and user-friendly interface; however, it does encourage Medicare beneficiaries to create a My Medicare account and to login with their credentials so they can save their prescriptions. It is not necessary to have them create an account if they do not wish to; you'll still be able to assist them with their drug choices.
In some cases, your clients may already have the best plans, and they won't need to do a thing. However, this is your opportunity to review their policies and determine if they'd be better off with another plan. It also provides the opportunity to open up the discussion about other types of insurance they may need.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is right around the corner, and you know what that means. Your clients who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan now have two options:
· They can enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan
· They can return to their original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Supplement plan
We are here to assist you by helping you make the best decision for your clients’ needs. Whether they enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan ore re-enroll with their current carrier (and we have a brand, new carrier here in North Carolina, Gateway Health, that is providing Dual Eligible and Special Needs plans) or their needs are best met with a new Medicare Supplement plan (Mutual of Omaha is a carrier that we hold a top 10 contract with, they have outstanding Plan F and G rates and have been offering Medicare Supplements since 1966), we are here to offer our support.
Our Medicare Supplement carriers (Mutual of Omaha, Cigna, Aetna, Medico – to name a few) all have online applications that allow you to enroll your clients quickly, efficiently and anywhere you have access to an internet connection. The majority of these e-Apps are completed and turned around within three days. There is no stamp and a much shorter wait time for approval.
Our Senior Solutions Marketing Managers can offer you guidance with which plans are best for your clients' geographic location, depending upon which state your clients reside in. They can help you with quotes using our online rate tool, and give you answers to questions you may have about different carriers and the benefits of the plans that are offered.
October 15th is right around the corner. Now is the time to get in touch with our Marketers, get contracted with us if need be, and get your questions answered. AEP (October 15th – December 7th) is a busy time of year, as we all know, and we look forward to making it a very productive time of year for you and your practice.
By Carolyn Portanova
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.