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What You Need To Know To Sell More Medicare Policies

Medicare Policies Have Evolved What You Need To Know

There’s so much opportunity for insurance agents to begin making money selling Medicare policies. Pew Research estimates that 18 percent of the US population will be at least age 65 by 2030. With about 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day for years to come, it is evident that the market for Medicare will continue its fantastic growth for the foreseeable future.

Whether, you are a tenured insurance agent looking to begin selling Medicare plans or supplements or a novice who wants to get started, remember that the Medicare market is open to insurance professionals coming from all backgrounds.

New to the Medicare market? Here’s a comprehensive guide to get you up to speed with selling Medicare.

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An Overview of Medicare Supplements

Medicare Supplements, also referred to as Medigap plans, fill in the coverage gaps that Original Medicare (Parts A and B) beneficiaries have. The federal Medicare health insurance program covers many health care costs for beneficiaries aged 65 and up and with certain disabilities.

When the elderly become eligible for Medicare, they typically have the following options: Original Medicare (split into Medicare Parts A and B), Medicare Part C, which is Medicare Advantage health plans, and Part D of Medicare.
The A to D of Medicare can be confusing for both seniors and agents, so here’s a breakdown of the differences of each part:
  • Original Medicare (Part A) – A client choosing this route will sign up for Part A of Medicare. Seniors who paid Medicare taxes during their working years get this free of charge. Medicare Part A covers inpatient care, as well as some nursing facility costs.
  • Original Medicare (Part B) – Elderly individuals who enroll in Part A will also enroll in Part B. Like other types of insurance, beneficiaries will need to pay a monthly premium for Part B. As of 2018, the standard Part B premium amount is $134. High earners will need to pay a bigger premium (up to $428.60). Part B covers the gaps of Part A, namely, health care provider service fees, preventative services, and outpatient care.
  • Medicare Advantage – Seniors looking for other options can go with Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C. Private insurers offer this plan, much like a typical HMO plan. When an individual chooses Medicare Advantage, they will not be able to apply for a Medicare supplement plan. It is, however, possible for beneficiaries of Part C to transfer to an original Medicare plan and then sign up for supplement coverage.
  • Medicare Part D – This is a separate plan offering drug coverage benefits for the beneficiaries of Medicare. Older adults have the option to purchase Part D if they have Part A and B coverage. Additionally, many Medicare Advantage plans have Part D as a part of that coverage.

What You Need to Sell Medicare

Apart from arming yourself with knowledge of the different Medicare policies, you will need to get the following to sell this type of insurance:

  • 1
    Insurance License – Like any insurance product, you need to secure the proper license to sell Medicare products. It is a good idea to check with the Department of Insurance of your state for the specific licensing requirements. Alternatively, you can go to the National Insurance Producer Registry for assistance with the licensing requirements, as well as the electronic submission of the needed paperwork.
  • 2
    Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance – This insurance provides you with protection against claims and lawsuits for mistakes done in the field. Agents who are interested in contracting with insurance companies should have a minimum of one million per claim and one million aggregate of E&O coverage. Yearly insurance coverage prices vary, with the cheapest around $500 and the more expensive ones running over $1,000.
  • 3
    America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Medicare Certification – Almost all insurance carriers require agents to take the AHIP certification each year before selling Medicare Advantage Plans. Typically, the certification test costs $175. If you take it through an insurance marketing firm, however, you’ll be able to enjoy a discounted rate.
  • 4
    Lead Sources – Many insurance agents are not fortunate enough to have a natural market, which means they will have to look for a way to obtain leads. Agents can get the leads they need by going to companies that specialize in lead generation. Other ways to obtain leads are through direct mail, and print advertising explicitly targeted for seniors, lead-swapping partnerships, email, video marketing, and telemarketing.

Do You Need an FMO When Selling Medicare?

If you want to sell Medicare plans, you can either take the independent agent route and work with an insurance field marketing organization (FMO) or sign up as a captive agent with a carrier or insurance agency. You need to remember, however, that not many insurance firms offer a direct contract without being an employed agent. Partnering with an insurance marketing organization, therefore, is a good idea especially if you are new to selling Medicare policies.

Teaming up with one of the reputable insurance marketing companies in the country gives you a range of benefits, including: 
  • Quoting Tools – Some FMOs usually offer access to a quoting tool approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS). This tool allows you to quote Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, and Medicare Advantage Insurance Plans that may include Part D Drug Plans (Medicare Part C).
  • Open Release Policy – Some good insurance marketing companies provide release policy with no strings attached. This means that if you decide to part ways with your organization, you simply ask for a release. The benefit to this is you get to retain your book of business.
  • CRM Tools – FMOs usually offer customer relationship management (CRM) tools to help insurance agents compete more effectively. This software helps agents stay up to date with their clients from the first contact through enrollment. On top of that, it provides a helpful calendar and reminder system.
  • Dedicated Support – Experienced support is crucial for insurance agents. A good insurance marketing organization has an experienced team with an understanding of being an agent in today’s marketplace along with deep product and industry knowledge.

Choosing an Insurance FMO

You need to do your homework and ask the right questions when selecting the right insurance marketing organization for you. Some of the questions you need to ask are:

  • How long has the company been in the insurance business?
  • Will the FMO respond to your email or pick up the phone promptly when you need assistance?
  • What is the release policy of the organization?
  • Does the FMO provide expedited contracting?
  • What are the tools that the organization provides to help you do your work more efficiently?
  • Does the company offer any kind of lead assistance?
  • What kind of help does the FMO provide when it comes to production and commission audits?
  • Does the organization offer room for growth in commissions and contracts?

