What Does “Ready To Sell” Mean?

When it comes to selling Medicare Supplement Plans, you don’t have to limit yourself to the Open Enrollment Period! There are over 11,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, which means not only opportunities to make a lot of sales, but also to earn a residual income. Selling Medicare Supplement Plans is a lucrative business that you can make a good living from, but before you begin selling, you must be “ready to sell.” Just because you are contracted with an insurance carrier does not necessarily mean that you’re “ready to sell.” There are certain steps that you have to take first.

computer mouse over the word license
Check your local state requirements to get licensed.

1. Get a Medicare License To Sell

Before completing any of the following certifications, you have to be properly licensed to sell Medicare products per your state’s Department of Insurance requirements. You must pass a state licensing exam and then apply for your license. Make sure to check with your state’s Department of Insurance for licensing requirements for your specific state.

2. Complete AHIP Certifications

America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP,  represents over 1,000 companies that offer insurance. In order to sell Medicare products, you will be required to complete AHIP training. The training is designed to educate agents on selling Medicare plans as well as on protecting seniors. When you receive this training, you will learn the basics of:

  • Medicare fee-for-service eligibility and benefits
  • Eligibility and coverage
  • The different types of Medicare plans
  • Compliance with marketing guidelines and enrollment procedures
  • How to detect and report fraud, waste, and abuse

Once you have received this training and are familiar with CMS regulations and guidelines, you will satisfy the requirement of insurers to sell their plans.

2. Complete Carrier Specific Certifications

illustration of a man in a suit motioning towards a certificate

Once you have completed the AHIP certification, the next step is to get certified with the insurance carriers you are going to work for. Some of the large carriers, such as Aetna and Humana, require individual product certifications in order to be able to sell their plans. You will be given three opportunities to pass their product certification test; if you fail all three times, then you will be unable to sell their products for one full year.

3. Finding Valuable Leads

Once you have completely passed all the certifications required, then the final step is to find valuable leads so you can start selling! The best way to do this is to work with Benepath, because we offer real-time, exclusive leads.  Customers come to our site, they fill out our form indicating that they are interested in purchasing a Medicare Supplement Plan, and then the lead is immediately sent to you in real time. You will receive a live transfer call, as well as a text and an email; they will even be linked to your CRM.

What sets Benepath apart from other companies is that our exclusive leads always expect your call. We provide a custom thank you page for each one of our agents: each prospect will see your information including your picture, your logo, and a brief description of you or your agency. We provide you with better tools, more guidance, and the best leads available thanks to our constant researching and technological advancement.

6 Things You Need To Know About Selling Medicare Supplement Plans

Did you know that more than 10,000 people in the United States turn 65 every day? For insurance agents, that can mean a lot of sales if you get into selling Medicare Supplement Plans. In order to create long-term sustainability for your business, you will need a residual income, and there is no better way to ensure this than by selling Medicare Supplement Plans. If you work hard enough, you could even see a six-figure residual income in as little as three to four years. In order to sell Medicare Supplement Plans, there are 6 things that you absolutely have to know.

illustration of an ambulance
Medicare covers ambulance services, doctor visits, and more.

1. How Medicare Works

In order to completely advocate for a customer, you have to be knowledgeable about the product you are selling. Medicare is divided into 2 parts: Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Part B covers essential medical expenses including:

  • Ambulance services
  • Doctor visits
  • Lab tests
  • Cancer screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • Rehabilitation
  • Durable medical equipment 

Parts A and B cover 80% of costs after deductibles and coinsurance, and the other 20% is paid by the beneficiary out-of-pocket. However, if they purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan, it will cover that 20%.

Beneficiaries are automatically enrolled in Part A, but they need to sign up for Part B during their Initial Enrollment Period, which includes the 3 months before the month they turn 65, the month they turn 65, and the three months after they turn 65. If they do not sign up for Medicare Part B during this period, they will have to pay a late enrollment penalty of 10% for every year they delayed enrollment. The only way they can avoid this penalty is if they are still insured through an employer’s health insurance plan. 

2. Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment

The Initial Enrollment Period mentioned above is also the best time for someone to purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan. Technically, a customer can sign up for a Medicare Supplement Plan whenever they want, but if they do not sign up during their Initial Enrollment, then they will face medical underwriting. They can then end up being denied or charged more due to  pre-existing conditions. 

3. What Medicare Supplement Plans Cover

bag full of dark red blood laying on a table with tubes
Medicare Supplement Plans help cover some things Medicare does not cover, such as blood transfusions.

