The close of OEP is quickly approaching. Have you been making the most of this year’s OEP?
You may be asking how you can really take action when you’re not allowed to advertise. Good question. It’s true you can’t create Facebook campaigns or send out mailers, but you can take advantage of this time to grow your business.
Here are four tips to maximize your opportunities in the final weeks of OEP.
Tip #1: Pick up the phone
Simple, right? Start with a great script, then review your book of business and start calling to check in with each of your clients. Take care to not include any clients who took advantage of AEP since this violates the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) solicitation rules.
When you call your clients, ask how their current plan is working for them and if any significant health or life changes occurred within the last year. Your clients will appreciate the check-in, and you may find quite a few who would like to change their plan, but haven’t yet taken the first step.
Following up is great, and you should be in touch with your clients whenever and however you’re allowed. But a single-minded conversation won’t be quite enough if you’re after real growth in your business.
Tip #2: Ask for referrals
Don’t just focus on your current client! Use the call as an opportunity to ask for a referral. Of course, asking for a referral can be uncomfortable. But if you include the question in your script and have worked hard to develop a good rapport with your client, the ask shouldn’t be too difficult.
Other businesses benefit from giving a $5 Starbucks card, mug or other gift in exchange for a referral. CMS does allow agents to ask for referrals, but you may not mention any kind of giveaway when you do—neither in marketing materials nor in conversation. If you do send a surprise gift after the fact, the item must be “nominal.” That means the thank you must be very small and very inexpensive. And while gift cards seem like an easy solution, unfortunately, they—or any other form of cash—are not permissible in any amount.
Tip #3: Do what works
Look at your OEP business for the last five years. Which was your best year and why? Did you spend a lot of time engaging with clients on social media during that OEP, or were you hitting the phones pretty hard? Maybe a little bit of both?
Take the time to consider this question and determine why you were successful that particular year. No two books of business are the same, so the answer will be different for every agent. The key is determining what your customers respond to and converting that to real sales.
Tip #4: Follow the rules
There are quite a few rules governing OEP and for good reason. CMS adds new guidelines as needed to combat the ever changing methods of targeting seniors for fraud and unethical behavior. Each new regulation is important and is designed to prevent seniors from being taken advantage of. Your ability to abide by these rules will directly impact your success, so you need to be aware of what you can and can’t do:
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; or
- Buy mailing lists or gain access to personal information to target 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; and
- Target age-ins who are now eligible for Medicare Advantage and have not yet selected coverage.
Want to maximize your efforts during OEP but need help getting started? Financial Grade is here to help. Contact us today to learn how you can make the most of OEP.
image credit: shutterstock/Vadym Pastukh