Are you stuck in a dead-end job? Are you thinking about becoming a Medicare insurance agent? You’re itching to get out of your current situation, but you’re not sure if Medicare sales are right for you. The answer may be yes if the following applies to you:
- You want to enrich people’s lives
- You excel at making presentations
- You’re a people person
- You want to be your own boss
All of these qualities are what’s needed to become a successful agent. You’ll partner with a network, and you’ll find viable leads that can convert into sales. More importantly, you’ll help seniors get access to the medical care they need.
This article will show you how to enter the Medicare sales industry. Let’s explore.
Get Your License
A career in the medicare insurance field requires a health insurance license. You’ll apply for this license in your respective state. The coursework will teach you about health insurance basics.
For instance, you’ll learn how deductibles and co-pays work. You’ll also learn about the claims process. Further, you’ll learn about healthcare laws and ethics within the industry.
- Note: While pursuing your certification, your learning institution may offer life insurance certification as well. Life insurance certification isn’t mandatory, but you could offer additional options to your clients.
The course structure largely depends on state guidelines. The states have different minimum coursework hours. You must complete the minimum before taking the exam.
Your state may offer you one of two formats:
- Traditional Study Course: Your state may require you to learn in a classroom setting. The teacher will be an experienced agent who will prepare you for the exam. The classroom option usually lasts a week, and you’ll take the exam at the end of the week.
- Self-Study Option: Your state may allow you to study at your own pace. Also, you can set up your own schedule. You can use a Medicare insurance CRM to begin the online learning process.
The pre-license course is valid a year from the date you complete the coursework. To meet the state’s qualifications, you must do the following:
- Have a state-issued ID (driver’s license)
- Bring the original Certificate of Completion document
- Pass with a score of 70% or above
Once you pass the exam, you’ll receive your health insurance license, but you cannot sell Medicare insurance yet.
The next step is completing a Medicare training course. You’ll enroll through America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) to complete the training.
You must pass the course with a 90% minimum to get your certification. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandates that all Medicare insurance agents have certification.
If you want to start your new career the following year, the AHIP certification process begins in June or July. If you pass the exam during this period, you can start selling Medicare plans during the open enrollment period in 2021. The cost of the annual exam is $175 a year, but you may get a rebate that would lower the cost.
Choose an FMO
An FMO stands for Field Marketing Organization. An FMO is licensed to disburse insurance plans for the insurance companies. Many health insurance carriers don’t partner with agents and will hire you as a permanent employee.
After pairing with an FMO, you’re authorized to offer plans such as Medicare supplements and prescription drug plans.
Before selling these products, however, research the FMO you’re partnering with. During discussions, bring up the following points:
- What kind of carriers are you partnered with?
- Do you provide any training?
- How can you connect with me with leads?
- How can you get me in front of potential clients?
- Who will pay me? (i.e. the insurance company or the FMO?)
Overall, make sure the organization is the right fit for you. A good FMO will support you throughout your new career path. The best FMOs get the best agreements with health insurance carriers. Any agent within the FMO network will benefit from these lucrative agreements.
Remember: As a licensed Medicare agent, you’re essentially starting your own business. Therefore, you’ll want to partner with an FMO network that will offer maximum support.
To sell Medicare products, partner with health insurance companies. If you want to sell with Cigna, for example, you’ll need an agreement with the company. The approval process may take some time, and the approval times depend on the carrier.
To get an agreement, you’ll need the following items:
- A passing background check
- An FMO-provided questionnaire
- A passing annual exam specific to the plan you intend to sell (i.e. Medicare Advantage)
- A copy of your health insurance license
- A current E&O insurance policy
An E&O policy stands for errors and omissions and will protect agents. It provides insurance to agents if they give the wrong advice or omit information by mistake.
Without E&O insurance, a client could pursue legal action against you, and you’ll have no financial protection. Your FMO may provide this policy, but you may have to find a separate policy.
Is Becoming a Medicare Insurance Agent Worth the Effort?
A Medicare insurance agent is a rewarding career choice because you’re helping vulnerable seniors who need financial support for their medical needs. Becoming a Medicare sales agent is simple.
You must get your health insurance certification, complete Medicare coursework, partner with an FMO, and partner with an insurance company. Moreover, the price of getting certified is inexpensive.
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