While it’s true the Annual Enrollment Period is the prime time to sell Medicare Advantage plans, selling Medicare Supplements provides you and your clients a very important alternative during the fall.

How can having strong Medicare Supplements in your portfolio help you make the most of AEP? Let us explain.

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Defining the Value of Medicare Supplements

It’s advantageous for you to sell Medicare Supplements during AEP, and outside of it, for two reasons: they’re a good fit for certain clients and an easy product to sell to diversify your book of business and increase your earnings.

Medicare Supplements vs. Medicare Advantage Plans for Clients

Medicare Advantage plans aren’t the best fit for all Medicare-eligibles. They have set service areas and may not be offered where your client lives. Additionally, the private health insurers who offer Medicare Advantage products often contract with certain providers to be in their network. Your client may have a doctor he’s been going to for years who isn’t in the network of the most competitive Medicare Advantage plans available in his county.

Your client may prefer going to a doctor who isn’t in the network of MA plans offered in his county.

Enrolling in Original Medicare and purchasing a Medicare Supplement to fill in the gaps may make more sense for your clients based on where they live, their hobbies, desires, and financial situation. Original Medicare and all Medicare Supplement plans, except Medicare SELECT plans, enable beneficiaries to see any Medicare provider in the country. So, if your client lives in a rural area or loves to travel and/or heads down South for the winter, the combination of Original Medicare and a Medicare Supplement is an attractive option.

Additionally, some people find that their prescriptions would cost them more out-of-pocket in a Medicare Advantage plan. See if your clients’ medications cost less with a stand-alone prescription drug plan and a Medicare Supplement. Your clients should never feel like they have to resort to skipping shots or rationing pills to get by.

The Benefits of Selling Medicare Supplements for Agents

Further, Medicare Supplements allow you to pretty easily expand your client base and increase commissions beyond the Medicare Advantage market. When you sell Medicare Supplements, you open your business to people who prefer enrolling in Original Medicare instead of private Medicare Advantage plans. Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, most Medicare Supplements don’t require annual certification, so you don’t have to worry about spending time or energy on that each year. Additionally, e-Applications are available through most carriers, so you may be able to sell Med Supps over the phone, from the comfort of your own home, depending on your states’ and carriers’ regulations!

Selling Medicare Supplements can earn you extra cash through carrier incentive programs or contests!

Did we mention that selling Medicare Supplements can earn you extra cash through carrier incentive programs or contests? Since Medicare Supplements can be sold-year round, there are often incentives offered throughout the year! For instance, check out Ritter Insurance Marketing’s 2019 $100K and $10K Med Supp Cash Giveaways. You could earn a maximum of $20,000 for the entire year, depending on how you rank each calendar quarter and at the end of the year.

Determining Which Medicare Supplements to Sell

Now you know why selling Medicare Supplements during AEP is valuable, but which plans should you put in your portfolio? In short, you’ll want to showcase a variety of robust products that can meet your clients’ unique needs.

As an agent, you can expect to work with clients who are healthy and clients who aren’t. Therefore, it’s important you contract with Medicare Supplements that have different underwriting requirements. If a client doesn’t have a guaranteed issue right to get into a plan, they will likely be required to pass Medicare Supplement underwriting. Be aware that some carriers may only go back two years when looking at an applicant’s medical history, and others may go back further. In addition, know that some carriers offer substandard rates for clients who normally wouldn’t pass underwriting.

As you’re considering carriers, check that the ones you’re interested in have a high financial strength rating to ensure that their rates will remain steady and the company is financially sound. Insurers with A++ A.M. Best ratings are deemed very financially stable. It’s also good to have Medicare Supplements from carriers that offer household discounts, a strong Plan D, F, G, and N, and competitive rates for certain age groups.

How to Get More from Med Supps During AEP

There a few ways you can increase the value that Med Supps have in your portfolio during AEP (and beyond) and can help to ensure your success selling them. One of the most important things you can do right now is to prepare for the 2020 Medicare Supplement changes. These changes will mainly introduce two new Med Supp eligibility groups and certain Med Supp plans won’t be available to one of these eligibility groups.

Also, before you finish setting up your portfolio, consider offering a strong prescription drug plan. If your clients are enrolled, or desire to enroll, in Original Medicare, they’ll need to enroll in a PDP to afford their medications and avoid paying a penalty for not having prescription drug coverage.

Lastly, we recommend looking into getting a free Medicareful site for your business. Your own CMS-approved Medicareful site can provide you with a consumer-facing Medicare Supplement quote engine, a lead-generating contact form/electronic Scope of Appointment, and direct enrollment buttons for several major plans! It can even help you sell ancillary products, if you want to boost your success! Get your free site here.

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Ready to start selling Medicare Supplements during AEP or want to make sure your portfolio has the most competitive plans in your service area? Message us to talk sales strategies, to get prospecting and sales tips, or to get your FREE smart sheet, which details the most competitive plans in your area!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016. It has been updated to include information and links more relevant to the 2020 AEP.