Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s inception in 2009, the individual health care marketplace has seen a lot of ebb and flow as it’s grown to become a rewarding and lucrative insurance product for agents to sell.
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For agents who specialize in Medicare, there are some specific benefits to adding ACA plans to your portfolio. We’re here to discuss how you can boost your sales with these non-Medicare contracts!
Please note, it is illegal for any insurance agent to knowingly sell an ACA plan to an individual who is Medicare eligible.
Reason #1: You Can Earn Commission Per Member, Per Month
Let’s cut to the chase: commissions. You, of course, want to know if selling ACA plans will be worth the energy you put into their marketing and meeting with clients — and rightfully so! Your time and bottom-dollar are vital to your business’ success.
Once upon a time, ACA commissions were a contentious topic, with many carriers cutting payments to agents due to complicated legislature in the marketplace and many companies leaving the industry altogether.
However, that’s no longer the case as ACA commissions are higher than ever, and also typically get paid per client, per month! While the renewal income in the second year will be lower than the initial enrollment commission (as is standard with Medicare), this creates a golden opportunity for agents to make a steady monthly income, which adds up quickly when you’re insuring entire households with multiple family members.
Reason #2: More Americans Are Eligible for Coverage Than Ever Before
The American Rescue Plan of 2021 made ACA insurance accessible to more Americans than ever before by lowering the eligibility criteria for ACA subsidies and providing tax benefits to lower insurance premiums for those who qualify. While these enhanced premium credits were set to expire after 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) extended ACA subsidies for another three years — though the end of 2025.
The ARPA also added a new Special Enrollment Period for certain low-income individuals to be able to enroll in the marketplace outside of the Open Enrollment Period.
The American Rescue Plan of 2021 made ACA insurance accessible to more Americans than ever before by lowering the eligibility criteria for ACA subsidies and providing tax benefits to lower insurance premiums for those who qualify.
Reason #3: Your Client’s Spouse May Not Be Medicare Eligible
If you’re already a bona fide Medicare agent, then you’ve probably experienced a scenario where there’s an age difference between your client and their spouse — one is over 65, eligible for Medicare and likely in their Initial Enrollment Period, while the other isn’t. This leaves the younger spouse to find coverage apart from their partner. An agent who also has ACA plans in their portfolio can ensure this whole family is covered by being able to offer the younger spouse coverage as well!
Age differences aside, ACA coverage also works in scenarios where clients don’t have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security and Medicare (and can even apply to someone over 65 who isn’t Medicare eligible). Also, some clients have young children who aren’t eligible to be covered by Medicare, so that’s another opportunity for you to ensure the whole family is covered with you as their Agent of Record!
Reason #4: You’ll Sell From Carriers You’re Already Familiar With
You may be surprised to learn that many carriers you’re already working with, and who are staples in the Medicare industry, also offer marketplace plans for those who are under 65! Carriers such Aetna, Anthem, Centene (Wellcare), Cigna, and many more nationwide offer both Medicare and ACA plans to cover clients of all age groups and eligibilities.
Working with carriers you’re already contracted with or have been in the past can be an invaluable experience because you can work alongside a company you already know! This makes the contracting process even easier and may even enable you to work with the same representative(s) for all your business needs!
Working with carriers you’re already contracted with or have been in the past can be an invaluable experience because you can work alongside a company you already know!
Reason #5: ACA Certification Is Easier Than Medicare’s
Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Certification is FREE!
Unlike AHIP, the certification course that Medicare agents are likely very familiar with, FFM is completely free! Think of this training as the ACA version of AHIP, but maybe even a little simpler. While certain states may require additional training or certifications — completing this training is a beneficial first step for any agent to get out and start selling! Even better, carrier certifications aren’t required like with Medicare, so the process of entering this market is much easier than what you’re already used to. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) facilitate this training, and up-to-date information about certification can be found on their website.
Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Certification is FREE!
Note: Some states may require additional certifications.
Reason #6: Your ACA Clients Could Become Your Medicare Clients
Developing a strong relationship with clients before they age into Medicare might be one of the smartest moves an insurance agent can make over the next few years, as record numbers of Baby Boomers will age into Medicare through 2030. In the meantime, though, many are retiring in advance of their 65th birthday, and will still need health insurance during their waiting period before receiving Social Security and Medicare. Plus, as previously mentioned, everyone in the family likely won’t age into Medicare simultaneously, so this will set you up to insure the whole household!
Developing a strong relationship with clients before they age into Medicare might be one of the smartest moves an insurance agent can make over the next few years, as record numbers of Baby Boomers will age into Medicare through 2030.
Reason #7: You Can Extend Your Busy Season and Make Record Sales
As every Medicare agent knows, the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from October 15 to December 7 of every year.
Well, the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for marketplace plans overlaps with part of Medicare’s AEP, and was extended 30 more days for the 2022 enrollment season and beyond. The marketplace OEP begins November 1 and ends January 15. This stretches your busy season out an entire extra month and can make for a lucrative reward for all your hard work going into the new year!
Reason #8: Being a Well-Rounded Agent Is the Key to Succeeding in Insurance Sales
Adding ACA plans to your insurance portfolio opens you up to an entirely new market of potential clientele from all ages, backgrounds, and locations! We encourage agents who operate in any sect of the industry to broaden their horizons and expand their portfolios. Health insurance is certainly no exception and perhaps the greatest example of the benefits of this philosophy.
Become a Ritter agent and we’ll help guide you toward ACA plans that compliment your insurance portfolio perfectly — register today for FREE!
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Working with a field marketing organization (FMO) like Ritter can connect you with ACA, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, ancillary, and many more types of insurance contracts that you otherwise may not have access to or even know about! Diversification, in both contracts and clientele, is the key to success in this industry, and Ritter is committed to helping our agents succeed. If you’re interested in learning more about what Ritter can do for your insurance business, or if you’re ready to find ACA plans to add to your current Medicare portfolio, contact your Ritter sales specialist today to get started!
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the most recent information from the Inflation Reduction Act.