Summer is nearly over, leaving many insurance professionals thinking about one thing: Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). This once-a-year opportunity is an important time for you and your senior clients as you work together to find the best Medicare insurance plans for them.
Starting on October 15, seniors have until December 7 to shop for new Medicare coverage. Your job is to be informed and ready to assist your clients during this hectic time. With the right preparation, you’ll be ready to navigate AEP and build even better relationships with your clients.
How to prepare for AEP 2024
The timeless adage rings true: fail to plan, and you plan to fail. So, now is the time to put into place everything you need to be ready to help your clients on October 15. Here’s how to prepare for AEP 2024.
1. Consider past AEPs
How did you get ready for AEP last year? Did you spend extra time researching policies? Or did you go all out on marketing to reach new clients? Now’s the time to revisit your strategy from last year’s AEP and use the experience to inform your plan for this year.
You may have created a marketing plan that used several different CMS-approved outreach methods. Look at each type of contact and reflect on how effective those efforts were before, during and after AEP.
What was the result? Did you reach your goals or fall short of your target enrollment numbers? Identify patterns and learn which marketing strategies work best for your Medicare products and clients.
If you didn’t prepare for AEP last year, or perhaps weren’t certified as an agent yet, don’t worry! Network with other agents and absorb their experience. Ask them how they prepare for AEP and apply their most successful strategies to your own plan.
2. Take certifications and training
As a Medicare insurance professional, you’re no stranger to the many rules and regulations governing the sale of these important healthcare plans. Passing the two-part AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) exam each year is a CMS requirement to sell during AEP.
Even though this annual test can be cumbersome, passing ensures you’re ready to sell Medicare products. With Medicare plans, standards, and laws changing so frequently, the AHIP exam keeps you up-to-date on the latest changes so you’re prepared to answer clients’ questions.
You should also check if any of your insurance carriers have required certifications or other training opportunities. Their resources will prepare you for AEP 2024 by making sure you know how to help your clients find the best-fit Medicare plan for them.
3. Research available plans
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of options for Medicare Parts A, B, D, and Medicare Advantage. While researching them all is impossible, familiarize yourself with as many as you can.
Start by learning about the individual carriers you’re certified to sell, their specialization, and how they can help your clients. You may also want to check out your sales data from previous years to identify the most popular plans. Keep those, but also research carriers and plans outside your portfolio to ensure you’re not wasting time on plans that no one wants or missing out on any great options that may have become available since last AEP.
4. Make a plan
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of how you want to market your insurance plans during AEP. But who do you want to reach? Start by defining your target audience. With this information, tailor your advertising initiatives to this group of seniors.
Create a marketing calendar to cover the entire AEP. But before advertising, ensure all your ads and other promotional materials comply with the latest Medicare rules. Don’t forget—you can officially start marketing for AEP on October 1. This gives you two weeks to generate leads before AEP starts!
If you need help getting ready for AEP 2024 or have questions about how we support Medicare insurance agents, contact us today.
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