The 2022 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is fast approaching. Unfortunately, this will likely be the second AEP during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we continue to navigate new guidelines for a second year, we’re here to review the lessons we’ve learned from our first pandemic AEP to ensure that your sales experience this year will be as smooth and safe as possible.
Monitor CDC and/or Local Mandates for Updates
As the pandemic progresses and the virus itself continues to change, it’s important to keep following the guidance of health experts like those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Currently, the CDC advises that all eligible individuals get vaccinated against the coronavirus ASAP, as the three available COVID-19 vaccine options are the single greatest defense we have against preventing death and hospitalization from the virus. As of August 23, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now FDA-approved for individuals sixteen years or older, and will be marketed under it’s own name — Comirnaty. The Comirnaty vaccine “continues to be available under emergency use authorization for individuals 12 through 15 years of age, and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals” according to the FDA. Getting vaccinated may be the safest and easiest step you can take to keep both you and your clients safe this AEP.
Additionally, the CDC states that unvaccinated persons should wear face masks in public settings or when around other individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, and try to maintain social distancing whenever possible. As of July 27, 2021, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask in areas of substantial or high transmission, as designated by the CDC.
All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask in areas of substantial or high transmission, as designated by the CDC.
While you can still contract the virus if you’re fully vaccinated, especially in states where the infection rate is substantially high, “Fully vaccinated people have made up as few as 0.1 percent of and as many as 5 percent of those hospitalized with the virus in those states, and as few as 0.2 percent and as many as 6 percent of those who have died,” according to a report by the New York Times as of August 2021. This new data aligns with the efficacy ratings of the approved vaccines and demonstrates that the vaccines are working as they’re intended to, regardless of the misinformation being spread around the internet.
Find a Comfortable and Safe Way to Meet This AEP
Be communicative with your Medicare clients and make sure you’re taking every necessary precaution to keep their safety needs a priority — while doing the same for yourself! If you or your client don’t feel comfortable in a traditional, closed-door meeting, take some steps to ensure that you can meet safely and comfortably! You could choose to meet outside if the weather permits, or you could meet remotely and handle any necessary paperwork — such as Scope of Appointment collection or plan enrollment — through a CMS-approved virtual platform like your Medicareful website!
You could choose to meet outside if the weather permits, or you could meet remotely and handle any necessary paperwork through a CMS-approved virtual platform like Medicareful!
Ultimately, you should try to remain versatile and have multiple meeting places or options for Medicare client enrollment available to suit each unique need presented by your clients. Having extra hand sanitizer and masks available for your customers is also a good idea. Essentially, implementing small changes to keep your sales space clean, presentable, and safe will be sure to earn your clients’ respect and allow them to feel safe and sanitary in your company.
Keep Enrolling Medicare Clients Virtually This AEP
While signing up beneficiaries remotely may not be the traditional method of enrolling clients in Medicare plans, it’s quicker, easier, and as compliant as ever. With Ritter’s one-of-a-kind enrollment website, Medicareful, you can enroll clients and collect Scope of Appointments remotely while also advertising your business and generating more leads for FREE! You can virtually compare plans and prescription drug prices using our free quoting tools and can find the perfect plan for your clients to enroll in on your Medicareful website with just the click of a button. Even better, you can send your clients prefilled enrollment applications — now even to those without a shared client record or Medicareful consumer account via FastTrack! With Medicareful, you can truly complete enrollments quicker than ever before.
Did you know? Ritter agents who enrolled clients through Medicareful wrote an average of 16 more applications than non-Medicareful agents during this past AEP!
With the demand for remote enrollment only poised to grow alongside the list of carriers available on the website, Medicareful seems primed to produce another record AEP for our agents! With consistent year-over-year growth as evidenced by the chart below, the time couldn’t be better to get your own website and be properly prepared for whatever the second pandemic AEP throws at you.
Sell Medicare Advantage & Part D Plans Prepped for a Pandemic
Not only did Medicare online enrollment grow in 2021, but many carriers reacted accordingly by enhancing their plan offerings to ensure that their Medicare Advantage plans meet the demands of the modern, pandemic-stricken times we live in — and they’ve continued to do so for 2022! This adjustment in coverage is beneficial in different ways for different people. Zero-dollar premium plans can be more advantageous for those who’ve had a sudden income change and still have serious health needs. Increased telehealth options can be beneficial for individuals who are looking to maintain as much social distance as possible (or who may be physically unable to get to the doctor often).
Not only did Medicare online enrollment grow in 2021, but many carriers reacted accordingly by enhancing their plan offerings.
Being a well-rounded agent is more crucial now than ever! Keep Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) handy in your portfolio for Medicaid-eligible Medicare clients, and don’t underestimate the value of Part D and Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans, because everyone deserves affordable prescription drug coverage during this time! Over-the-counter benefits, nurse hotlines, and dental, vision, and hearing coverage are some of the common offerings from insurance carriers included with these enhanced plans to meet the demands of the modern Medicare recipient.
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Above all, remain prepared to adjust to any potential wrenches that could be thrown into your sales plan this AEP. While social distancing requirements in your area may not be as strict as last AEP, it’s vital to at least remain flexible just in case.
More optimistically, the new technologies and techniques that agents, field marketing organizations, and carriers have implemented in reaction to the first pandemic AEP are here to stay and be utilized as a more modern method of insurance sales. Online enrollments and increased availability to affordable plans that centralize and meet every client need are unlikely to fade away or revert to more primitive times. So, agents need to ensure that they’re modernizing and following suit to be competitive and successful for the 2022 AEP and beyond!
As you’re preparing for the 2022 AEP, Ritter is here to support your success every step of the way. Contact your sales specialist today or register with Ritter to learn more about how we can boost your business.