Every year, Medicare agents must complete their annual certifications prior to fall AEP. Summer is the perfect time to focus on these requirements and check them off your 2024 AEP to-do list.
Start with AHIP Certification
To sell Medicare Advantage and Part D plans during AEP, CMS requires you to complete your annual AHIP training and certification. This is also a requirement for completing carrier specific certifications. The 2024 AHIP certification opened on June 21st. The cost of the course through AHIP is $175, but some carriers may offer discounts – check what’s available to you.
Training and certification consists of two parts:
- Medicare training – Covers basic eligibility and benefits as well as the different kinds of Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. It also covers ethics, compliance with marketing guidelines, and proper enrollment procedures.
- Fraud, waste, and abuse (FWA) training – Understand the high cost of FWA and learn how to detect and report FWA.
Even experienced agents should take the time to complete the online training materials, as this is where you will find any new information or changes for the coming year. Once you’ve finished reading, the practice questions can help you prepare for the test. You must complete the 50-question online test within two hours and achieve a score of 90 or above. You are allowed three attempts to pass. Once you complete the course, you can download your certificate. Most carriers will allow you to submit your certificate electronically when you complete their individual certifications.
Move On to Carrier Certifications
Now you are ready to start the process of recertifying with each of your carriers. Each carrier has its own requirements and may mandate additional training related to the types of plans it offers. If you work with many carriers, this may be a time-consuming process – for this reason, it’s a good idea to start as soon as possible. Many national carriers have already opened their 2024 certifications. Be sure to follow your carrier certifications through to approval and be proactive about resolving any issues.
Review your current carriers. Have any left the area? Are there any new carriers that offer benefits your clients will want? Seniors consider not only premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses when picking a plan – they also now expect a wide variety of supplemental benefits, such as gym memberships, health and wellness programs, and hearing, dental, vision, transportation benefits. The more plans you have to offer your clients, the more competitive you will be.
It’s also critical to be knowledgeable about each of the plans you offer. Attend carrier First Looks to ensure you fully understanding the plans and can guide your clients appropriately in picking the right coverage.
Consider Offering New Products
Once you complete your certifications, think about adding new products that will help grow your book of business. You might want to consider hospital indemnity insurance, Medigap plans, Medicare SNPs, long-term care policies, annuities, or life insurance. You could add one new product this year and plan to offer additional products in the future. As well as helping you gain new clients, this will help you retain your current clients, since they won’t have to shop elsewhere to cover their other insurance needs.
Good Time Management Is the Key to Fall Readiness
It may seem like AEP is a long way off, but it will be here before you know it. Since fall is always a busy time, taking care of your AHIP and carrier certifications now will set you up for a successful fall enrollment.
PTT Financial is here to support you. We are committed to your success. Contact us today.