Interested in selling Medicare Advantage products from home?
It can sound intimidating, especially when you consider the compliance rules. But we're breaking it down into a series of actionable steps so you can start selling MA products remotely.
It's definitely different from Medicare Supplement, but you can become the go-to person for MA sales in your area.
Table of contents:
How to Get Prospects to Call You
In general, you can't make outbound calls to sell Medicare Advantage plans. There are a couple of exceptions, like calling existing clients or returning phone calls, but it's mostly off-limits.
In order to sell Medicare Advantage over the phone, the obvious hurdle is finding a way to get on the phone with prospects! Here are some ideas for getting prospects to call you.
Get involved in your community
There are several marketing tactics you can employ, but I think an absolute requirement is having a presence in your community.
I don't think you can pay any amount of money to someone and expect the phone your ring all day. We are all responsible for making things happen, and if our community is where we get our sales from, we have to get out there.
Some agents write newspaper articles on a consistent basis, others do seminars at the local library, some get involved with local affinity groups, and others join a business organization to start networking with business leaders. You never know when you'll get an opportunity, so you need to become a community-minded person.
Your reputation inside your community is critical – you need to be known as the go-to Medicare guru.
Use our marketing materials
Be sure to browse our Medicare Advantage marketing materials library. All of it is compliant and customizable. We can add your contact information, logo, headshot, and color scheme.
These are tools meant to augment what you do in your community to brand yourself as the go-to person when it comes to Medicare.
That way, when folks in your area get ready for Medicare, your name is the first one to come to mind.
Rules About Making Outbound Calls
Outbound call rules exist to protect consumers. Even still, they're not perfect. We often hear from clients in January and February that they had no clue they signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan. So, it's not a perfect system, but it's strict for a reason.
Sometimes, it's more helpful to focus on what you CAN do versus what you can't.
- You can call current enrollees, including those in non-Medicare products, to discuss plan business.
- You can return phone calls or messages.
- You can call when you get permission, such as from a business reply card or an email requesting a return call.
Here are some things you can't do:
- You can't make unsolicited phone calls to prospective enrollees.
- You can't call about other business as a way to generate Medicare leads (bait and switch).
- You can't call referrals – the referred person needs to call you.
- You can't call someone who attended a sales event unless they gave express permission at that event for a follow-up call – and you need documentation of that permission.
- You can't call prospective enrollees to make sure they received something you mailed to them (i.e: did you get my postcard?)
As you can see, the best way to do compliant MA business over the phone is by getting your prospective clients to call you first.
Complete a Scope of Appointment (SOA)
The scope of appointment (SOA) isn't a negative thing – it's a positive thing! With MedicareCENTER, you can email or text an SOA, making it easier than ever.
Even agents who see clients face-to-face love using the texting feature, because MedicareCENTER automatically stores the scope and you don't have to do any scanning or paperwork filing.
An SOA protects you and your clients, and it's simply not the huge deal it used to be.
MedicareAPP, one of the two enrollment tools in MedicareCENTER, offers three easy SOA options: email, text, or print.
Also, MedicareCENTER will store the scope of appointment indefinitely, so you can be sure you have it on file for the required 10 years.
If you're selling Medicare Advantage over the phone, you cannot skip the scope of appointment. Utilize the handy or email or text feature and you'll be done in less than 3 minutes!
We did a webinar about how to do a scope of appointment in MedicareCENTER if you'd like a full walkthrough:
The video should automatically start at timestamp 17:56 – if it doesn't, jump ahead to 17:56. That is where the SOA tutorial begins.
To find the best Medicare Advantage plan for your client and enroll them in it, we recommend using MedicareCENTER. It's a very slick tool that allows you to compliantly sell Medicare Advantage plans over the phone.
If you plan to sell MA, MAPD, and PDPs remotely, MedicareCENTER will be an invaluable tool for you.
It's a one-stop-shop that includes:
- Universal login: no need to log in to different carrier platforms.
- Scope of appointment: sign and store your SOAs in one place, plus utilize the popular texting capability.
- Sort and select plans: enter your client's information and choose the best plan for them.
- Enroll the client: add the plan to your cart and start the application!
If you're not contracted with all the carriers in your area, it can be helpful to reference Medicare.gov in addition to MedicareCENTER.
Only the carriers you are contracted with will appear, so using Medicare.gov will ensure you see all available plans. We can help you get contracted with all the competitive plans in your zip code – just fill out the contracting form and check the box for Steve to get in touch with you.
If you're a visual learner, here's a full tutorial showing you how to use MedicareCENTER:
The video should automatically start at timestamp 8:55 – if it doesn't, jump ahead to 8:55 That is where the enrollment tutorial begins with a comparison of MedicareAPP vs. MedicareLINK.
Telephonic Enrollment Steps
When you're ready to enroll a prospect over the phone, there are a few bullet points you need to hit to stay compliant.
First, you must clearly inform the beneficiary that they're enrolling into a plan. You need to mention the specific plan name and type.
There's also a pre-enrollment checklist, available on pages 67-68 of the MCMG:
- Review the full list of benefits found in the EOC, especially for those services for which you routinely see a doctor.
