End 2018 The Right Way

Author: Chris Hagerstrom

With 2018 coming to an end, you want to make sure none of the small details are ignored.  Every missed application, sale or opportunity are commissions taken directly out of your checkbook.  Each agent and agency operates differently, but here are a few best practices you should incorporate into your business.

  1. Check on Submitted Business

Come January 1st, nothing is worse than discovering that your client  is not enrolled into the correct plan because the carrier never received the AEP application.  Checking on your submitted business is easy with JSA – we give you the tools to check right on your JSA Agent Resource Center.  For all business that you send to us for review and submission, you can log in and click on the “Enrollment Status” tab.

If you choose to submit your business directly to the carrier, JSA will not have record of the application receipt.  We can still assist with verifying the carrier received the enrollment, but we will need to obtain the client’s information from you in order to do so.

Should you have any issues logging into your Agent Resource Center, give us a call at 1-800-203-0433 to speak with a member of our Marketing Team.  We can assist you with getting access to your account and verifying which applications have been sent to the carriers.

  1. Check Application Status

Verifying the receipt of an enrollment is only the first step.  You should also check on the status of the enrollment with the carrier.  This allows you to make sure the application was processed, that your clients were enrolled into the correct plan, and if any additional steps are needed.  The application may be missing a replacement form, signature or any number of things.  Give yourself enough time to make those corrections, if any, by staying up-to-date on the status of your applications.

Many of the carriers have agents portals to easily verify application status.  If you would rather have JSA review this for you, we’d be glad to!

  1. Cancel Previous Enrollments

If you are switching your clients to or from a Medicare Supplement Plan during the AEP, the previous plan may need to be canceled. You do not want to have your client stuck with double coverage and paying premiums for plans they will never use.

Switching from a Medicare Advantage Plan to a Medicare Supplement is a very simple process. By submitting a new PDP application, the PDP will automatically kick out the previous MA plan*. Just make sure the client has been accepted by the Medicare Supplement Plan before you submit the PDP, as you do not want to leave your client without coverage if the Supplement is not approved.

Going from a Medicare Supplement to a Medicare Advantage will not automatically disenroll the client from the Supplement. Sometimes the easiest option is to have the client call in to member services and request the disenrollment. JSA Marketing is well versed in the process for disenrollments, do not hesitate to call us with any questions you have.

  1. Book of Business Audits

Are you contacting every single client during the AEP?  Don’t let anything fall through the cracks – keep track of those you have already met with face-to-face or have spoken to on the phone.  Check your client list against your commission statements to make sure everyone has been accounted for, and for any missed clients take the time to reach out to them with a quick phone call.  The AEP is the right time to make sure their insurance needs are being met, and if you’re not talking to them they might be talking to another agent.

  1. AEP Thank You and Follow Ups

Your clients chose to work with you and it’s important to show your appreciation.  There is no wrong way to do this just as long as you’re doing it.

Phone calls to check on cards/policy information, a simple thank you card, client appreciation events or emails are just a few of the most commonly used examples.  This can serve a few different purposes beyond showing appreciation; it could open cross-selling opportunities, client referrals or help increase your client retention.  Bottom line, make sure you have a follow-up or thank you process for each of your clients and stick to it.

  1. Cross-Selling Opportunities

AEP is not just for Medicare Plan sales! You may be walking away from dozens of sales opportunities by simply not mentioning a product or service you offer.

If you are not offering other products at the Medicare point-of-sale, you should create a plan to do so. You could even tie this into your AEP follow-up to make it more efficient for you. Hospital Indemnity Plans are great to cross-sell for MA plans and Cancer Insurance or Final Expense is something you should be offering to all of your clients! Sometimes making the sale can be as easy as mentioning a product to your clients.

A proven way to increase your cross-selling is to end all sales with one simple line; “Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Client. We took care of your health insurance needs today, make sure you do not cancel your (cancer, hospital indemnity or final expense) insurance. This plan does not cover that.”

We are very well versed on these products and can assist you with any questions you may have. Many of these plans can even be quoted both in your Agent Resource Center or on your smart device with the JSA MyQuote app.

  1. 2019 Marketing Plan

2019 is coming fast and you want to make sure you have a plan in place to make it your most successful year yet. Write down your goals, available resources, product offerings, ideal clients and budget. With that information you’ll be able to build a marketing plan that will fit you and your business. This plan will help focus your efforts and give you a clear path to success.

Look into how to make off-season sales with things like sales or educational events, community partnerships, business-to-business networking, direct mailers or other options. Not all of these ideas will be a good fit for you based on time, resources, or budget.

We have an in-house Business Development Team that will assist you with building a marketing plan. Generating leads and turning them into sales can be a hard process, utilize JSA to give you the knowledge and tools to make it easier.

By no means are these requirements, but suggestions to help you grow your business. These are the best practices that we see from our top insurance agents. You are a small business owner and you need to do what is best for your business! We are here to assist you with whatever that may be.

Fill out the contact form below and let us know how we can help.

    *only valid with network-based MA plans (HMO, PPO, SNP).  Clients on a PFFS, MSA or Cost plan will need to terminate their plan with the carrier directly.

    Chris Hagerstrom is the Marketing Vice President at Jack Schroeder and Associates, LLC. Through years of experience he has become an expert with Medicare, Life Insurance, Annuities and Supplemental Health and how to successfully navigate the senior market.

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