October 15, the first day permitting 2023 Medicare Advantage and Part D plan enrollments, will be here sooner than you think. What should you do to prepare? Start with the Agent Survival Guide’s AEP Checklist!
Pick your portfolio’s plans
Finish Medicare training
Complete online product certification
Fulfill face-to-face training if required
As First Looks start to become available, you’ll realize why you should be selling 2023 Medicare Advantage products. Let’s review how you can prepare your portfolio and make sure you’re up to date on your AHIP training certification.
Watch Our Preparing for AEP Webinar
Check out our recent webinar recording covering Ritter’s tools and tips to help you better prepare for a successful AEP! | View now
Select Your Plans
Now’s the best time to look over your current appointments and consider what’s worked for your clients and what hasn’t.
Start by asking, “Do I have the brand plan that clients are going to ask for?” People recognize popular names and attach inherent value to those products. The big players might not offer the best products for your clients, but it’s valuable to associate your business with strong brands.
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, do you offer the plan you feel is the best choice? Never forget, you’re the expert here. Your clients look to you as their trusted advisor. Popular, high-enrollment plans aren’t always the greatest fit, and plans can change from one year to the next.
Do you offer the plan you feel is the best choice? Never forget, you’re the expert here.
Often, a local plan might offer a better network or more suitable benefits for your client. If you have a client who’s used the same hospital for years, they’ll probably want a plan with that hospital in its network. If there’s a new plan in your market for 2023, it’s a good idea to get familiar with it.
Think about times when you failed to make a sale because you weren’t appointed with a specific carrier or product. The next few months are also a good time to consider what ancillary products you can offer to make a meeting the most beneficial for you and your client.
Why’s it so important to do this now? It’s pretty hard to add a contract at the last minute. On average, it takes the carrier about seven to 10 business days to process contracting and background checks. As we get closer to AEP, that contracting turnaround time can take as long as four to six weeks, and that’s before factoring in product certifications! The earlier you start contracting, the better.
Do Your Medicare & FWA Training
In order to sell Medicare Advantage plans, you’re required to complete Medicare and Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (FWA) training. Two of the most popular methods of attaining these certifications are to complete AHIP training or NAHU Medicare Advantage training courses.
Some carriers mandate a specific training platform. Make sure you check the carrier’s certification requirements to see which certifications they accept.
For 2023 certification, the cost of AHIP training is $175, but some carriers may offer AHIP discounts or reimbursements when you use their broker portal. At Ritter, we work to keep our carrier pages up to date with these offers and certification instructions. You must log in to RitterIM.com to view the carrier pages on Ritter Docs.
Once again this year, Ritter is offering an AHIP incentive! If you contract with select carriers, you could qualify for $125 AHIP reimbursement.* For more information on this incentive, its eligibility requirements, and qualifying carriers, contact your sales specialist!
*Agent must be level 4, direct to Ritter. Must be for new appointments, not contract renewals. Disbursement will only occur following carrier confirmation that the agent is “ready-to-sell” by 10/15/2022. Only one $125 reimbursement will be distributed to a single agent per year. All payments will be disbursed to qualifying agents after 2/1/2023. Ritter is solely responsible for the distribution of the $125 reimbursement
Pro tip for AHIP exams: Have a comfy seat and strong Wi-Fi. The test must be taken in one sitting. Once launched, your score is counted no matter what.
You’ve done your research, picked the most appealing products in your market, and completed your annual Medicare compliance training exams. Check those off the checklist, and there are just a few steps left!
In addition to your general Medicare training, each carrier requires certifications to sell their Medicare products. Miramar:Agent is the platform used by many carriers for their product certification completion. On Ritter’s Certification Center, we provide links to information on certification, commissions, supplies, and how to submit applications. Prepping for every carrier’s certification can be time-consuming, so we do our best to put it all in one place for you.
When it’s time to take your online certification, we suggest removing all distractions. Carrier certification can be a hefty task. That’s why we recommend getting it done and out of the way as early as possible.
Give yourself at least two hours for certification trainings. If you have three contracts — perhaps two of the big players and the most competitive local product — that could mean an entire workday of certification exams.
If you can turn off your email and phone, you’ll put yourself in the best position to succeed. Work in an office? Try closing the door. If you work from home with kids around, send them to a sitter for the afternoon.
Why do we suggest such drastic measures? Because carrier certifications are important!
We recommend getting carrier certifications done as early as possible.
Most carriers operate by a three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy. They’ll only give you three attempts to pass their certification exam and usually require a score of 90 percent or higher. If you fail a carrier’s exam three times, you’ll be locked out from marketing their products for the entire plan year.
Don’t be discouraged if you fail two times in a row. Keep in mind how the test questions are phrased and use some time to review your study materials. Take a break and walk away from it before taking another swing.
Fulfill Any Face-to-Face Training Requirements
And finally, some carriers may require face-to-face training. When certification information becomes available in the coming weeks, we’ll work to keep you informed of each carrier’s requirements. Ritter’s events calendar will help you find face-to-face trainings available near you.
Now You’re Set
Don’t let Medicare Advantage season sneak up on you. There’s plenty of time to prepare your portfolio in the next few months, and we’ll let you know about every strong product in your market.
Run down this checklist, making sure to take care of your Medicare certifications early. And don’t forget to follow up with carrier certifications for all of the products in your rebuilt portfolio. Before you know it, you’ll put certifications behind you and have plenty of time to order your Medicare enrollment kits, check in with your clients, polish your sales presentations, and evaluate your sales tools. Consider yourself prepared for AEP!
● ● ●
Editor’s Note: This was originally published in May 2016. It has been updated to include information more relevant to the 2023 Annual Enrollment Period.