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By Cristin Hopkin-Bishop • September 7, 2017

AEP is Almost Here... Is Your Business Plan Ready?

The Annual Election Period (AEP) for Medicare Advantage is right around the corner.  Have you thought about the Business Plan that you put together at the beginning of the year?  How have you done?  Good news is that if you haven’t had a chance to fulfill your goals, there is still time to get started!  I’m going to fill you in on a business plan that has worked for several successful insurance agents in our field.


Sales goals need to be set for AEP and the Special Election Period (SEP).  This will keep you driving toward that goal each month.  Your goal might be 15 apps per month during SEP and 60 apps during AEP.  Whatever it is, write it down and strive to achieve it!

Marketing is key to a year-round success!  I’d market using 5 ways:

  1. Doctors’ offices

Arrange and set up 1-2 Lunch and Learns a month to educate on your portfolio of products.  Focus on SEP year-round dual eligible, LIS status, and Chronic Illnesses.  You will want to engage the providers on baby boomers who are now becoming Medicare eligible.  Offer them informal educational events for their patients.  Baby boomers have so many questions about Medicare programs and wellness programs.  You need to be an advisor to them.  You will need to be consistent with visiting the doctor’s offices.  Continue to deliver meeting flyers and brochure material.

  1. Fitness centers

If the Medicare Advantage plan that you are selling offers a fitness benefit, then use that to do some marketing.  Develop a relationship with Silver Sneakers, Silver n Fit or whoever that carrier might use.  Find the locations in your area and offer flyers.  You can find out availability to attend the location before or after Medicare beneficiaries’ classes and set up informal educational events for Q&A.


  1. Health fairs

Outreach to the community engaging in any health fairs in your territory.  These are kind of a hit or miss depending on the time of year, but try and find a couple of events that you can work each year.

  1. Retirement & Assistant Living

Outreach to retirement and assistant living centers and offer to do educational meetings within your territory.  You might offer sponsorship in any events around your community organizations.  The goal is to get in front of as many seniors as you can.


  1. Churches & Senior centers

Deliver flyers and brochures within your territory to recreational, senior centers, and churches.  You want to develop relationships with these facilities and try to look for opportunities to put on educational events.


Lead generation is significant to a year-round success!  I’d try generating leads using 3 ways:

  1. Age In’s

Purchase an age in list for individuals who were born 65 years ago.  Contact these prospects by using direct mail.  The carriers all have CMS pre-approved pieces that are available to mail out.  Ask to be referred.  Always provide your information to providers, community, and current members and ask them to refer you to a friend/relative who are new to Medicare.


  1. Chronic Illness

Identify through needs assessment individuals who are eligible for chronic illness plans. Diabetes, Heart Failure or Pulmonary disease are all examples. Build relationships with Cardiologist and Pulmonary specialists.  Educate their staff and the doctors on your plans. 

  1. Low Income

Purchase list of individuals who are in poverty level.  Use direct mail by mailing a flyer and brochures on Dual Special Needs plans.  You might have to go the extra step to assist individuals who might fall in the bracket for extra help.  But, by directing them to Social Security with a phone number or website, you will be offering a service in a very confusing time.  That client will be forever grateful and might even buy the insurance plan you are offering.


Medicare Advantage is such a unique market to do business within because of the renewals in commissions.  But to keep that renewal commission coming in, you must have a retention strategy in place too.  Outreach to current members and consumers.  Be sure to maintain a relationship with individuals who you’ve enrolled in the past.  Always, leave your business cards for contact and referrals. Make follow up phone calls thanking them for their business and advise your new client that you are available to family and friends who may need your assistance with Medicare.  Mail Thank You cards with business cards and flyers for referrals.  These are just a few things you can do to keep your retention rate up!

At the end of the day, by selling Medicare Advantage plans, your line of work is Sales!  Sales skills are very important to this job.  Fortunately, our industry offers a lot of training in this area too.  Utilize WebEx training from the carriers to develop sales skills and knowledge.  Yes, every year we must all take these carrier certifications, but look at it as a way to keep our knowledge in tip top shape.  These certifications allow us to have a refresher course each year, so we all stay in compliance with Medicare guidelines.

So in conclusion, the primary strategy is to exceed sales goals, to work collaboratively with providers and community to identify and gain access to individuals who are eligible for Medicare.  By maximizing this business plan, you should develop a stronger relationship in the community and providers to generate referrals in results to enhance your clientele.