During this annual countdown to AEP, you’re working hard to ensure you’re ready. As you check off your carrier certifications, take some extra time to make sure you haven’t overlooked any carrier-specific requirements. The certification process and training requirements vary by carrier and can change every year, as can opportunities to earn extra incentives. Don’t make any assumptions based on what you did last year – it could affect your earnings this AEP.
If you intend to sell any new carrier plans for 2024 AEP, the first step is to “get appointed” to sell the carrier’s products. Some carriers will allow you to skip this process if you already sell their other product lines (such as ACA plans), whereas others require a separate contract for each of their products. The average turnaround time for contract approval is seven to 10 days – but the closer we get to AEP, the longer the wait could be. If you miss an opportunity to contract with a carrier that offers a competitive plan in your area, you risk losing clients and missing out on potential commissions.
Carrier Certifications and Training Requirements
In addition to AHIP certification, you must renew your carrier certifications every year prior to AEP. Bear in mind that you may not be finished even if you have completed your certification: some carriers require agents to complete product-specific training each year. These product-specific curriculums ensure agents are fully knowledgeable about the carrier’s products, ethics, and compliance expectations.
Once you have completed all the carrier’s requirements, you should receive a certificate of completion that deems you “ready to sell.” If you have not received this, contact the carrier to make sure you’re not missing anything. Don’t assume you are all set – you don’t want any surprises once AEP begins. If you write a policy for a client without having completed all the necessary steps, the carrier may refuse to pay your commission.
Additional Incentives for Completing Health Risk Assessments
In addition to commissions, some carriers are offering an incentive of as much as $100 when you help a client complete a Health Risk Assessment (HRA). HRAs are an important screening tool for Medicare beneficiaries that can help identify health status, risk factors, and gaps in care. Not all carriers conduct HRAs, and the submission rules differ for each of those that do. For example, although most carriers require completion of the HRA within 90 days of initial enrollment, deadlines vary by carrier. Some carriers may accept electronic submission of HRAs, whereas others may only accept paper forms.
HRAs are a win-win for you and your clients. They not only provide an extra income opportunity for you, but they also benefit your clients with improved healthcare outcomes. When you help a client complete an HRA, you strengthen your relationship with this client. An HRA can provide you with vital information that will help guide you in future discussions about the client’s healthcare coverage.
Successful Medicare agents know that details matter. Don’t let oversights derail your AEP momentum – take advantage of every opportunity to maximize commissions and incentives. This will ensure not only your success but also your client’s satisfaction.
The experienced team at Western Asset Protection is here to support you during AEP and throughout the year. Contact us today.