- Review the provider directory to make sure your client's doctors are in the plan's network.
- Review the pharmacy directory to make sure the pharmacy they use is in-network.
- Go over important rules, such as the requirement to also pay the Medicare Part B premium.
MedicareCENTER makes this all very easy. It literally takes you step by step through the enrollment checklist. If your FMO isn't offering this to you, it's a game-changer. It's free for any agent who's appointed with an Integrity partner, including us (New Horizons).
Frequently Asked Questions
Remote Medicare Advantage sales can be a challenge, especially when you're doing your best to stay compliant. Here are some common questions we get from agents interested in selling Medicare Advantage over the phone.
Q: Let's say I sell a customer a final expense policy. As soon as I complete the app, can I have them sign a scope of appointment and present and enroll them in an MA plan in the same meeting?
A: There used to be required verbiage in the guidelines around a cooling-off period (48 hours originally, which then moved to 24) for presenting or speaking about any non-health-related products. To stay safe, many compliance experts still advise agents to stick to that cooling-off period whenever possible.
If the client wants to go ahead and discuss Medicare Advantage products at the same appointment, the agent can capture the SOA and proceed. The MCMGs have not included any guidance on a cooling-off period in recent versions.
Q: If a client becomes a final expense customer at a meeting, am I free to bring up MA even if they don't ask anything about Medicare?
A: Unless a client brings up Medicare Advantage to you, it's off-limits.
Q: Can you call current Med Supp customers and bring up Medicare Advantage?
A: Yes! If it's your client, you're able to bring up Medicare Advantage. Your current clients are not considered unsolicited contacts.
Q: Can I call current auto and home insurance customers and bring up Medicare Advantage?
A: Yes. The Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines say you may "call current enrollees, including those in non-Medicare products."
Q: Can I make my own marketing materials or does someone have to approve them?
A: Any marketing pieces mentioning a specific plan or carrier must be approved by CMS. The easiest way to start marketing specific plans or carriers is to go to the carrier's agent portal and select a piece they've created.
Any marketing pieces not mentioning a specific plan or carrier are typically categorized as communications – not marketing. These must adhere to the CMS language guidelines, but they don't need approval from CMS. We have developed a library of pieces you can utilize that adhere to the CMS guidelines.
Q: I have a P&C agency. Can I solicit my clients for Medicare products as they turn 65?
A: Yes, you can. The Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines say you may "call current enrollees, including those in non-Medicare products."
Q: For email marketing, what platform do you recommend using since you have to have an opt-out and I can't use my regular email?
A: There are so many email marketing platforms, and there's no right or wrong answer. Some popular options include Mailchimp, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, and HubSpot, but there are literally hundreds of email marketing platforms.
Oftentimes, your client management system will have email marketing capabilities, so if you use AgencyBloc, for example, that would be ideal. It's one less platform to manage.
The key to staying compliant is having a way for people to opt out, so you cannot do any email marketing from your personal email.
Q: How do you get people's emails to market to?
A: You don't want to buy an email list and just blast emails out. That's considered spam and can get your account shut down.
Start collecting your existing client's email addresses. If you have a website, provide something for people to download or offer an email newsletter signup.
Q: Are there any rules for writing articles for newspapers? Does it require CMS approval?
A: It's best to be generic when writing articles for newspapers. If you mention any specific plans or carriers, it would require CMS approval.
Stay generic and adhere to the language guidelines CMS provides (such as never referring to $0 premium plans as "free").
Q: What is the best marketing approach for turning 65 leads?
A: I would try to become the go-to person in your local community. What are you doing locally to ensure your community knows you as the Medicare expert?
When a person that's turning 65 gets a postcard in the mail, you have less than 2 seconds to get their attention before they toss it. What we try to do with all of our marketing materials is to put your brand on there and capture their attention so they stop and pay attention.
The best marketing approach is a well-orchestrated combination of several tactics. Ultimately, it's all about a deep engagement with your community.
Dive into this topic more: How to Market Medicare Advantage Plans
Webinar Recording: How to Sell Medicare Advantage Over the Phone
Rewatch our live presentation explaining how to sell Medicare Advantage plans from home.
The first hurdle agents have when considering selling Medicare Advantage plans over the phone is compliance. How do I make sure I do everything by the books?
It can be intimidating, but once you're familiar with the MCMG, it's really not so bad. All of those rules are there to protect agents and consumers, and when you think of it as a positive thing, it really changes your mindset.
Selling Medicare Advantage over the phone is completely doable – we know plenty of agents who it successfully.
Here are your basic steps:
- Establish yourself as a Medicare guru in your community.
- Develop a marketing plan to ensure prospects are calling you (since you can't call them).
- Offer Medicare Advantage to your existing client base.
- Send a scope of appointment (SOA) using MedicareCENTER.
- Find the right plan for your client using Medicare.gov and MedicareCENTER.
- Enroll your client in their best plan using MedicareAPP or MedicareLINK, the two enrollment tools available in MedicareCENTER.
If you'd like more thorough Medicare Advantage training, check out our new, on-demand video training series!