A lot of the agents we work with at AHCP sell both individual and Medicare products. While they may have originally focused their attention on one of these two market segments, they realized somewhere along the way that there’s a lot of overlap in the way the products are sold. Agents who are successful selling individual health plans, for instance, catch on pretty quickly when they make the decision to sell Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, and vice versa.
To illustrate, let’s compare subsidized Marketplace plans with Medicare Advantage plans. For both products, there’s an annual open enrollment period when people can sign up or make changes to their coverage and then special enrollment opportunities throughout the year for those who qualify. There’s also a government-run web portal where agents can compare the available options before making a recommendation to their clients. With one exception for Medicare Advantage plans, both products are guaranteed issue and members are not required to answer medical questions. And finally, in both cases the government pays a portion of the premium, meaning that that the net cost to the member is a lot less.
The problem, of course, is that the open enrollment window for both Marketplace plans and Medicare Advantage/Part D plans is very small, and there’s a partial overlap between the two. That means that it’s difficult for agents to get to all of their existing clients, much less their prospects, during the busy selling season, especially if they sell both individual and Medicare products. It also means that they might find themselves twiddling their thumbs for the rest of the year.
There is some good news, though! Medicare supplement policies, also known as Medigap plans, can be sold all year long; they’re not subject to the same annual election period (AEP) as Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. Of course, these plans are not guaranteed issue. Outside of the first six months that someone has Medicare Part B, Medigap plans can ask medical questions and can decline an applicant based on pre-existing conditions. Still, healthier seniors will likely qualify if they want to purchase a Medicare supplement, and those who are just signing up for Medicare will definitely qualify. If you’d like to learn more about Medigap plans, please contact AHCP today.
There’s some more good news! For those of you who sell individual health plans, there’s a different kind of supplement that can be sold throughout the year – supplemental insurance plans like accident and critical illness policies. These products help to fill some of the holes in today’s health plans and help to replace lost income when someone is out of work due to an injury or illness. So there’s definitely a need, and you may not have had time to talk with your clients about this supplement coverage during the open enrollment season. Why not give them a call now and schedule an appointment? It’s a great way to round out their coverage, and it’ll give you something to do while you’re waiting for the fourth quarter to get here… AHCP can help you with these products as well, so if you don’t yet have them in your portfolio, give us a call.
P.S. – We know you’re not really sitting around twiddling your thumbs or watching the clock, but we also know that a lot of agents sell a lot less during this time of the year. At AHCP, we’d like to help you change that.