5 Mistakes Medicare Agents Make

A good agent knows that they can only succeed with the help of their customers. Customers look to agents for help finding a plan that meets their needs without breaking the bank, and that is what you aim to do. But your work doesn’t stop there: you need to be constantly learning and educating, as well as connecting with your clients. Here are 5 costly mistakes to avoid, along with tips to keep you at the top of your game.

picture of caucasian hands on a laptop keyboard with "never stop learning" on the screen
It is important to never stop learning because Medicare is always evolving, and you need to be able to provide accurate information to your customers.

1. You Stop Learning/Training

When you’re an agent, there is no such thing as knowing too much about a product, and that includes Medicare. Medicare is always evolving, and you need to be able to provide accurate information to your customers. Plans can change, or even disappear, while new ones emerge. For example, Plan F, High-Deductible Plan F, and Plan C all disappeared this year, while High-Deductible Plan G was introduced to replace them. If you do not keep on top of information like this, then you won’t be able to properly sell your product. Work towards becoming an expert in your field by constantly learning with online courses and training webinars.

Even when you do become an expert in this field, you still need to keep up with company notices. If there are any changes such as rate increases, then you need to notify your customers on how they will be impacted.

2. Failing To Educate Your Customers

Your job is to help customers completely understand their insurance plan. The whole process of choosing and signing up for a plan can be confusing, so explain everything  as simply as you can. Go over what is covered, what is not, and how Medicare Supplement Plans work with Original Medicare. Don’t assume they know as much about everything as you do! The more you educate them on how the system works, the more likely they will be to spot an issue on a bill or handle a problem on their own. Educated customers are happy customers –  ones who will continue to use your services as well as refer you to others.

3. Not Following The Rules

caucasian man writing "know the rules" on a piece of paper pinned against the wall.

If you do not follow the rules that the CMS has set for agents, then you could lose your license to sell Medicare Supplement Plans. The CMS is very serious about monitoring agents and will monitor agents to make sure that they are being helpful to Medicare customers and not taking advantage of anyone. Breaking their rules could even mean facing jail time.

4. Not Knowing Guidelines 

CMS is strict about agents complying with rules and regulations, and so are the  carriers you work with. Carriers have additional guidelines that you have to follow, and if you fail to comply, then you can lose your business with them. Make sure you stay on top of the guidelines of all the carriers you work with.

green price tag with money symbol on it.
If you focus too much on price, and not your customers’ needs, you could end up losing sales.

5. You Focus Too Much On Price

If you focus too much on price, and not your customers’ needs, you could end up losing sales. Sell based on value, not price. Teach your customers the value of a Medicare Supplement Plan, and ask questions about what they are looking for. Ask questions and answer any of theirs that may come up. And always check on your customers to make sure they are happy with their plan, or if they might be interested in finding a different Supplement Plan.

Selling Insurance Based On Value, Not Price

When it comes to selling insurance, the number one concern of customers is often something you don’t have much control over: price. Insurance companies set their prices, and you can only do so much to find an affordable plan for a customer. However, a skilled agent can make a sale by refocusing the conversation on value instead of cost. Connecting with customers on a deeper level and helping them understand the value of insurance can lead to more sales.

man and woman sitting across from each other with the man in front of a laptop
Figure out what your customer needs by listening.

Know Your Customers

The first step in selling insurance is to know your buyers. Some care only about price, but many want to find the right coverage, which is more valuable to them. These customers do not necessarily want the lowest-priced policy, they want the policy with the biggest bang for their buck. They may be willing to pay a little more for a policy that meets their exact needs. Let them tell you what they are looking for, and then help them identify the difference in plans, the risks, and coverage gaps. This will help both of you to figure out how to give them the most value for money.

Explain The Claims Process

If a potential customer comes to you with concerns about price, remind them of the value of the plan and how it will benefit them. In order to help them understand what they are getting for their money, explain the claims process. If they see concrete examples of how much they will pay out-of-pocket versus how much the insurance company will pay, then they can make a more informed decision. They may see the value in choosing a more comprehensive plan when they see the hefty bills that they could be facing with a basic plan.

Educate Your Prospects

Some potential clients may also come to you with a limited understanding of how insurance actually works. It is your job to find ways to explain the ins and outs of different policies in ways that are easy for them to understand. After all, that’s why they’re coming to you, the professional:  they are looking to you for communication  and information. Take the time to make them feel comfortable about their policy, as well as to explain any terminology and answer any questions they might have. 

two sets of hand, both with a pen in their hands pointing at paperwork.

One of the most important things you can educate your potential customers on is the risk and possible costs of not having insurance. Customers will have a better understanding of the value of insurance when they are met with the reality of what it  can cost  not to have it. Compare how much money they would save when having a policy versus how much they can potentially lose when they do not have one, or one that doesn’t offer them enough coverage. For example, explain to a customer that while they might save $30 a month by not purchasing a more comprehensive policy, they would stand to lose way more if they were in an accident or were facing a serious illness with either no insurance, or a plan that covers only the basics. 

Compare Insurance Policies

As we have pointed out, some customers’ first instinct will be to choose  an insurance plan that offers the bare minimum or basic essential benefits, simply because it’s the cheapest. But it is important to help them see that the cheapest plan is not always the best option for some people, especially those with families or health conditions. Offer to compare different policies and explain to them which plan is best for their needs, but also make sure it fits their budget. Again, know your customer. If the plans you come up with are  too expensive for them, they will be turned off and avoid doing business with you. It’s all about offering the best value for their money.

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