Selling Medicare is difficult. However, it doesn’t have to be hard if you know how to navigate it. The main reason it’s hard is that you’re selling a confusing product. You’re not walking into someone’s home and trying to sell knives. People (hopefully) know how knives work, but they don’t necessarily know how Medicare works. Your clients are going to be immediately skeptical before you even start talking. Before you can start selling Medicare health insurance, you’ll need to be licensed in your state (Check with your state’s Department of Insurance for exact requirements).
Selling Medicare is also hard because health insurance is an expensive commitment. Again, you’re not selling knives. A nice set of knives can be expensive, but it’s also a one-time purchase that you can use forever. Health insurance usually comes with an expensive monthly payment and a commitment of at least a year.
Original Medicare covers hospital and medical services but leaves out many essential services. Private insurers offer Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that cover everything Original Medicare covers but adds additional benefits like hearing and vision insurance. Some even cover unexpected benefits like home meal delivery and non-emergency medical transportation.
The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is the seven months surrounding a person’s 65th birthday. For most people, the IEP is the first time they can enroll in Medicare. In order to make changes to, or enroll in new coverage, beneficiaries must wait until the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which is from October 15 to December 7. The AEP is your Super Bowl. It’s the one time of year where all Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their coverage. It’s the time of year when you can make most of your commission.
Most insurance carriers will require you to complete AHIP training before you can start selling their plans. You will also need to be licensed by your state and must re-certify every year in order to continue.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are different from Medicare Advantage plans. While Medicare Advantage plans supply medical benefits, supplements cover payments such as deductibles and copays. Your clients can enroll in a Medicare Supplement at any time during the year, however, they cannot be enrolled in a Medicare supplement and a MA plan at the same time.
People with certain medical conditions may qualify for Special Needs Plans (SNP), which are Medicare Advantage plans that are designed for those with chronic health conditions or low income. SNPs usually include prescription drug coverage and require very little out-of-pocket costs.
People who qualify for SNPs also qualify for Special Enrollment Periods (SEP). A SEP means that your clients can enroll as soon as they receive a qualifying diagnosis, and they can make changes to those plans as they need to.
Most people lose their health insurance when they retire, and the uncertainty can be terrifying. People need to know that they’ll be taken care of no matter what their health or financial issues are. You’re not just selling Medicare health insurance, you’re selling peace of mind. Plus, most people have been paying Medicare taxes for as long as they’ve been working, and they’re ready to see the benefits of their efforts.
It is vital that your clients trust you. You’ll want to build a rapport with your client as quickly as possible. Don’t think of your meeting as a sales opportunity, but think of it as getting to know your client. You need to act as more of an advisor than a salesman. If you truly try to sell health insurance, well, you may not sell it. However, if you try to advise your clients and point them in the right direction, you might just close more sales. You’ll need to focus on asking the right questions and figuring out what your client’s needs are before you even present any solutions. You can agree with them that yes, healthcare is confusing, and that’s why you’re there. You can help them navigate their options and figure out which one is really best for their needs. You are not selling, you are providing a service.
As an insurance salesperson, you have an endless number of daily tasks. You have to find the people to sell to, call them and schedule appointments, sit with them for at least an hour (probably more), and when you’re done, you still have to follow up with them. Plus, you have to renew your certifications every year. We can help you with the marketing aspect of your job so you can focus on the actual selling part.
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This post was originally written by Anastasia Iliou on May 7, 2018, and updated by Troy Frink on April 30, 2019.