What can Medicare Agents do Before October 15th?
Meet Your Clients Where They Are
By now, any of your clients currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Advantage Part D plan should have received their Evidence of Coverage (EOC) and/or Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)from their plan’s carrier. This is a great time to meet with your clients to help review any changes to the plan’s benefits, cost, and rule changes for the upcoming plan year.
After you have gone over any changes that may have happened within their current plan, your client will have a choice of either staying in their current plan or possibly enrolling in a new Medicare Advantage plan. This could be because of a premium increase, unwanted benefit changes, or an undesired change to their network.
When you meet with your clients on or after October 1st, you’re able to do a full consultation as well as give a full product presentation. You will want to present several plan options that you think will best fit your client’s needs and wants. Spending time to really get to know your clients and their situation and needs both from a coverage perspective and also from a financial perspective can help make sure you are finding the right plan for them.
For example, if your client has to take a specific medication, spending extra time looking at the formularies and what tier that medication falls into on different plans could literally save your clients thousands of dollars a year.
Make sure you are Compliant
A lot has changed this year regarding compliance, most notably the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) final rule about call recording and storage. If you need more information, our Chief Compliance Officer, Kim Patterson, did a great video during this year’s Expedition AEP.
The first step of staying Compliant is to start with a Scope of Appointment (SOA) with any potential enrollees. This is not limited to new clients but also your current book of business since there is the possibility they may switch plans. Whether you are using a paper application or a digital enrollment platform like MedicareCENTER.com, always have an SOA on file.
Prior to October 15th, agents may not encourage completion of, solicit or accept paper or telephonic enrollments. They also cannot encourage mailing, take possession of, or “just hold onto” any applications.
You may, however, leave enrollment applications with a potential beneficiary during Pre-AEP (October 1st through October 14th) meetings. Still, there are some rules that you must adhere to before the official start of AEP.
- The enrollee is responsible for completing the application on their own. This includes signing it with the current date and returning it to the carrier, generally using the envelope included with the sales kit. If your beneficiary needs assistance from you to complete the application, you must come back to meet with them on or after October 15th.
- Remember you can not assist beneficiaries in completing an AEP enrollment application before October 15th.
- The carrier is obligated to investigate any. If the carrier receives an application before October 15th they are obligated to investigate to determine if it was agent-assisted. So the best practice would be for your clients to wait to enroll until the start of AEP.
If you fail to follow these rules, the application could be rejected, which could cause you to lose your commission, and, more importantly, could cause issues for your client’s coverage.
After the start date of October 15th hits until the end of AEP on December 7th, the guidelines for filling out an application are normal, and you may complete the entire “For Agent Use Only” section.
Know the Changes in Your Market
At this point, you should have a good understanding of the changes that have been made in your market from the “first looks” released by the carriers. You can find them all on the Agent Resource Center (ARC) section of AgentPipeline.com. You can also get a high-level video overview of each state as part of this year’s Expedition AEP.
At Agent Pipeline, you can always reach out to your marketer if you need help understanding or assessing how much the plans have changed and how that may benefit your clients.
It is a best practice to try and identify which of your clients may benefit from changing or adjusting their plans prior to meeting with them in the first two weeks of October. Remember, when you have these meetings, you are permitted to leave enrollment forms or your Personal URL (PURL) for MedicareCENTER but are forbidden from submitting applications until the official start of AEP on October 15th.
Learn the Tools at Your Disposal
If you have not already done so, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the tools you are going to be using in this AEP, especially the digital tools. Taking the time now will help you be more fluid in your presentation and enrollment of your clients and make you appear more trustworthy, knowledgeable, and professional while working with your clients.
A primary tool that you have in your arsenal will be MedicareCENTER. It is an all-in-one quoting and enrollment platform with a built-in CRM, and with the new call recording requirements we discussed earlier, it now has call recording and storage capabilities at no cost to you. Just one of the many tools we offer you just for working with Agent Pipeline. If you have questions about MedicareCENTER, you can watch a full demo here or call your marketer and have them schedule a live demo with you.
The beginning of AEP may not be until October 15th, but there are still so many things you can do as an insurance agent before that date rolls around. Do what you can now to set yourself up for your most successful and profitable AEP yet! As always, we at Agent Pipeline are here to help you in any way that we can with the tools and support you need for this AEP and beyond. Feel free to call us at 866.562.8318 to see how we can meet you where you are and take you where you want to go.