4 Ways to Make the Most of OEP

Here’s what to keep in mind as we transition from AEP to OEP.
ope 2022
1 Nov 2021

How to Grow Your Medicare Insurance Agency in the Next 4 Months

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The next few months are probably one of the busiest times of year for you and your Medicare beneficiaries. The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) has been in full swing for more than a month, but before you know it, AEP will be over. Just in time for the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) to kick-off!

Medicare Advantage OEP runs annually from January 1 to March 31. This is the time to reconnect with your clients and make sure their Advantage Plan is meeting their needs. So what should you be planning for your business to make the most of OEP?

#1. What went right? What went wrong?

Before you fully launch into OEP, think about what worked, what didn’t and how you’d like to approach AEP next year. Did you have great ideas that were too last minute to implement? Set yourself up for an even better AEP next year by evaluating this year’s performance.

Make your notes while the AEP experience is still fresh in your head. Trying to remember the subtleties of what went wrong and right next year won’t work. You’ll never remember exactly what you intended to change.  You don’t want to repeat the same inefficiencies just because you couldn’t set aside a few minutes for reflection. And when OEP is over, repeat the process!

#2. Review the OEP rules.

During OEP, you’ll take off your sales hat and put on your client-relations hat. Shift your approach from the one you took during AEP because CMS is very clear about agent dos and don’ts during this time. One of the biggest don’ts is that you can’t market your plans as you can at other times throughout the year. So this is the perfect time to focus on customer service.

We encourage you to review the CMS guidelines annually, even if you’re an established agent. The restrictions do change, and you don’t want to unknowingly break the rules. 

#3. Don’t miss out on age-ins.

There are exceptions to every rule, even the no-marketing rule. One of the exceptions is that you can market to age-ins—seniors who have just turned or are about to turn 65. Many of these new seniors aren’t aware of the options available to them. In fact, recent research found that when an eligible senior knows someone who has a Medicare Advantage plan, they are six times more likely to follow their lead and choose Medicare Advantage over Med Supp.

Take the opportunity to educate these seniors, so when they do make the move to Medicare, you’re the first one they call.

#4. Always follow-up!

Use OEP to solidify your relationships by taking a step back from assertive sales and being more responsive to individual concerns. For example, your clients may be unclear on what they can update or change during the different types of enrollment periods. OEP is only for beneficiaries currently enrolled in an Advantage Plan to either enroll in a different Advantage Plan or switch to Original Medicare. 

So while you can’t market during OEP, you can take the opportunity to check in and ask if your client’s Advantage Plan is meeting their needs. When you’re deciding who to contact, keep in mind you can only send marketing materials to existing clients when they make a proactive request. And you can’t target former clients who may have switched out of an Advantage Plan during AEP. 

Helping Medicare beneficiaries is all about follow-up—especially during OEP. So if you learn a client is regretting a recently added plan during AEP, they have one last chance to get it right!

image credit: shutterstock/Sichon

updated December 2023