Medicare Supplement Plans cover the 20% gap that Original Medicare does not pay for. What’s unique about these plans is that they cover health and wellness benefits that Medicare doesn’t cover at all. This includes:

  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Part B excess charges
  • Coinsurance and hospital costs for up to one year after Medicare benefits are used up
  • Blood transfusions for up to three pints of blood
  • Hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • Medical costs incurred while traveling outside of the U.S.

In addition, Medicare Supplement Plans K and L have annual out-of-pocket limits. Once you reach the plan’s limit, Plans K and L cover 100% of covered out-of-pocket expenses for the rest of the year. 

4. What Medicare Supplement Plans Do NOT Cover

older asian man looking at a pill bottle in his hand with other bottles sitting on the table in front of him
Unfortunately, there are some things Medicare does not cover, such as prescription drugs.

Although Medicare Supplement Plans cover some services that Medicare does not, that does not mean that these plans cover everything. Medicare Supplement Plans do not cover:

  • Dental care
  • Eye exams
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • Prescription drugs
  • Long-term care

5. When Medicare Supplement Plans Are Accepted

If a doctor accepts Medicare and Medicare assignment, then they will accept Medicare Supplement Plans as well. They can be used for treatment by any doctor, whether in-network or out-of-network. This makes these plans a great option for people who travel.

6. The Difference Between Plans & How to Switch Plans

There are 10 different Medicare Supplement Plans; the difference between all of them is the coverage that they offer and their price points. A letter identifies each Medicare Supplement Plan: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N. Not all states offer all Medicare Supplement Plans, so you’ll have to know what plans are available for customers in your state. 

chart of the different medicare supplement plans coverage

***Plans C, Medigap Plan F, and high-deductible Plan F are no longer available to seniors who became eligible for Medicare benefits on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

If your customer already has a Medicare Supplement Plan and wants to switch to a different plan, the only way that they can get the best price is if they pass the set of health questions the insurance company provides. If the customer is within their 6-month Medicare Open Enrollment, or if they have had their current Medicare Supplement Plan for less than 6 months, then they can bypass the underwriting process. If they are not switching within this time frame, then the company can charge them more or deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

Mistakes To Avoid With Video Marketing

We live in a digital age. Many people spend large amounts of time on their phones, often scrolling through social media, looking up information, or watching videos. In fact, approximately 78% of internet users actively watch online videos. This means that video marketing can play a significant role in engaging with potential customers and attracting their attention. Shooting videos and posting them to social media or your website sounds simple enough, and many people will dive right into making them. But, it is a little more complicated than that.  Here are some things you need to avoid when creating and posting videos.

Forgetting SEOSEO spelled out on scrabble blocks

Learning how SEO (Search Engine Optimization) works is important for ranking higher on search engines and bringing more quality traffic to your content. If you don’t incorporate proper SEO techniques and tactics, then there’s not much point to creating and posting videos, because not many people will actually see them. To get started with SEO, properly title your videos with keywords related to the content, take the time to fill out your video description, and add keyword tags that are relevant to your industry and your brand. 

Not Including a Call-To-Action

If you create a video and do not include a call-to-action, then your customers will not know where to go to learn more about your business. A call-to-action is a simple direction that tells your customer exactly what you want them to do, such as “If you want to learn more, click here,” or “To read more on this subject, click here.” 

Selling Too Hardcaucasian man yelling into a megaphone

A marketing video is not the place to go in for the hard sell. The purpose of these videos is to build a relationship with potential customers, as well as to connect with current customers. In the beginning of the sales funnel, customers are more interested in what you can offer them. So while you want to incorporate selling your product into your videos, the most important thing you can do is offer useful advice and try to grow awareness about your business.

Selling Too Late

If you put your selling points near the end of the video, then you risk losing your audience before they even get to the important part. Because people have short attention spans, they will want their answer immediately and may only watch the first few seconds or minutes of your video. Make sure that the most important parts of your message, including the call-to-action, are communicated in the beginning of your video, preferably in the first 10-20 seconds.

Posting Videos That Are Too Long

young caucasian man looking at his phone with one hand on his cheek
If you post videos that are too long, you will lose your prospects interest.

When posting videos on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, you need to make sure they’re the optimal length. If you make a video that is too long, you will lose the interest of the audience. Once they click on your video and see that it is 10 or 15 minutes long, they’re only going to watch if they’re very committed; otherwise, they will make a quick exit. Studies show that people have a short attention span when it comes to media, so the optimal video length is approximately 2 minutes.

