Many people have used a planner at some point to keep their lives organized. For insurance agents, like yourself, it is imperative to stay on top of mandatory tasks and sales windows, but if you rely on remembering it all or use a chaotic sticky note system, things could fall through the cracks.
Luckily, we’ve developed a simple yet detailed month-to-month planner for busy Medicare agents that will keep you on track and working effectively!
Plan for a Year Full of Success
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It’s no secret that a good plan can make or break the success of any business effort. When tackling whatever you’re trying to accomplish, especially if it’s over an extended period of time, laying out goals, recording important dates and deadlines, and implementing reminders can help improve the experience and yield more profitable outcomes. In fact, it has been reported that 71 percent of fast-growing companies have strategic plans, business plans, or similar long-range planning tools in place.
With that in mind, we’ve developed a planning tool that we think will be a game changer!
Ritter’s Months of Medicare At a Glance
Our month-to-month Medicare planner was designed specifically with busy Medicare agents in mind. Sometimes an empty planner can seem daunting — a whole year laid out in front of you and where to start? You might already have an idea of some important deadlines and in which months you should do this or that, but wouldn’t it be great if some of that was already recorded in your planner for you?
Good news — we took care of that! Our planner sets you off on your new sales year as soon as you download it. We encourage you to add your own reminders, important dates, and notes, but we’ve already set you up on a productive track.
Here’s a peek at what you can expect to see on your planner and why!
Follow Up with AEP Clients
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to follow-up with last year’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) clients. A simple check-in can go a long way for client retention and allow you to discover if your client is satisfied with the Medicare plan you helped them secure. If a client is unhappy with their Medicare Advantage (MA) plan purchased during AEP, the MA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) runs from January 1 to March 31. This enrollment period makes following up with your clients during the first quarter that much more effective since the solution of switching MA plans is within grasp.
Sell Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans
You can keep your momentum from AEP going by [selling Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans](/blog/the-benefits-of-selling-d-snps “The Benefits of Selling D-SNPs” (D-SNPs), and not only during quarter one, but all year! D-SNPs can be sold year-round, and since they’re a type of MA plan with the same Medicare compliance guidelines, you’re already in a great position to begin selling them. As they are designed for dually eligible beneficiaries who usually have lower incomes, these plans do feature different benefits. Selling D-SNPs can be a highly rewarding experience and not only for the commissions. You get the opportunity to help those in need secure vital health coverage that can promote healthier and happier lives.
Recognize American Heart Association Month
February is full of hearts, so it’s no surprise that we recognize the American Heart Association during this month. You can honor this association and boost your sales by adding heart attack and stroke insurance as a selling option to your portfolio. If you already offer these plans, this is a good time to review. Not only does this open another opportunity for you to sell during lock-in, but it also puts you in the position to extend vital coverage to your clients. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke claim more lives each year in the United States than other illnesses such as cancer and respiratory disease. With these conditions so prevalent, there’s certainly a need for insurance.
Market Your Business with Community Involvement
We’re true believers in how effective volunteering in your community can be for your brand. It’s a low-cost marketing strategy that really promotes trust and respect from your clients and prospects. It also just feels good to help the people and area you serve, as 96 percent of volunteers reported the action enriched their sense of purpose in life.
Since April is National Volunteer Month, it makes sense to set a goal of increasing your community involvement. Surely, you can volunteer any time of the year, but knowing others are focusing on the same goal at the same time could give you an extra push to accomplish it!
Some places you can volunteer in your community include:
- Your local library
- Hospitals or medical centers
- Food banks
- Community Arts centers
- Animal shelters and more!
Cross-Sell Coverage Like DVH Insurance
A well-rounded portfolio offers a variety of insurance plans and enables the prospect of cross-selling! Coverage gaps can happen, and if you aren’t equipped to fill them, you’re missing out on sales and could potentially encounter unhappy clients. Instead, provide ancillary coverage, like dental, vision, and hearing insurance, to keep your clients protected and satisfied. MA plans don’t always provide this coverage comprehensively and Medicare Supplements rarely come with benefits for routine services for dental, vision, or hearing. Additionally, these plans can be easily sold year-round with no underwriting required, and the benefits are simple to present to clients.
Prepare for Medicare Certification Training
Every Medicare insurance agent is familiar with the annual task of certification training. Whether you take AHIP or NABIP training, it’s important that you prepare for and pass these certifications so you can sell during the upcoming AEP and plan year. When preparing, make sure you review the training modules and take the practice quizzes. Even if you’ve completed this training 10 times before, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your knowledge so there are no surprises come test time.
