With Annual Enrollment Period quickly approaching, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re fully prepared and ready to sell.

By following these steps, you’ll be ready by October 15. If you haven’t already, partner with Ritter at no cost before taking your first step to access everything you need for a strong AEP.

1 | Contract with Preferred Carriers

Talk to a Ritter representative and make sure you can offer everything your clients may ask for — both products and brands. Carriers can sometimes take upwards of six weeks for processing, so don’t wait to get the contracting process started. Once you’ve filled your portfolio with top carriers, find the most competitive plans in your area with our Medicare Quote Engine. This tool allows you to compare multiple plans simultaneously, which will save you time.

Read about MQE OR Use our MQE to find hot plans in your market

Also, don’t forget that cross-selling can round out your clients’ MAPD plans and fill coverage gaps. Just keep in mind that CMS prohibits you from promoting non-health related products when meeting with a client to discuss Medicare Advantage plans, so you’ll need to schedule a follow-up appointment.

Learn about our online contracting platform OR Start contracting with carriers through Ritter

2 | Complete AHIP and Medicare Certifications

Before you can sell for any carriers, you must complete annual CMS compliance training. Passing the AHIP course is the common method of compliance training. At Ritter, we keep our carrier pages up to date with certification instructions and any carrier-specific AHIP discounts or reimbursements being offered.

Pro tip: Many carriers offer an AHIP discount when you certify through their online portal!

After compliance training, you’ll need to complete 2020 product certifications for each MA, MAPD, and PDP carrier you are appointed with. Some carriers may also require face-to-face training in addition to their online product exams.

You can find a list of carrier requirements in Ritter’s Certification Center!

3 | Order Insurance Supplies for Selling Medicare

Once you have passed AHIP and completed your carrier certification, a carrier will deem you “ready-to-sell.” You can verify your status with the carrier if you are unsure. If you need an agent writing number, you can also get that from the carrier as well.

Most carriers will allow you to pre-order enrollment kits for the upcoming product year. You can either find information regarding pre-ordering on a carrier’s broker portal, or you can log in to Ritter, select the carrier, and get the info under the “Supplies” tab on the right-hand side of the page.

4 | Gather Helpful Carrier Information

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with each carrier you’re appointed with before AEP starts so you can save valuable time. Brush up on their online tools, phone numbers for support, and the submission processes you’ll have to follow (including fax numbers).

Pro tip: Create a spreadsheet with important carrier info in one place so it’s readily accessible.

Pro tip: Create a spreadsheet with important carrier info in one place so it’s readily accessible.

Another thing to keep in mind, carriers sometimes host helpful webinars on how to use their online portals and tools, such as e-Apps and online submissions. So, keep an eye out for communication regarding these opportunities on the Ritter Platform’s Events section, and check the carriers’ broker portals for event listings.

5 | Start Generating Medicare Leads and Referrals

No matter if this is your first AEP, or you’re a seasoned veteran, there’s always an opportunity to expand your business.

You can boost your online lead generation with Medicareful.com, Ritter’s online consumer-facing quote tool for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and prescription drug plans. With your own personalized Medicareful link, consumers can reach out to you with the CMS-accepted request-to-contact form.

Or maybe you’d like to take advantage of Ritter Referral? If one of your clients needs prescription drug coverage you aren’t certified to sell, you can refer them to Ritter, and we’ll get them on the right plan. The best part is, you won’t miss out on commissions since we will give you five dollars for every referral. You’ll have peace of mind knowing they’re well taken care of, and your business is secure!

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Ritter, as well as the carriers you are appointed with, are here to help you succeed. Think of us as your coach rather than just cheering fans. If you have questions or need help, don’t hesitate to let us know.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in September 2016. It has been updated to include information more relevant to the 2020 Annual Enrollment Period.