Posting Poor Quality Videos

Nothing is more irritating than trying to watch a poor quality video online. Posting poor quality videos will not only reflect badly on you, but it will also reflect badly on your business’s brand as a whole. Do not rush to make videos and throw them out there. Make sure you invest in good video equipment, plan your videos out ahead of time, and edit them if necessary. These days, even an iPhone will work to produce good quality videos, just make sure that the lighting is good, the audio is clear, and that the camera stays steady.

Content Marketing Funnel Stages

Spend any amount of time scrolling through social media or browsing the internet and you’ll see a lot of content that is trying to get you to buy something, sign up for something, or learn more about something. This type of marketing, known as content marketing, can play a huge role in attracting customers to your brand and business. Creating content like this is part of the content marketing funnel, which is a way to introduce leads to your business and then convert them into sales by “funneling” them through various stages of content. The content marketing funnel has its own place in the sales funnel, and can naturally push customers towards your product or business. Before jumping into creating content, though, you need to know the five stages of the content marketing funnel:  awareness, evaluation, conversion, purchase, and repurchase.

2 megaphones pointing in opposite directions, one blue and one orange.
First you need to raise awareness of your business and get exposure!

Awareness

This stage is very important for businesses, because it is the stage in which you produce content that gets the attention of potential customers. After all, before a lead becomes a customer, they have to be aware that your business even exists! During this stage, you should be posting mainly on social media. Your content should speak to potential customers about what’s important to them. Engage with them as much as you can in order to grow your visibility on other people’s pages or walls. You can share interesting articles or videos (including those you have made yourself), write and share blog posts, and even create a podcast! 

Evaluation

After coming across your content, customers will evaluate whether they need your product, and whether it will be a solution to their problems. This is the evaluation stage. During this stage, you should be trying to build trust with customers; the best way to do this is by providing them with all the information they will need to make their decision. At this point, they will hopefully be looking at your website, so make sure that you are SEO-optimized. You should also make sure that your service descriptions are up-to-date, and that your site includes information about your company, such as your background and values. 

Conversion

call to action written on a black board with a stopwatch as the O
Make sure to include a call-to-action for prospects to request more information.

Once a customer has visited your website, you need ways to continue to funnel them towards making a purchase. This means that it should be easy and appealing for them to sign up to receive updates/more information. This is the conversion phase. Make sure you have a visible call-to-action, try using an email drip campaign, or even offer a free trial for your services to entice them to give you a try. By presenting potential customers with as much information as possible during this phase, you can help steer them towards a purchase.

Purchase

The average customer engages with 3-5 pieces of content before talking to a sales rep. If you have successfully led them through the funnel that far, then you have a good chance of making a sale. But once a customer has decided to purchase your product, you still need to keep the customer relationship going. This stage is all about continuing to engage with your customers and making them feel important so that they stay satisfied. Having great customer service skills will eventually get your customers coming back and referring you to others. 

Repurchaseone hand coing out of a laptop screen with a credit card reaching towards another hand coming ojut of a laptop screen with a brown bag

After a customer has purchased from your business, you need to keep them coming back to you to use your services again. During the repurchase stage you will be focusing on developing customer relationships by continuing to engage with your customer. Stay in contact with them to make sure that they are happy, and if they are not, then see what you can do to make them happy. When you keep your customer happy, you will have a customer for life!

Showing Your Clients The Value Of An Independent Agent

Working with an independent insurance agent has a lot of benefits, and it’s important that your customers – and potential customers – know about them. You need to show them that independent insurance agents offer value that captive agents cannot. This will prevent them from seeking help from a captive agent, and from searching for quotes on their own. The more that people see the value in working with an independent agent such as yourself, the more they will continue to use your services, and the more likely they will be to bring others on board to use your services. Share the following benefits of working with an independent agent with your customers, so you can help them understand what you bring to the table and why they should consider doing business with you.

take it easy spelled out on blocks.
Take the weight off your customer’s shoulders by doing all the comparing of plans within minutes.

Ease

70% of people say they would rather research and compare plans themselves than speak with an agent. They don’t want to be hassled or given the runaround, and they think that, by cutting out an insurance agent, they’ll get a quicker, easier transaction. It’s your job to show your customers how easy it is to do business with you. Highlight the fact that you can compare plans from multiple carriers for them in minutes, without any obligation, and that you’ll take the weight off of their shoulders by saving them time and frustration.