Also, check to see if you can get a discount or reimbursement on the cost from a carrier or your field marketing organization (FMO)! Some carriers offer a discount when you access the training through their website. Ritter makes finding this info and other carrier-specific certification training details quick and easy through our detailed carrier pages and Certification Center. When you register with Ritter, you gain access to these resources and so much more!
Whatever you do, just make sure you take the AHIP certification through a carrier or FMO you’re going to have ongoing communication with. Sometimes the AHIP incentives can depend on previous business submitted.
Review Your Portfolio Before AEP
In the months ahead of Medicare’s busy season, you want to make sure your product portfolio features your market’s top plans. If you want to make sales, especially during AEP, you need to offer what your target buyers want. Finding this information could take some phone calls and digging or you could request a free portfolio review from your designated Ritter sales specialist. As part of this review, you’ll receive a free state and region-specific Smart Sheet that provides an outline of the competitive carriers and plans in your local sales market.
Submit New Contracting to Avoid Delays
Once you’ve discovered which carriers and plans are hot in your market, you might need to submit new contracting. Like a portfolio review, it’s best to get contracted well before the rush of AEP. Doing so is likely to ensure you’ll avoid processing delays and unneeded stress from a time crunch.
When contracting, it’s helpful to use a smart and streamlined system to make the effort even easier. Ritter’s online contracting system, called Contract Now, has broken the process down into three simple steps:
- Shop contracts — choose from more than 120 competitive carriers based on state, product type, or commissions.
- Fill your cart — select contracting from multiple carriers and products and enjoy quick and convenient batch completion.
- Review and sign — review selected contracts, editing info and uploading documents as necessary, and then sign to complete each contract, including accepted ‘wet’ signatures, if required.
Newly registered with Ritter and ready to unlock fully online contracting through Contract Now? Have a conversation with your sales specialist.
If you run into an issue or have a question throughout the process, your friendly and knowledgeable Ritter sales specialist is ready to take your call.
Sell, Sell, Sell During AEP
During the last quarter of the year, we know your main focus will be making sales from October 15 to December 7 during AEP. There are a number of reasons why your MA clients might want to take a look at their options and potentially switch plans during AEP. This time is a whirlwind of collecting Scopes of Appointment, meeting with clients, quoting and comparing plans, and submitting enrollment applications.
With all that activity, it’s imperative that you have reliable sales tools at work for you. The Ritter Platform is a high-functioning and comprehensive client relationship management (CRM) system. It’s equipped with the Medicare Quote Engine and Drug Cost Estimator, CallVault for compliant call recording and storing, prefilled enrollment application capabilities through its integration with Shop & Enroll, and so much more.
Access to these tools is just a fast and free registration with Ritter away!
Consider the Benefits of Offering ACA Insurance
While you’re meeting with Medicare clients during AEP, there is a chance that these clients have under-65 family members who are in need of insurance coverage. If you’re equipped to offer Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans, then there are more sales right at your fingertips! Plus, under-65 clients will eventually become leads for your Medicare business or the other products you sell!
Ritter offers many resources to help agents enter the ACA market — numerous blog posts, an informative guide, The Complete Guide to Selling Affordable Care Act Insurance Plans, and ACA Knight School courses! In addition, our knowledgeable sales specialists are available to speak to you one-on-one and answer any questions you may have about selling ACA plans.
Of course, during the majority of quarter four your focus will be on AEP, as it should be! But after December 7, you can reflect on your sales year and determine new goals. Perhaps selling in the ACA market will be one of them, and Ritter is in your corner, dedicated to help you succeed!
Wrap Up Your Sales Year
After AEP ends, you will have a few weeks to tie up any loose ends and start to think about the upcoming year. During this time, it’s a good idea to review your book of business to make sure everything is in order, gather paperwork for year-end tax responsibilities, and ensure all your AEP enrollments were processed successfully. You can also reflect on your sales year and consider what went well and areas your business could improve and grow in. This is the best time to think about future goals and get a preliminary strategy put together for the new year.
We hope our Months of Medicare At a Glance planner will become yet another vital resource for your business. Ritter is committed to your success, so if you haven’t yet, become a Ritter agent for free today, and let’s grow your business together!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2023.