Ever receive a panicked call from someone who turned 65 almost four months ago and doesn’t know how to enroll in Medicare? Cue everyone scrambling.
How can you keep things calm and collected?
There are a lot of moving parts in Medicare, and it makes sense that consumers get confused about the when, where, and how. We have tips on how you, as an agent, can empower those in your community to educate themselves about Medicare and to take proactive steps to prepare for enrollment before panic mode sets in.
The Power of Empowerment
We’re all looking to feel empowered — the on-top-of-the-world feeling that makes you believe you can accomplish anything and that spurs you to action. As adults in your community age and retire, it’s important for them to maintain a sense of agency for their physical health and emotional well-being. Working to empower your clients will do more for you than save you from a rushed Medicare enrollment; it will build up your reputation as someone who cares about the community, which always does your business good.
What Is Empowerment?
Research on the subject of empowerment has led to the creation of its definition as:
- A process
- That occurs in communities, and
- Involves active participation, critical reflection, awareness, understanding, and access to and control over important decisions and resources
Since empowerment is a group activity, you can’t force others to feel it, but you can do your part in fostering a positive environment where empowerment can flourish. Positioning older adults in your community towards empowerment will enable them to take the necessary steps of self-education and action needed for a smooth transition to Medicare.
The Benefits of Promoting Empowerment
When people take the time to educate themselves on a subject, they’ll often:
- Learn productively at their own pace
- Strengthen their problem-solving skills
- Manage their priorities more effectively
Empowered, knowledgeable, and proactive older adults make for great clients who can become partners in the search for Medicare coverage. They’ll be invested in the process, ask questions, and follow up in a timely manner. Having enthusiastic and involved clients increases the likelihood of a strong client-agent relationship that will result in more referrals, too.
Empower Your Prospects
Trying some or all of the following suggestions will fulfill the definition of empowerment. You can actively participate in your community in the process, providing resources and services that give others awareness, understanding, and access to and control over decisions.
Start with a Checklist
Creating a checklist of steps people can take around the time they turn 65 gives you a valuable resource you can provide your community. In fact, we’ve done the work of creating a checklist for you! You can even download a copy to print and disperse.
|Time frame||What to do|
|One year before turning 65||Familiarize yourself with the basics of Medicare. Living.Medicareful.com & Medicare.gov are great places to start.|
|Six months before turning 65||
Begin researching plan options. Contact a licensed insurance agent if you need support.
Stop contributing to your HSA, if you have one.
|Three months before turning 65||
Enroll yourself in Medicare Part A & B.
Make an appointment to finalize your plan choice and enrollment if you desire coverage options beyond Original Medicare.
|Happy 65th Birthday!||If you’re not enrolled yet, call a licensed insurance agent ASAP for help.|
|Three months after turning 65||Your Medicare initial enrollment period ends. You must wait for the next enrollment window if you don’t start Medicare this month.|
Since this checklist constitutes general information about Medicare, you can disseminate it at in-person educational or sales events or digitally on your website or over email. Give it to current clients, too, and ask them to pass it along to friends and family who aren’t yet 65. Just be sure to include the TPMO disclaimer!
Host Educational & Sales Events
Leading regular community-wide educational and sales events allows you to reach and inform more people about Medicare basics and your services. Consider holding your events at the public library, community center, or local school. Pass out materials ordered on ShopRitterIM.com and copies of your checklist. Just make sure you follow all the necessary CMS rules so your educational and sales events stay compliant.
You can also offer to set up educational appointments with people who reach out to you well in advance of their enrollment window. Some clients will be looking for information even as far as five years out from retirement or their 65th birthday. Taking the time to sit down and provide education and resources on what steps to take enables them to create a timeline to retirement that works for them. It also demonstrates that you’re serious about empowering them to act as partners in the process.
Make Business Connections
Consider connecting with local businesses to form affinity partnerships. If your community has a business coalition, consider joining. Businesses may have employees nearing retirement age who could benefit from your expertise. Offer to lead educational events for employees and ask the business to keep your checklist and other educational materials on hand in case employees nearing retirement age ask for resources. Any clientele you generate from your affinity partnerships will then already know Medicare fundamentals and be ready for the next steps. Just make sure any materials you supply follow all the necessary CMS regulations.
Once you gather leads and have permission to contact, reach out to your potential clients through mail or email. Send your checklist and other traditional marketing pieces, like T65 mailers, inviting your potential clients to act. The tone of your communications matter. If all you say is, “Contact me to answer all your questions,” then you haven’t really involved them in the process of empowerment. Instead try including some simple and clear action items, like your checklist, and resources, like Medicare.gov and Ritter’s regularly updated consumer blog Medicareful Living. Not only will they feel fueled to educate themselves and take action, but they’ll also appreciate the confidence in your tone and invitation to act as a partner.
How Ritter Helps
You don’t have to wait until someone turns 65 or becomes a client to help them. Targeting those who are far from turning 65 gives them time to hold up their side of the empowerment equation. Here at Ritter Insurance Marketing, we’re big on empowering agents and consumers alike.
Using Medicareful Living As An Educational Resource
Utilize our consumer-facing blog Medicareful Living as an educational resource that your prospects and clients can visit to learn about Medicare basics and healthy lifestyle and diet choices. A wealth of subject matter, you’ll find subjects ranging from updates in Medicare legislation to tips on celebrating holidays and everything in between. When you provide this resource to your prospects, invite them to act and educate themselves. Acting and educating can take many forms too, whether it’s reading about the parts of Medicare or downloading a copy of the Medicareful Living Family Cookbook. You can even brand Medicareful Living with your name and contact info (must be registered and logged in to see instructions), so any prospects who pull up the link you provide will see your digital business card.
Using Medicareful to Generate Quotes and Collect Enrollments
Employ Medicareful as your prospects transform into clients. Medicareful is a free website that gives your clients the ability to:
- Quote plans from carriers with whom you’re contracted
- Fill out texted or emailed electronic Scopes of Appointment
- Complete prefilled FastTrack applications
Medicareful allows you to empower your clients to play a more active role in their enrollment while making your job simpler.
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Being an insurance agent who empowers others gives you the opportunity to form strong relationships with your clients. Both you and your client will enjoy the give and take of action and responsibility that comes when a relationship is truly two-sided. And in that relationship, we wouldn’t be surprised if your client ends up empowering you to be a more intentional and thorough agent, too! You’ll both be active participants in the process, critically reflecting on the best-fitting plan, raising awareness of what’s important to both of you, reaching an understanding, and coming to important decisions together.
Ritter is here to empower you as an agent. Join our community as an active participant in your success!