2021 AEP Check List: Are You Ready?

Written by Lexi Williams

October 12, 2020

It’s almost that time of year, 2021 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is just around the corner. On October 15, 2020, you can officially begin enrolling clients in 2021 Medicare Advantage plans. To help ensure a successful AEP, we’ve created the 2021 AEP checklist to make your annual enrollment period easier, more profitable, and enjoyable. Let’s take a look at five essential areas to focus on, so you can hit the ground running on October 15.

Plan and Set Your Goals

Having a clear plan on what you desire to achieve is essential to having a successful AEP. Take some time to develop a plan, set your goals, and write it down.

Research products and insurance companies that are available in your market. You need to know what’s available to determine what companies you want to contract with, and the ones you’ll compete against.

Try setting SMART goalsSpecific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Setting SMART goals allows you to make your ideas clear, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase the opportunity for success.

Get Ready to Sell 

All insurance agents must be licensed, appointed, and certified before selling. Before October 15, take some time to review your current appointments. A couple of questions to ask yourself are:

Do I have a brand name product? Clients recognize popular names and tend to attach value to those products.

How many carriers am I contracted with? Think about what options you can offer your clients. Contracting with multiple carriers allows an insurance agent to sell with a more unbiased approach.

Have I completed all my certifications and AHIP? You cannot legally sell Medicare Advantage unless you complete the AHIP training. In addition to AHIP, many insurance companies have developed carrier-specific training and certifications. Carrier certifications can be a daunting task, but they must be completed before you can sell their product. We recommend getting your certifications complete, and out of the was as soon as possible. If you haven’t completed your AHIP training and all certifications yet, set aside some time to get them complete. You don’t want to waste valuable selling time after October 15.

Know Your Products  

Now that you have contracted and certified for the products you are offering this AEP, you need to make sure you know the products. It’s an excellent time to review benefits, webinars, and training sessions for each carrier. It’s essential to know the benefit details before the start of AEP.

In addition to being prepared for Medicare Advantage, you’ll want to make sure you are contracted and knowledgeable on ancillary products. During an appointment, a client may identify an additional need that you can satisfy. But remember, you can only discuss what’s listed on the scope of appointment. However, you have created the opportunity for another meeting with your client.

You’ll also want to review how to use each carrier’s online portals. Most carriers offer online enrollments and other services via the online portals.

Order Supplies

Now that you have certified don’t wait to order supplies. Once you are ready to meet with clients, you want to ensure you have all the documents you need. Make sure you are familiar with how to order supplies and how long it will take to receive them.

Market Yourself  

As of October 1, 2020, insurance agents can begin marketing for AEP. Even though insurance agents market themselves year-round, now it’s time to step your game up. It’s a good idea to analyze and adjust your current marketing plan. Leading up to AEP may be the most critical time to be active on social media. Get active and provide your current and prospective clients with helpful tips for AEP.  

Beneficiaries need you just as much as you need them. Remember, AEP is NOT about new beneficiaries alone. It’s also, or maybe even more about your existing clients. AEP is their one opportunity a year to finally make changes to their Medicare health plan that they have been frustrated with all year. Perhaps, rates are increasing for the upcoming year, now is the time to help your beneficiaries make a change into a plan that meets their medical and financial needs. 

Preparing for AEP is no easy task. There’s a lot to do and remember leading up to and through the end of AEP. The coming days and weeks will go by quickly. Make sure you are ready before October 15 to avoid wasting valuable days of selling.  

Remember, the key to a successful AEP is to plan, be organized, and execute. Following our 2021 AEP checklist will help AEP you hit the ground running and have your most successful Annual Enrollment Period yet!

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