There is a misconception among senior insurance agents that AEP only lasts from October 15th to December 7th. While that may be the only time you are allowed to write AEP business, the Annual Enrollment Period should actually be on your mind throughout the year. Don’t panic. We’re not saying you should experience that AEP stress and fatigue for twelve months. Quite the opposite. We encourage you to take small steps over the course year that will, in turn, make your October 15th to December 7th less stressful, more organized, and extra profitable! Here at Senior Marketing Specialists, we provide everything you need to do just that. Use the below guide to get thinking about AEP all year long!
Preparing for AEP All Year Long
January is all about follow-up. Now that you’ve had a chance to relax after the AEP craziness, you should be checking in on your clients. During your follow-up meetings, which should have been scheduled at your initial AEP appointments, consider the following.
- Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (Jan.1-Feb.14): Make sure clients are happy with their new coverage, remind them about Part D, and make any coverage changes if they wish to switch.
- Plan Details: Go over your clients’ plan details with them again. Be thourough and make sure they understand. Why? If your client has a question about their coverage and calls the carrier instead of you, that counts as a CMS violation.
February is overflow month. Complete any unfinished or rescheduled AEP follow-ups. Also consider these Post-AEP tasks:
- Review Your Contracts: Check that you’re active, make sure you’re on the correct commission level, get incorporated if you aren’t already, and find out if you qualify for any contests. Call SMS for help reviewing your contracts!
- Audit 10 Clients: Pull 10 client files at random and ask: 1) Did I cover all their needs? 2) Were there any missed opportunities? 3) When is my next appointment with them? This will allow you to gauge how well you helped your AEP clients. Let SMS know if you need help formulating a new sales approach and take a look at 6 Ways to Get Better Post-AEP Results to see why audits are important!
So you’ve finished up the bulk of your Post-AEP tasks. Now it’s time to focus on leads, referrals, and your brand. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Professional Networking: Reach out to different professionals in your area. Forming relationships with P&C agents, CPAs, physicians, pharmacies, and others who work with your client base can be a great source of referrals.
- Lead Programs: Senior Marketing Specialists partners with a variety of lead programs to bring our agents great leads at a great price.
- Review Your Online Presence: Take a look at your website and professional social media sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn. Make sure all your images and information is up to date. Not sure what to change? We’ll help you out! Not sure why being online is important? Read this!
- Update Your Marketing Material: Go through all the resources you hand out to clients. Do they all have a similar design? Is all your information consistent and correct? If not, check out our Agent Marketing Portfolio (AMP) program! Here you can order customized marketing material created by a professional graphic designer.
Around here, May is dedicated to the Senior Marketing Specialists Sales Summit, the PREMIER marketing event for agents in the senior market. We are very excited about it and you should be too. Here’s what you need to know:
- Dates: May 23 -May 24, 2017
- Location: Columbia, MO
- Price: $0 – Yup, it’s completely free
- Multiple info-packed breakout sessions
- Industry trainers and speakers
- Massive trade show
- And, of course, food and prizes!
Keep an eye out for more information.
After you’ve processed everything you learned at the Sales Summit, take some time to brush up on your ancillary products. These plans are great additions to MA and Med Supp sales as they often require only a simple question and can add significant profit. SMS can help you with these:
- Hospital Indemnity
- Final Expense
- Dental, Vision, Hearing
- Recovery and Long-term Care
- Specified Disease Plans
Call us for training and contracting for these products!
Certifications! Carrier Certifications generally come out around June and July. Make sure that you are certified and ready to sell early. Leaving these until right before AEP often leads to frustration and stress. Getting certs out of the way early gives you time to handle any issues that may arise and plan for AEP.
After you’ve certified, it’s time for some more intense AEP prepping. Here are a few things to take a look at:
- 2017 Plan Details (if they have been released): Keep an eye out for Sneak Peek Webinars.
- Compliance Guidelines: Brush up on important do’s and dont’s.
- SMS Virtual AEP Summit: Tune in to our online AEP training day for information on various AEP topics. More details to come!
Because AEP is only a month-and-a -half away, use this time to tie up loose ends and train your office staff. Here are some suggested activities:
- Order Supplies: Don’t get stuck waiting for applications two weeks into AEP. Stock up now!
- Finalize Your AEP Marketing Plan: Order your materials and ask SMS for help with a distribution plan. (AEP marketing is prohibited until October 1st)
- Administrative Training: You’re not the only one who needs to prepare for AEP! Make sure your office staff knows how to field client questions, send in applications, and order supplies. Don’t have time to train your staff? We’ll do it for you! Give us a call to schedule an online or in-person training session.
Use the first part of this month for last-minute prepping, then get after it come the 15th! Don’t forget to:
- Start AEP Marketing (Oct. 1): Time to implement the marketing plan you carefully crafted in September.
- Create your AEP Road Kit: If you’ll be driving at all during AEP, be prepared!
- Write Those Apps (Oct. 15): Once it official begins, you’ll be fully prepared to tackle the Annual Enrollment Period.
Keep doing what you’re doing. Remember to:
- Call SMS if you have any questions about plans, applications, or compliance.
- Schedule a follow-up at every appointment regardless of whether you made a sale.
- Bring up ancillary products.
- Take Care of Yourself: If you aren’t feeling top-notch, your business will reflect it.
You’re almost there. Finish strong! Be sure to do these things:
- Submit all AEP business by December 7.
- Check in on any pending applications.
- Take a break: You’ve worked toward this all year. Take some time for yourself to recoup before you start your Post-AEP process!
While it’s easy to look at Annual Enrollment as a 3-month time period, AEP activities actually fill an entire year. We hope this guide helps give you an active approach to your AEP planning and encourages you to prepare for AEP all year long!
For questions, contracting, and help with AEP all year, contact us! 800-689-2800