More Choice

Make sure your customers know what it means that you are an independent agent. One of the biggest advantages of working with you is that you can offer more plan choices from multiple insurance companies. Make it clear that you have access to multiple plans to meet their specific financial and medical needs, and that you can get them the most competitive prices. Show them how you are able to offer an extensive list of comprehensive coverage options, affordable prices, and possibly even discounts that wouldn’t be available to them if they didn’t work with an independent agent. 

Personalized Servicetwo women sitting at the end of a desk with one in a business suit pointing at a laptop screen

Something you can offer your customers that other agents cannot is personalized service and unbiased advice. You work for your customers and not the insurance carriers, and can advise them to make the best choices based on their needs. Show your customers that you go the extra mile to truly understand their needs. Learn their names, treat them like a person, and thank them for their service. Customers might think that most agents just want to make a quick buck, but if you provide them with a more personalized approach, you’ll have a customer for life, and more referrals so you can keep growing your business.

Education

Insurance jargon is not easy to understand, but, as an insurance agent, you have the benefit of being educated on the subject. Let your customers know that you can thoroughly explain to them  exactly how their coverage works, that you can help them with the claims process, and that you can provide strategic advice all along the way. 

the back of a woman sitting down meditating in front of a sunset
Independent agents offer peace of mind by offering 24/7 assistance.

Peace Of Mind

Aside from convenience, the next most important thing to customers is peace of mind – they want to know that they’re working with the best agent and that they’re getting the best plan possible. You can provide this peace of mind by being there for them whenever they need help and by providing the best customer service possible. Tell them – and show them – that you are there to help 24/7, and that you are accessible through multiple channels. But also show them that you won’t overuse their contact information or harass them! Anytime they need help, make sure you are there for them. After all, without your customers, you wouldn’t have a business. Make them your number one priority, so you can keep your current customers and also gain new ones.

Building Customer Confidence

The secret to growing your business is taking care of your customers. You have to build customer confidence and trust in order to build a strong, dependable consumer base. At the end of the day, people buy from people that they trust, but it’s not always easy to get people to trust you when you’re selling insurance. The fact of the matter is, many people simply don’t trust sales people. Don’t let that discourage you! There are some easy ways that you can gain the confidence of insurance shoppers. 

Share Video Testimonialscaucasian hands on a laptop keyboard with "customer testimonial" on the screen

The saying “show, don’t tell” holds true in most situations, including in the world of customer service. People want to see great reviews of a product or business before pulling the trigger on a purchase, so don’t only show your customers the work that you’ve done or have them simply read reviews from your clients; show them video testimonials of customers you’ve helped. People want to know that they are dealing with someone who truly cares about and helps people, and what better way to highlight your personal relationships with your customers  than by sharing how they feel about you in their own words?  

Talk About Yourself/Build A Connection

Build a connection with your customers by letting them get to know you. Don’t try to rush into a sales pitch; instead, start by talking about yourself, your children, and your pets. If your children are in sports or any after school activities, talk about them and your involvement with the school or community. When you share these aspects of yourself, customers will feel a connection with you and will be more likely to look at you as more than just an insurance agent. They will feel more comfortable opening up to you, and in the end they will feel like they have spoken to a real person, not just a salesperson.

Offer Great Customer Service

support spelled out on scrabble blocks with clear blocks in the background
Be there for your customers when they need you and make them top priority.

Customer service means always being ready, willing, and able to help. When a customer contacts you, be sure to contact them back as soon as possible. Always keep them informed about any changes to their policies, and serve as a resource center for them. Find any solutions to their problems if you can, and take on their problems as your own.

But great customer service is not just about the practical side of things. It’s also about showing  a genuine interest in your clients and in protecting them. Customers get tired of hearing sales pitches and feeling like they are being strong-armed into a sale. They want to know that you truly care about them, so take your time with them, and ask questions so you can better understand their needs. Over-explain and be empathetic while going over their insurance options, and be honest about what plan will best work for them and why. Be genuine, and your customers will pick up on that and appreciate it.

Build A Strong Reputation

Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Reputation is everything when it comes to gaining customer confidence, so you need to build a worthy reputation for doing the right thing, which means taking the time to genuinely help customers as much as you can without being pushy. If you don’t focus on customer service, you could end up with a bad reputation, and then you can forget about trying to convince a potential customer that you are the right insurance agent for the job. Never stop working on your reputation; if you do end up with any unhappy customers, always take the time to try and make things right if you can.

Make your customers your top priority at all times. Period. There are no shortcuts when it comes to gaining confidence from your customers and potential customers. Provide them with the best service you can, be honest and transparent, and don’t cut corners. In return, you will have loyal customers and boost your sales. It’s as simple as that.

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