Are you selling Medicare plans this AEP? This checklist will ensure that you are 100% prepared when October 15 comes around – and it’s sneaking up on us!
Remember, AEP (the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period) only lasts from October 15 through December 7. Anyone enrolled in Medicare can make use of the AEP, but you only have seven weeks to close all of those sales. Plus, Thanksgiving falls right in the middle of all of that, taking away valuable sales time. Make sure that you can make full use of those seven weeks by getting completely prepared NOW!
Friendly Reminder: What can Your Clients do During AEP?
AEP is the time when your clients can make virtually any change that they are eligible for. That may include:
- Enroll in Medicare Advantage for the first time
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Join a Medicare prescription drug plan
- Switch from one prescription drug plan to another
- Drop prescription drug coverage completely
Remember that your clients can enroll in Medicare Supplements (or drop their Medigap coverage) at any time – though if it is not their initial enrollment period, it may not be guaranteed issue.
The Medicare Sales Timeline
It’s important to understand when all of the yearly changes are made to understand when you need to be preparing for AEP.
January-May: Carriers begin working on and submitting new plans to CMS for approval for the following plan year.
June-July: Certifications for the following plan year become available
August: Benefit “sneak peeks” begin (sometimes sooner) even if they are still pending CMS final approval.
October 1: Final plan details are released to the public and marketing can legally begin
October 15-December 7: Annual Enrollment Period
January 1: Plans sold during AEP become effective
January 1 – March 31: Thanks to the new OEP (Open Enrollment Period), your clients will have the opportunity to switch from the plan you enrolled them in to a new option. However, you cannot market to them during this time.
Preparing for AEP Sales
While the commissions may be great, there are a few things you have to do before you can jump into AEP. Have you…?
- Completed your AHIP training?
- Contracted with all of your carriers?
- Completed your product training?
- Ordered your supplies?
- Familiarized yourself with changes in your market?
- Familiarized yourself with compliance changes?
Start with Your Existing Book of Business
Once you’ve done all that, it’s time to start reaching out to your existing book of clients. It’s best to start with the people who already remember your name. You may be able to book yourself up before you know it!
You can even offer incentives to your existing book by calling and saying things like, “I’d love for you to be one of my first appointments this year so we can make sure you’re still happy with your coverage.” Make your existing clients feel like they come first, and they’ll keep coming back! Plus, you’ll lower your risk of losing your clients to other agents in your area who acted quicker than you did.
Find new Clients for AEP
Then, it might be time to find some new prospects to fill your schedule with.
You may be able to generate free leads through easy marketing efforts like:
- Visiting local senior centers and groups
- Partnering with doctors and hospital systems
- Hosting CMS-compliant marketing events
- Posting social media ads
Setting Goals for AEP Sales
Have you set any goals for this AEP? Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals can keep you on track and hold you accountable for having a successful AEP.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Writing down your goals and turning them into S.M.A.R.T. goals can turn your entire AEP strategy around. Your goals should stretch you but be reasonable. They should include concrete numbers that you can write down and easily keep track of.
Consider setting a goal for the amount of appointments you want to attend during AEP and for the amount of policies you want to sell. If you’ve done this before, you can even use math from your past years to calculate how many appointments you would need to attend to meet your sales goals.
For example, if your close rate is about 20% (you sell policies on about 20% of your appointments), and you want to sell at least 20 policies during AEP, then you should set at least 100 appointments.
Summary: How to Prepare for AEP
As October 15th creeps up on us, remember to complete your contracting and certifications, order your supplies, read up on market changes and complete your product training, set your goals, and get going! There’s no time to waste. Happy AEP 2020!