Are you considering a career as a Medicare insurance agent?
If so, there couldn’t be a better time to begin.
For one, the Medicare insurance market is growing every day. Reports show that enrollment in Medicare has doubled since 2010.
As America’s population ages, the over-65 demographic is growing at a rapid pace. For a Medicare insurance agent, this means you have an assured, increasing market base.
What’s more, there is also an increasing number of plans available to beneficiaries. Currently, beneficiaries have access to a total of 33 different Medicare Advantage plans, far more than in previous years.
This wide range means that there are more plans for agents to sell. It also means that consumers need the help of agents more than ever as they try to isolate the right plans for their needs.
However, if you’re new to insurance sales, the process of getting started can feel daunting.
Has uncertainty been holding you back from becoming a Medicare insurance agent?
If so, continue reading to find out everything you need to know in this guide on how to start selling Medicare plans.
Enroll in Medicare Insurance Agent Training
The first step to becoming a Medicare insurance agent is enrolling in Medicare training. One of the top Medicare agent career benefits is that you don’t need a degree to qualify.
In some cases, having a degree in business, economics, or a related field can be beneficial. However, this usually only comes into play if you’re applying for an insurance sales job. If you are going to sell insurance independently, not holding a degree probably won’t make much of a difference in your career.
However, you will need to educate yourself about selling insurance. You will also need to study for your state’s insurance licensing exam and pass the AHIP Medicare training.
Besides studying up for your license exam, you should also enroll in Medicare agent training that teaches you things like sales strategies and marketing techniques.
Selling insurance is a competitive field, thanks to its high earning potential. To beat the competition, it’s essential that you learn how to reach and sell to your market base.
Lastly, you will also need to complete carrier-specific compliance and product certifications. We will get into this in more detail below.
To get licensed, you will need to begin by finding out your state’s requirements. Different states have varying requirements for health insurance licenses.
To check which requirements apply to you, you can visit this page on the Nation Insurance Producer Registry site.
You should also visit your state’s insurance department website to verify what documentation you’ll need to submit.
Need to find your state’s insurance department site? This directory has a full list of links.
Once you have clarified your state’s requirements, you can then proceed to take your pre-licensing training. Make sure that you choose an approved course.
Once you are ready to apply for your license, you can also do this via National Insurance Producer Registry.
Take and Pass AHIP Medicare Training
Besides gaining your insurance license, you will also need to take and pass America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Medicare training. Every year, this has to be done to ensure that Medicare insurance agents keep up with the latest developments, products, and regulations.
Some of the areas that the AHIP training covers include:
- Healthcare laws
- Eligibility basics
- Options for prescription drug coverage?
- Available benefits
- Networks such as PPO, HMO, and Fee-for-Service
- Claims adjudication
- Professional ethics
- Enrollment and marketing compliance and regulations
Agents are only allowed three attempts at the AHIP certification test. Therefore, you will need to make sure you invest some time to prepare thoroughly.
Decide Whether to Work Independently or for an Insurance Carrier
Another important step in becoming a Medicare insurance agent is to decide whether you want to work independently or for an insurance carrier or brokerage.
There are pros and cons to both these paths. If you work for an insurance broker or a carrier, you might earn a retainer. However, this isn’t always the case, and retainers tend to be very low.
Overall, working as an independent agent generally gives you more scope and earning potential. Over time, you can grow your insurance sales into a profitable business.
Starting Picking Plans
If you will be working as an independent Medicare agent, the next step is to start picking out plans to sell.
To get started, think about your target market and their demographics and needs.
What are their income levels and typical budgets? What are their health statuses?
The answers to these questions will help you narrow down which plans to start selling.
Begin Securing Carrier Contracts
Once you have completed your Medicare training courses, are fully licensed, and know what plans you want to sell, you will need to begin securing contracts with carriers. One of the easiest and most common ways to do this is by signing up with a Field Management Organization (FMO) or Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO).
FMOs act as intermediaries between independent agents and carriers. They streamline the contracting process and market, sell, and distribute insurance products directly to agents.
They also often support agents in other ways, through things such as training, discounts, and tools.
Take note, however, that you don’t have to work through an FMO or IMO. You can also work directly with carriers to secure contracts.
Different carriers have different contracting requirements. For instance, you can skip the contracting process with some carriers if you already sell one or more of their other products. With others, you’ll need to contract for every new product line you want to sell.
After submitting the required documents, you’ll need to wait for processing and background checks to be carried out. These can take anywhere from 7 days to a few weeks.
Once these are complete, you will receive your writing number.
Protip: Make a point to read through all contracts you receive very carefully.
They will contain important details on your partnership with the carrier, such as payment methods and contract termination rules.
Learn About Your Products
Another area of Medicare agent training you might need to complete is product-specific courses. Certain carriers require agents to take courses on individual products alongside their AHIP training. In some cases, carriers will also cover the cost of your AHIP training.
This allows agents to be better informed about their products, which ultimately results in better promotion and compliance.
These training requirements will differ between carriers, so ensure you check with each carrier you work with and ensure you have completed all of the required courses.
These product-specific courses usually need to be renewed annually to ensure you stay up-to-date with Medicare regulations and changes in carrier offerings.
Take Out E&O Insurance
Another thing to look into when becoming a Medicare insurance agent is E&O insurance. E&O insurance protects you from legal action as a result of negligence or an omission on your part.
Most carriers require agents to hold E&O insurance.
Some FMOs and IMOs provide their agents with E&O insurance. If yours doesn’t, or you are operating without an FMO, you can also take out E&O independently. Or, sign up for our program to get a hefty discount on E&O insurance.
E&O insurance costs roughly $300-$500 per year and will cover you up to a limit of between $1,000,000-$3,000,000.
Order Your Medicare Enrollment Kits From Carriers
Before your can start selling as a Medicare insurance agent, you’ll also need to order Medicare enrollment kits from your carriers.
These kits contain the consumer-facing materials you need to promote and sell individual Medicare products.
Some carriers host product rollout events before they ship out enrollment kits. These can be either in person or via a webinar. Try to attend these whenever possible, as you’ll get access to valuable information on new products.
Pro tip: make sure you order your enrollment kits as early as possible. The sooner you receive your enrollment kits, the faster you can begin selling the new year’s product lines.
Consumer-facing materials for each coming year usually come available by the 1st of October. Try to pre-order where you can. By pre-ordering, you can make sure your name is top of the list when carriers start shipping out kits.
Lastly, make sure you keep up good relationships with the representatives of your carriers and make a point to reach out to them to find out about kit shipments and rollouts.
Continue Your Insurance Sales Education
Now you are ready to start selling. But being a successful Medicare agent doesn’t stop there. The secret to being a top-performing agent is never to stop learning.
Therefore, besides completing any mandatory annual courses, ensure that you continue your own personal insurance sales education. Insurance sales is an art, and the more you learn, the better you will become and the more sales and income you will generate.
Are You Thinking of Becoming a Medicare Insurance Agent?
Have you been considering a career as a Medicare insurance agent but weren’t sure how to get started?
Now that you know the process finding a trusted education provider is the first place to begin.
Here at InsuranceSales101, we specialize in providing industry-leading training and support to Medicare agents. We are passionate about helping people like you follow their dreams and build a successful careers for themselves by selling Medicare products.
Through our training programs, you will receive access to on-demand training videos and content, one-on-one coaching and support, free tools, and more.