As you prepare for AEP, you’ll start to see carriers release their 2024 First Looks. These give agents an early glimpse into the plans for the upcoming year. It’s a good time to review what is changing prior to AEP and determine which plans will be the most competitive in your area.

Medicare Beneficiaries Have a Lot of Options

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that, in 2023, the typical Medicare beneficiary has a choice of over 43 Medicare Advantage plans. As a trusted advisor, your clients expect you to be an expert on the plans in your market. You are responsible for guiding your clients and ensuring they make informed decisions about their coverage. First Looks provide you with the information you need to prepare to meet with your clients in the fall.

Research Carriers You Aren’t Contracted With

You should review the First Looks of all the carriers in your area, even those you’re not contracted with. A carrier may be expanding into new areas or adding new supplemental benefits your clients may be interested in. Don’t miss out on the growth opportunities available with new carriers. If you decide to contract with a new carrier, give yourself enough time to complete any contracting and certification requirements.

Check the Plans of Carriers You Already Contract With

It’s important to review any benefit updates that could impact your clients. Assess how much plans are changing and which of your clients might benefit from switching plans. Carriers will inform your clients of any plan changes in September in their Annual Notice of Change letters. Be proactive in preparing for these discussions. You should also look for any areas where there has been an expansion or reduction of plans. Expansions give you an opportunity to sell into areas you have not serviced before.

Supplemental Benefits Matter

As you review carrier First Looks, keep in mind the importance of supplemental benefits. Nearly one in four Medicare enrollees cite supplemental benefits as the reason why they chose a Medicare Advantage plan. Such benefits include dental, vision, hearing, transportation to medical appointments, meal delivery to homes after a hospital stay, massage and acupuncture, and gym membership. Seniors often find these benefits appealing and base their choice of plan on how many of these supplemental benefits it offers.

Don’t Overlook Other Important Information

First Looks also contain crucial information about agent tools and resources, such as sales incentives, market support, and important processes like submitting and tracking electronic applications. Don’t skip over these important details.

First Looks Are Confidential

Remember not to share the information in First Looks with clients before October 1. First Looks are released after carriers file the changes with CMS, but they are not yet finalized and approved. This means there could be further changes.

What Comes Next?

Once you’ve had a chance to review First Looks, you’ll have an idea of what the market will be like and what changes are coming for fall AEP. It’s not too early to start rolling out your marketing plan.

Start by pre-ordering supplies and marketing materials. Plan your outreach to existing clients, letting them know you are ready to assist them as soon as AEP begins – this could prevent them from talking with another agent. Start generating leads and referrals for new clients. Reach out to your network of groups and organizations to plan educational events and seminars. Prep your Medicare website and other social media sites with useful and up-to-date information. Make it easy for clients to contact and do business with you.

Planning and organization are key to a successful AEP. Stay ahead of your competition. The experienced team at PTT Financial is here to support you and help you grow your business. Make this your best AEP yet! Contact us today.