Medicare Sales Advice to Help You Succeed

Apart from teaming up with the right FMO, you can achieve success in selling Medicare policies by taking note of the following sales suggestions. 

Educate (and Not Simply Sell)

When you simply sell to a client, you could end up recommending a policy that works best for your pocketbook, but doesn’t address the needs of your prospect. This situation will likely result in cancellations down the road. Your goal as a Medicare insurance agent, therefore, should be to educate your prospects on the types of coverage available to them. Explain the plans to them using layman’s terms.

This way, they will understand how the policy covers them for a specific event or on a periodic basis. On top of that, pay attention to what your prospects will say. Listening to their concerns or priorities will guide you to the Medicare plans that will give your clients the peace of mind and coverage they need. Just remember that educated clients are satisfied clients — and happy clients can bring in new business.

Use Items to Create a Connection with Your Prospects

A small connection is sometimes all it takes to establish a relationship with potential Medicare beneficiaries. They’ve lived a long life, so keep an eye out for items (or what they say) you can use to connect with your prospects. Ask if they have family photos or travel mementos lying around and use these items to start a meaningful conversation.

Refrain from Proving Your Prospect Wrong

The details surrounding Medicare can be overwhelming and confusing. If a prospect says an incorrect statement, you don’t need to prove them wrong. Instead, give them accurate information professionally and politely.

Use Available Technology

Make technology your best friend by using available online tools. You can start with BenefitsCheckup, a website with a benefits eligibility checker that you can use to qualify your leads. If you aren’t tech savvy, now is an excellent time to familiarize yourself with the available applications and software. According to a survey from Pew Research, technology use among older Americans is increasing. Falling behind the curve could put a dent in your insurance sales.

Steer away from Topics of Religion and Politics

Although you’re entitled to your own opinions and thoughts, there’s a place and time where you can discuss them freely. You can avoid potential conflict in your sales discussions by dismissing the topics of religion and politics altogether. If a prospect decides to bring up their views on the political environment surrounding Medicare, make an effort to change the direction of the conversation in an unbiased manner.

Get Involved in Your Community

When you speak with a new-to-Medicare client, it is likely that he/she has friends that are new to Medicare as well. Immersing yourself in your community gives you ways to find potential enrollees on your own turf. On top of that, you spread awareness of the benefits of Medicare and make a difference.

Invest in a Well-Rounded Medicare Portfolio

A one-size-fits-all Medicare plan does not exist, as a senior’s income, needs, health, and general preferences vary. If you want a wider net of leads, stock various Medicare options that meet the needs of your prospects. By completing your portfolio with supplementary plans, you can promote yourself as a full-service Medicare insurance agent. This gives you the opportunity to create multiple sales for a single client. Additionally, it boosts the potential for clients to refer you to other individuals in need of Medicare.

Debunking Medicare Myths

When you’re at the stage of offering Medicare products to your prospects, they may raise beliefs that are actually myths. Here are the truths that clear up a few of the misconceptions out there: 
  • Poor health will disqualify a person for Medicare coverage – Sadly, many believe that their pre-existing conditions or bad health will deny them Medicare coverage. This isn’t the case. A person can get coverage once he/she qualifies for it either by reaching the age of 65 or after having received Medicare disability for 24 months.
  • Medicare covers everything – A single Medicare plan won’t cover everything. Medicare Part A, for instance, doesn’t cover the standard hearing, vision, or dental care. A client who needs these services may consider an all-encompassing Medicare Advantage plan. Alternatively, the individual may buy separate standalone health insurance from a private insurer, like dental, vision, or hearing.
  • Medicare is broke – Despite what your prospect may be hearing, Medicare isn’t going bankrupt. At the end of 2015, Medicare hospital insurance had almost $200 billion in reserves. This insurance program is here to stay.

It’s no doubt that certain details about Medicare can be confusing to an ordinary person. When you’re offering Medicare to potential beneficiaries, they are counting on you to provide them with the best information possible. Fortunately, you can get the support and assistance you need with TR King Insurance Marketing. We have online training programs that advance your product knowledge and allow you to feel and sound confident and knowledgeable in front of your clients. One of the training programs we offer free for our contracted agents is our Final Expense 101 training program.

We also respond quickly to phone calls, emails, and live chats. If you have a question related to a Medicare product, we answer it as soon as possible.

Get in touch with us today.

Key Takeaways In This Article

  • Medigap is used to pick up coverage that is not covered under original Medicare
  • Understand the ends and outs of Medicare so you can walk your client through the process
  • Keep a lookout for the most cost effective coverage and added benefits for your clients. 
  • Ask the right questions before you sign up with a Medicare FMO.
  • Use these steps in this article to enhance your sales without being salesy.
  • Help clients debunk Medicare myths.

Over to You

We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on:

  1. Are there any changes we didn't cover you feel other agents should know about?
  2. If you could go back to when you first started selling Medicare policies what would you tell yourself?
  3. What are some of your worst and best Medicare selling experiences?

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. We will carefully read each one of them. Happy Selling!

About the Author Matthew King

Matthew King is a co-owner of TR King Insurance Marketing and partner at Independent Life Insurance Agent Association. When he's not creating processes, content, and developing SEO strategies, he likes to immerse in gaming with his wife and friends.

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