The new year is upon us and that means the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is now open. From January 1st to March 31st, you can help new and existing clients enroll in a Medicare plan that will suit their needs.
For most insurance professionals, this is a busy time of year. There are many opportunities for enrollments during Medicare OEP, and agents should do everything they can to make the most of the open enrollment period. But since seniors are a vulnerable population, there’s a right way and a wrong way to manage OEP.
Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to make the most of the OEP to maximize your business and help as many seniors as possible to find the right health care plan for them.
DO: Consider who (and how) you can help
The better you understand your beneficiaries, the better you’ll be at identifying and servicing clients during this important time of year.
Take a look at your book of business. Consider who is eligible for a change, who may want a change and when they would need it. If you don’t use a CRM, you might want to create an excel spreadsheet or other tracking document to organize your clients based on how likely they are to take advantage of this year’s OEP. If you need a CRM, ask our Contracting department about Radius Bob or Agency Bloc, Financial Grade can help you keep your book of business better organized.
As you do this, be aware of the rules that govern enrollments during Medicare OEP. Medicare prohibits you from directly soliciting beneficiaries who have just enrolled during the previous AEP. More on that later.
Do: Get strategic
Online marketing is more important than ever. Today, 73 percent of seniors use the internet. This is a significant increase in the last 20 years, with only 14 percent using the internet in 2000. And these users aren’t just checking email and reading the news. Now, 46 percent of seniors use Facebook or other forms of social media.
Think about your digital presence. Is your website driving traffic for your business? Have you engaged Facebook, either through a business page or with successful advertisements? What did you do during last year’s OEP, or even during the most recent AEP, to gain more customers?
Replicate and expand on what worked for you in the past. Analyze those results, and avoid wasting resources on marketing tools that didn’t yield additional customers or sales. If you haven’t engaged in online marketing yet, start researching what a successful digital presence looks like and begin developing one for your business.
DON’T: Break the rules
Before you finalize your marketing strategies, you should understand the OEP rules. During this time, there are restrictions on the types of marketing activities you can and cannot use to contact new and existing clients.
During OEP, brokers and agents cannot:
- Conduct marketing activities using the OEP as a means to gain additional sales
- Reference the OEP in unsolicited marketing efforts (email, print or other) to encourage beneficiaries to change their enrollment
- Solicit beneficiaries who enrolled in a new plan during the previous AEP
- Buy mailing lists or gain access to personal information with the intention of targeting beneficiaries who enrolled during the previous AEP
During OEP, brokers and agents can:
- Send marketing materials to clients who have requested information
- Meet one-on-one with clients who’ve requested a meeting to evaluate their OEP options
- Promote 5-star plans with continuous enrollment SEP
- Target age-ins who are now eligible for Medicare Advantage and have not yet selected coverage
Follow these rules and you’ll be well on your way to maximizing OEP for your clients and your business.
DON’T: Go it alone
Understanding and successfully navigating OEP is a challenging task. Your job is hard, but don’t make it harder by neglecting to get the support you need. The team at Financial Grade is available to answer your questions, provide tools and help you to maximize OEP. Contact us today!