www.certifiedmedicareagents.com - Certified Medicare Agents
Posted 09/14/2022 in Agent Info

Become a Successful Licensed Medicare Agent

Become a Successful Licensed Medicare Agent

Become a Successful Licensed Medicare Agent

By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older. And with that in mind, there are plenty of opportunities to become a successful Medicare agent. In addition to a promising future and significant income potential, a successful Medicare agent can also help others. 

What does it take to be successful as a Medicare Insurance agent?

Suppose you're a people person who likes helping others secure their financial future. In that case, you're the perfect candidate for this rewarding and lucrative career.

What are Medicare Sales Agent (Independent insurance agent) responsibilities?

Medicare agents review their client's health care plans and help them decide or evaluate their needs against the coverage and services they are eligible to receive. Medicare Agents also represent different Insurance carriers to help their clients choose the best plan for them.

A few things to know before shifting to a Medicare Sales career (Training process, characteristics, and best practices)

Attention to detail - Agents must be conscientious in complying with precise regulations and submitting applications.

Know your audience - Not everyone is eligible for Medicare. The following example shows your target market for selling Medicare plans.

      • People who turn 65 are eligible to receive Medicare health care benefits. 
      • A person with a disability under 65 and eligible for Medicare is also your target audience.

Be Organized - To become a Medicare agent, you'll need to track your work closely. Tracking your work could mean monitoring new and existing client documents and the election periods (with strict start and end dates throughout the year).

The joy of helping older people - Most Medicare customers are people 65 years of age or older. A Medicare agent needs to show interest in talking to them and helping them with the enrollment process.

Proper License/License Application - Before you become a Medicare agent, you must obtain a health insurance license from your resident state. This exam differs from the Medicare online certification training you need to represent Medicare Advantage and PDP insurance companies.

Training - Medicare products and regulations change every year. To be a successful Medicare agent, equip yourself with knowledge about the products you offer seniors. To do so, agents should complete and finish their annual training education.

Pass the AHIP Medicare Training - A Broker must get a 90% or better score to pass this exam. This training will earn you the right to sell Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Programs. The licensing fee for this exam is $175, but your FMO provider can get you a discount fee of $50.

Choosing the right Field Marketing Organization (FMO) - A field marketing organization (FMO) is an approved company or agency that distributes health insurance on behalf of other insurance companies so that insurance agents like you can sell it. 

Protect yourself and your license by getting Errors & Omissions Insurance (E&O). E&O helps protect agents from lawsuits when they accidentally give out wrong information. 

Get contracted and appointed with one or more Medicare companies. An agent needs to be appointed and contracted with multiple carriers or Insurance agencies to market their products. Also, contracts with multiple carriers can give agents various plan choices they can offer seniors. 

Below are the requirements that insurance carriers require to appoint an agent to sell: 

    1. Submit a copy of your current resident and non-resident state health insurance licenses, and your E&O policy
    2. Apply for contracting with the carriers you select through your FMO
    3. Submit to a background check
    4. Pass your annual certification exam (carrier-specific annual certifications) 

Complete and pass the carrier's annual certification exam - Most carriers require agents to pass yearly certification well in advance of the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP). 

Never Stop Learning - Maintain your insurance license by continuing your Medicare education. Continuing education requirements vary in different states.

You can never call yourself a successful Medicare insurance consultant without going through the most critical aspect, TRAINING. 

Why does training matter?

As mentioned above, Medicare products and regulations change every year. Changes like this with Medicare are why Medicare Licensed insurance Producer must complete annual training and have the knowledge necessary to provide quality service and coverage. 

How long does it take to complete a Medicare training course? 

Medicare training can take two to three weeks to complete. There's a lot to learn about being a medicare agent. Start ASAP, even if the next enrollment period is months away. Starting early also means you can onboard more clients.

Related Medicare Licenses that a Medicare Agent should obtain

Visit the National Registry of Insurance Producers (NIPR) for the documents you must submit for this exam. 

Health Insurance License - Requirements for selling life and health insurance vary by state. Other requirements include:

  • Age 18 or older.
  • Holding a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Completing pre-licensing hours (if applicable in your state).

The health insurance exam assesses your knowledge of several topics and your understanding of different types of insurance. Some of the issues covered by the health insurance exams are: 

  • Details of Life and Health Insurance, 
  • Annuities
  • Tax issues related to life insurance
  • Health insurance 
  • Disability Income
  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
  • Policy riders that affect coverage of life insurance
  • Medical plans, including dental policies
  • Individual insurance for special needs.

A prospective Medicare agent must meet the passing score of this test; otherwise, they must retake it. 

AHIP and FWA certifications - These tests were conducted separately from the AHIP program in the past, but AHIP now offers both tests. 

AHIP Certification - Medicare agents must complete certification annually. The exam covers the Basics of Eligibility, Available Benefits, Prescription Drug Coverage Options, Marketing and Enrollment Requirements, and Compliance. The test costs $175 retail, but your FMO or one of your carriers can usually get you a $50 discount.

FWA Certifications (Fraud, Waste, and Abuse) - This training covers Medicare Fraud Detection Tools and Industry Practices, The Human and Financial Costs of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse, and the Correct Reporting Procedure.

Key Steps to Prepare for Past Examinations/Certifications

Be ready and ace your examination by following these simple but helpful steps:

  1. Study - There are several ways to study for the exam. Read a series of study books that include practice questions. Preparation courses are also available. 
  2. Review Training modules - Take the time to review your module. Don't be in a hurry. Go through your training module at least once and then go through them a second and third time. 
  3. Practice questions - Review how to gain new knowledge of each exam topic by applying it to the exam questions. Practice questions are available in the preparation course and study guide for each state's exams. 
  4. Take notes - Always write down where you find the information, as you may have trouble remembering anything. 
  5. Evaluate yourself - Get to know which topics you need to study.

Once approved and licensed, it's time to sell your Medicare plan to your first customer. But remember, obtaining your initial license and certification doesn't mean you can sell insurance forever. Typically, every license obtained has a renewal date. Licenses usually need to be renewed every three years. In some cases of licensed renewal, states will require agents to complete continuing education hours.

Now that you've started your career in Medicare, you will need an enrollment kit.

Enrollment Kit - Each carrier has an enrollment kit that an agent need when enrolling clients. It contains handouts that policyholder needs when signing up.

Several options of products to consider when selling Medicare Insurance 

  • Medicare Advantage - Also known as Medicare Part C. It is a health insurance plan offered by private health insurance companies. While it doesn't technically replace parts A and B, it does replace how you can use the benefits.

  • Medicare Supplement (Medigap) - This Medicare Supplement Insurance helps fill in the gaps in the Original Medicare. It will help cover health care costs such as Copayments, Coinsurance, and Deductibles.

  • Prescription drug plans (Part D) - This is a stand-alone prescription plan for Medicare recipients who want to purchase this separately. You cannot have stand-alone drug and Medicare Advantage plans simultaneously.

How do Independent Medicare agents earn commission? 

When an agent enrolls a client into a plan, the insurance company can pay by sending a check or direct deposit. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulates compensation paid to agents who sell Medicare Advantage. When your client stays on your book of business, then you can get their renewals forever. Conversely, Medicare agents get paid a percentage of a premium when they sell Medicare Supplement plans (known as commission).

Starting a career in Medicare requires a lot of hard work and discipline. But if done correctly, a gratifying result awaits you. Get your license today by following this article's essential steps and practices. 

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