Q. I’ve always used paper applications, why should I consider electronic enrollments?
A. This is a topic that I’ve had many discussions about, and let me start off by saying that if paper is 100% your deal, there is nothing wrong with sticking with what works for you. However, there are several advantages to using electronic enrollment applications, and most carriers offer this option. Think of a time you made a mistake using a paper application and how difficult it was to get it corrected. Even the most simple mistake seems to be a drawn-out process. Most of the electronic applications have features in them that prevent common mistakes (i.e., leaving off a number in a Medicare ID or selecting an incorrect election period.)
Cut down on the mistakes.
The first advantage of using electronic enrollments is that they cut down on mistakes. CMS has very specific rules around how long an enrollment can sit with you as the agent before it must be submitted. I know personally, I’ve been on the road, very tired when I got back to the office and simply forgot to submit an application on time. Electronic enrollments or electronic applications prevent this because you can in many cases submit right from the client’s table provided they have internet access. Working in rural areas, I’ve also seen a lot of clients without internet access which is another argument as to why paper should be preferred. You create your own hotspot through your cell phone or through a Jetpack with your wireless provider. Prices range from $50.00 in cost.
Cut down on the paperwork.
Many of you that have been in the business for a long time and have file cabinets full of enrollments and SOA’s that CMS says you must keep for 10 years. Using carrier electronic enrollments will shift that burden from you to the carrier. Your enrollments will be stored in your agent portal. Up until now, we’ve been talking mainly about MAPD electronic enrollments, but most of the Medicare supplement carriers also have electronic enrollment platforms or electronic applications, and many of the same advantages apply to the Medicare supplement side of the business as well. However, there is one major difference. Most of the Medicare supplement carriers not only allow for telephonic enrollments but encourage them! Anytime you can write submit applications without spending an hour drive (each way) in the car, drastically increases your profitability.
In any case, if paper applications are your preferred method, of enrolling your clients, there is nothing wrong with that. However, I highly recommend you to at least review and consider some of these advantages yourself and give an electronic enrollment or electronic application a try! Once you submit your first enrollment and see how immediate and simply the process is, I would wager that your preferred method of application submission will change. If you want to explore doing more of your business electronically, please feel free to reach out to us, we’d be happy to guide you in the right direction.
For more information on e-applications and carriers available in your market, give us a call at 800-962-4693. Don’t forget, we are here for you during the AEP!
-Answered by Matt Goheen, Regional Vice President
Matt Goheen is Regional Vice President of Region 6, covering the Utah, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New England markets. Matt is also a licensed Life and health agent and has been working at Agent Pipeline for 7 years, specializing in Medicare Health Plans. If you are an agent and would like to speak with Matt to learn more about the opportunities available in your market, you can contact Matt at 800-962-4693 ext. 6462.