Every Medicare insurance sales agent knows that the Annual Election period from October 15 to December 7 is the busiest time of the year. The first three months of the year, when the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period gives dissatisfied enrollees a second change, can also get busy. But what about the rest of the year? Although things might not be as hectic, there are plenty of year-round opportunities for Medicare sales.
People age into Medicare when they turn 65, and this is a great, year-round opportunity for Medicare sales agents.
But don’t wait until someone turns 65 to start reaching out. The Initial Enrollment Period lasts for seven months, and it starts three months before the beneficiary’s 65th birthday. The beneficiary may start looking at coverage options even earlier.
Not everyone enrolls in Medicare the moment they turn 65. Although 65 is often seen as the traditional retirement age, some people are still working, or they may have a spouse who is still working. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there were more than 8 million workers between the ages of 65 and 74 and nearly 2 million workers ages 75 and older in 2020.
Many of these older workers have group health plan coverage through work, and if their plan qualifies them for penalty-free late Medicare enrollment, they might decide to wait to sign up. After they stop working or lose coverage, they can qualify for an eight-month Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Medicare.
The Recently Relocated
The U.S. Census Bureau says that 27.1 million Americans moved in 2021. Seniors may move when they retire or when they decide they need to downsize. If they have a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan and they move out of the plan’s service area, they will need to select a new plan, and they will be given a Special Enrollment Period to do so. Seniors who move back to the U.S. after living abroad will also be given a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for coverage.
Enrollees with Special Needs
Medicare’s Special Needs Plans cater to enrollees who have chronic conditions, are also eligible for Medicaid or require institutional care. According to KFF, 26.4 million people enrolled in Medicare Advantage in 2021, and 15% of them enrolled in Special Needs Plans.
Due to Special Enrollment Periods, enrollment in Special Needs Plans can take place throughout the year. For example, Medicare enrollees can qualify for a Special Enrollment Period when they move into or out of a skilled nursing facility or other institution. Likewise, Medicare beneficiaries with a chronic condition can use a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan that caters to their condition at any time.
Dual eligible enrollees – those who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid – can make enrollment changes multiple times a year. Enrollees who qualify for Extra Help may also have these opportunities to change their prescription drug coverage. One change is allowed in the three-month period that runs from January to March, one change is allowed between April and June, and one change is allowed between July and September. This is on top of the regular Annual Election Period. Medicare enrollees will also be granted a Special Enrollment Period if they lose their Medicaid eligibility.
Other Special Enrollment Periods
Other circumstances can also trigger Special Enrollment Periods. For example, a beneficiary who made an enrollment decision based on an error by a federal employee may be given a second chance to sign up for a suitable plan. Likewise, if a plan loses its contract with Medicare, the enrollees can qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to pick a different plan.
See Medicare’s list of Special Enrollment Periods for more details and scenarios.
Maintaining Contact Year-Round
Selling Medicare insurance is a year-round job.
- Keep your lead generation activities active year-round. Whether they’re aging into Medicare, signing up for the first time after losing job-based coverage or looking for coverage because they just moved back to the U.S., many people need enrollment help throughout the year.
- Stay in touch with your clients. You never know when your clients will need help with special circumstances, or when a friend of theirs will need assistance enrolling in a plan. Make sure they know you’re available to help.
Taking advantage of year-round Medicare sales opportunities is a great way to grow your business. Do you need help more support? See how PTT Financial stands out in business growth.