Are you thinking about becoming a Medicare insurance agent? If so, you’ll be happy to hear that the Medicare health insurance market is growing at a rapid rate.
For one, all baby boomers will be over the age of 65 by 2030, which will expand the size of the older population so that 1 in every 5 residents will be retirement age.
Census predictions also state that for the first time in US history seniors will outnumber children.
These growing seniors numbers are set to create a high demand for medicare health insurance agents.
What’s more, it’s not just the general public who are aging. So are insurance agents. The average age of insurance agents is currently 59.
This means that over the next few years, a large portion of existing agents will likely retire. This is predicted to only but spur the demand for independent insurance agents.
But how does one go about becoming a Medicare insurance agent?
If you’re wondering how to get started as a health insurance agent, keep reading as we break down all the steps in this ultimate guide.
Get Your Resident State Health Insurance Producer License
The very first step to becoming a Medicare health insurance agent is obtaining a health insurance producer license from your resident state.
Training and licensing requirements differ by state. Therefore, it’s best to begin by checking with your state’s insurance department to find out exactly what coursework you will need to complete.
If you aren’t sure how to get connected with your state’s insurance department, this directory page from the NAIC has a full list of US insurance departments.
Before you can sit your licensing exam you will need to complete fundamental training on how health insurance plans work. This basic training covers areas like:
- Healthcare laws
- Areas of compliance and professional ethics
Some states require you to attend lectures and training classes. Others merely require you to complete a self-study course in your own time.
Pro Tip: If you’re keen to get started on your Medicare insurance career, a great way to kickstart things is to book your exam as soon as possible, instead of waiting until you’ve completed your coursework. Having a deadline by which to finish studying can help motivate you and keep you on track.
Be aware however that some states also require things like background checks and fingerprints. If this is the case with your state, then you’ll need to allow a little extra time.
Carry Out AHIP Medicare Health Insurance Training
Besides studying and sitting for your health insurance license, you’ll also need to complete annual training with the AHIP if you want to sell Medicare products.
To get certified to sell Medicare plans you will need to sit and pass your exam by at least 90%. You will also need to repeat the training and certification each year you plan to sell Medicare health insurance. Although this might sound like a hassle, it will help to ensure that you know your products through and through.
Take note that AHIP certification usually starts in the middle of the year (late June or early July) for the following Medicare plan year. Therefore, if you get certified for the first time this year, you’ll not only be able to sell next year’s plans once the annual enrollment period opens up, but you can start selling the remainder of the year and the current year’s plans immediately.
Choose an FMO
The next step to becoming a health insurance agent is to choose a suitable FMO. FMO stands for Field Marketing Organization. You can also opt to go with an IMO, which stands for Insurance Marketing Organization.
To start selling Medicare insurance products you need to contract with one or more carriers.
FMOs and IMOs act as intermediaries between independent insurance agents and carriers. They streamline the contracting process.
They also provide independent agents with things like additional training, resources, discounts, perks, etc.
In some cases, insurance agents can contract directly with carriers. However, this rarely happens with new agents, as most carriers who are open to contracting directly require agents to prove certain minimum sales numbers.
Besides this, contracting through an IMO or FMO is often easier than working directly with carriers.
Get E&O Insurance
Before you can contract with most carriers you will need to take out E&O insurance. E&O insurance protects you from liability should you ever find yourself embroiled in court proceedings over accused negligence.
Not only is it prudent to carry E&O insurance, but most carriers also require it before they will contract with you.
Pro TiP: Before you rush out and buy E&O insurance, make sure that your FMO or IMO does not offer it along with their membership. Complimentary E&O insurance is often given out by FMOs and IMOs.
If your FMO or IMO doesn’t include E&O coverage in their membership, then you will need to take it out independently.
Pass Carrier-Specific Certification Exams
Depending on which carriers you contract with, you may also need to complete carrier-specific training and certifications to sell their products. Cigna, Anthem, and Aetna are some examples of carriers that require agents to complete certification exams.
Most Medicare Advantage plans and Prescription Drug plans require certification exams. However, increasing numbers of Medicare Supplement carriers are now also starting to implement certification requirements.
Although this might sound like a lot of training to have to undertake, it is only to your benefit. By completing carrier-specific certification, you will become better versed in their products. The more you know about the Medicare products you sell, the better equipped you’ll be to help your clients.
Keep Up Your License
If you want to sell Medicare insurance plans, you’ll also need to be prepared to maintain your health insurance license each year.
Fortunately, once you have passed your initial licensing exam, renewing your license and training each year isn’t too arduous. What’s more, it also keeps you up-to-date on things like regulation changes.
Invest in Medicare Health Insurance Agent Training
If you want to learn how to sell Medicare health insurance and be successful at it, sitting the required licensing and certification exams isn’t all there is to it.
Not only do you need to understand how health insurance works, the regulations around it, and the products you’re selling—but you also need to learn how to sell.
To make sure you see the kind of sales numbers you want, you need to know how to successfully sell to clients and market yourself. Both sales and marketing are involved fields, and, unless you have a background in these, you’ll want to invest in some training to hone your skills.
Even if you have a background in sales and marketing, you should still look into programs that will teach you how to sell health insurance specifically.
Estimates state that there are currently more than 422,000 insurance agencies and brokers in the US. To rise above the competition and rake in those sales, you should do everything in your power to hone your skills and give yourself an edge.
A good program, such as what we offer here at Medicare Training 101 will equip you with the strategies and knowledge needed to turn your health insurance agent endeavors into a successful career. What’s more, our on-demand support and coaching calls mean you never have to feel stuck or at a loss about what to do.
Create and Implement a Marketing Plan
Once you are ready to start selling plans, the next step in becoming a Medicare health insurance agent is creating a marketing plan.
To start making sales, you need to generate leads, and to generate leads you need to market your services. Nowadays, there are a plethora of marketing avenues available. These include:
- Social media marketing
- Search engine marketing
- Paid ads
- Social media ads
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Direct mail
All of these marketing avenues can produce powerful results, however, you have to go in with a plan. To make sure you build up a steady flow of leads you have to be consistent and strategic with your marketing efforts.
One of the best places to start is by mapping out how much money and time you have to devote to your marketing. Then spread this across the main marketing methods you want to concentrate on first.
Paid ads are usually a great way to generate quick leads. More organic methods like content marketing take time to build.
To generate instant leads, you can also invest in bought leads to kickstart things, especially in the beginning while your other methods build on themselves.
Invest in the Right Medicare Health Insurance Agent Training to Grow Your Business
As you can see, becoming a Medicare Health insurance agent isn’t all that hard. Yes, you do need to invest time and resources into training, licensing, and certification. However, you don’t need a degree, a background in business, or any other prerequisites to get started.
What you do need, however, is the right insurance agent training. If you want to build your income year on year and become highly successful at Medicare health insurance sales, it’s imperative that you have the right training and support.
Looking for the right training program to help you reach and exceed your Medicare insurance agent goals?
We specialize in providing both new and experienced agents with the training materials and support they require to excel.
Check out our membership programs and kickstart your Medicare health insurance agent career today.