9 Tips to Submitting an Error-Free Application

Any time an application gets flagged during the submission process, it’s a delay on your clients’ coverage and your commission. What if we told you we can help you avoid stalled applications?

Throughout the year, Ritter Insurance Marketing processes thousands of enrollment applications for agents. To help you ensure your submissions pass through the system cleanly, we worked with Ritter’s New Business team to put together some tips for completing flawless applications.

Listen to this article:

1. Write Neatly and Legibly

Using a pen with blue or black ink, do your best to keep your handwriting easy-to-read. If there’s any room for interpretation, Ritter or the carrier will end up circling back to confirm what’s meant, which delays the process.

If you can’t read the application, its likely we can’t either. It never hurts to review the application with the client to ensure its accuracy before moving it through the submission process.

2. Keep in Compliance with SOA Rules

CMS’ rules on Scopes of Appointment (SOAs) dictate that agents must complete an SOA prior to an appointment. It’s important to document what plans you’ll be discussing before the appointment occurs; even if the client is a walk-in, simply ensure an SOA is completed before the meeting begins.

Please note, you cannot complete SOAs for AEP before October 1.

On the SOA itself, make sure that at least one of the selected types of contracts to be discussed on the SOA matches the plan that’s chosen on the application. Additionally, make sure that each field is filled out in its entirety and is legible, just like with the application. If during your meeting, you and the client decide you’d like to discuss additional plan types, simply fill out another SOA.

The SOA is a good point of reference for agents to easily access clients’ contact information in the future. Even if certain fields are “optional” on the SOA, it’s likely in your best interest to make sure everything is filled out anyways!

SOAs must be kept on file for 10 years per CMS rules, regardless of if a sale occurred or not. Keep in mind, even as CMS rules change, some carriers may maintain their current policies. You’re still responsible for following the procedures of the carriers you represent.

Even if certain fields are “optional” on the SOA, it’s likely in your best interest to make sure everything is filled out anyways!

3. Provide Details Where Required

If an applicant answers “yes” to any health question that requires additional information, be sure it’s provided on the application. Additionally, if the SEP requires any extra information (e.g., a chosen PCP, Medicaid, PDP, or Extra Help info), it must also be on the application.

4. Select a PCP When Necessary

If an applicant would like a carrier to auto-assign a primary care physician (PCP), be sure to note that in the appropriate field. Some plans require a PCP selection, so leaving this field blank could hold up an application’s approval.

Typically, applications for HMO plans require the applicant to specify an in-network PCP. Check to make sure an in-network PCP is on any application for an HMO plan to prevent roadblocks in the enrollment process.

As with most application information, it’s always better to have more information rather than not enough. Therefore, if your client can list a PCP, request they do so regardless of the requirement.

5. Match the Attestation with the Election Period

The selected period in the attestation of eligibility section needs to align with the selection of IEP, AEP, or SEP in the agent/office use section of the application.

If the election period requires a date (such as the date a client is losing coverage), make sure it’s present and accurate. Additionally, if the SEP requires any extra information such as Medicaid, PDP, or Extra Help info it must be on the application.

If the SEP requires any extra information such as Medicaid, PDP, or Extra Help info it must be on the application

If you need clarification for which period to select, you can ask your Ritter sales specialist.

6. Never Alter a Client’s Signature

Even though you may have the best of intentions, altering a client’s signature, or the associated date, on an application is strictly prohibited.

This rule extends to the SOA or any other documents that go with the application, and even your own signature or date as the agent. It’s always better to start a new application with your client or to apply late than to forge and falsify a legal document.

Even though you may have the best of intentions, altering a client’s signature, or the associated date, on an application is strictly prohibited.

7. Make Sure the Application Is Complete

Every part of the application is important to us, the carrier, and your client, so it’s vital you make sure the application is complete. As a Ritter agent, you can reduce your chances of missing information by using our Medicareful website for Medicare Advantage or Part D online enrollments for many of our carriers. The site automatically flags errors on the application!

If your clients prefer paper applications, we offer scrubbing guides for our carriers on our Ritter Docs website, so you know exactly how to fill out an application before submission. Our New Business department is also on standby to answer any questions you have about the process and provide quality analysis once we have the application for any carriers we process.

8. Submit the Application on Time

Once you’ve taken the time to review the application, be sure to submit it with the appropriate cover sheet, and any other required documents, within the specified time-period.

Applications must be submitted to Ritter within 24 hours, so that they can arrive at the carrier no later than 48 hours from the agent’s signature date. If you’re late, you risk being penalized by the carrier. Plus, why hold things up? A delayed enrollment is a delayed commission.

9. When in Doubt, Call for Help

Your business is serving your clients, and our business is serving you. If you have any questions about submitting an application, don’t hesitate to call Ritter for assistance.

● ● ●

Tired of completing SOAs and enrollment applications by hand? Medicareful, powered by Ritter Insurance Marketing, offers compliant eSOAs and online enrollment options for more than 20 major carriers. Learn more

Related Posts


Like being the first to know? So do we. Join the thousands of independent agents getting the first word from Ritter.

Register with Ritter!