Medicare’s Annual Election Period officially kicked off on October 15. To make the most of this once-a-year sales opportunity, Medicare sales agents need to be ready with their A game. Don’t just let AEP happen. Take control and prime yourself for a successful AEP.
HHS says that 31.8 million Medicare beneficiaries are expected to enroll in Medicare Advantage.
The number of Medicare Advantage enrollees keeps rising. That’s good news for the agents who sell these plans, but it also means that this AEP will be a busy one. Agents need to be prepared:
- Make sure you have all the supplies you need. In addition to carrier supplies, you’ll want copies of your business card so you can give them to clients with friends and family who might need enrollment help.
- Get your plan information and client information organized. There’s a lot to keep track of, so you need an organized system.
- Start scheduling appointments. You’ve probably already started scheduling appointments, and that’s great. Keep your calendar full.
- Don’t forget about other tasks in your schedule. Client appointments will take up a lot of your time, but there are other things you need to do, too – for example, prospecting activities and follow-up. Make room in your calendar for these tasks so they don’t slip through the cracks.
Anticipate Client Concerns
This year, Medicare beneficiaries may be especially worried about costs. Annual inflation hit 9.1% in June, according to the Consumer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Food costs were up 10.4%. Many people are worried about the possibility of a recession, and for seniors living on fixed budgets, dealing with higher prices can be especially daunting.
Your clients may need to pay close attention to their costs for 2023. Be ready to help your clients figure out their total costs – including both premiums and expected out-of-pocket costs – so they can pick the right plan to get them through the next year.
The good news is that some Medicare costs will actually be going down. HHS says the average Medicare Advantage monthly premium will be $18, which is 8% lower than the 2022 premium, and that enrollees will have a $35 cost-sharing limit and more coverage for vaccines thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. Additionally, CNBC reports that the Medicare Part B premium will be $5.20 less for plan year 2023.
Don’t Forget About the New CMS Requirements
CMS has introduced some new requirements for Medicare sales agents. This AEP, all sales calls and Zoom meetings need to be recorded, and the recordings need to be stored securely for at least 10 years. The requirement has been in effect as of October 1, so you should already have a recording system in place.
A new disclaimer requirement has also gone into effect. CMS is now requiring the following disclaimer:
“We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all your options.”
This disclaimer should already be on your website and marketing materials. You’ll also need to include it at the very beginning of your sales calls and electronic communications with clients, so make sure you’re making this a habit this AEP.
For more information on these requirements and how PTT can help with your call recording needs, see our article on changes to CMS guidelines.
This is going to be a busy AEP with lots of new challenges and changes. Get ready for a busy two months, but also make sure that you’re pacing yourself.
Set goals for yourself through the enrollment period. What do you want to accomplish each day? What do you want to accomplish each week? Plan this out ahead of time with clear, specific and attainable goals for the entire AEP so you can easily determine whether you’re staying on track or falling behind.
Also give yourself rewards and time for yourself so you can keep your energy and motivation up. These might be small rewards during AEP – like a treat from your favorite bakery – and then a bigger reward once AEP has finished.
Do you need help this AEP? We want you to have a successful AEP, and we’re here to support you. Call us today.