For those new to Medicare the contracting/appointment process can be very confusing. Carrier certifications, AHIP certifications, writing numbers, can overwhelm agents and sometimes drive them away from selling Medicare Advantage plans. Well we are here to help clarify some of those questions and help you the agent succeed during AEP!
Who needs to certify?
Every Medicare carrier will have their own individual certifications that must be completed by all agents prior to processing new applications. Every year, insurance agents who are working in the Medicare field will be required to certify with those carriers in order to sell their Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug plans, and select Medicare Supplement plans.
What is AHIP?
American’s Health Insurance Plans formed in 2013 after the merger of HIAA and AAHP. AHIP represents thousands of companies that offer health insurance to millions of Americans nationwide. For those agents looking to sell Medicare Advantage plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), most carriers will require the agent to be AHIP certified. AHIP is an annual training course and must be completed prior to being “ready to sell”. The annual training was created to protect seniors and reward agents selling Medicare policies the right way!
How do I get certified?
There are a few ways that an agent can get AHIP certified. The downside to AHIP is there is a cost associated. At the Brokerage, we recommend that our agents take the AHIP through one of the carriers they are/want to get appointed with. This helps in two ways. First the agent can receive a $50 rebate bringing the cost down to $125 versus the $175 if you take it direct through AHIP’s website. Second, it will help complete a few of the modules that would have been required if the agent hadn’t of taken it through the carrier. Once an agent completes the AHIP certification they will not need to take it again with any other carrier for that years AEP!
What if I don’t want to sell Medicare Advantage?
Agents can still sell Medicare Supplement policies to their clients without having to complete AHIP however, they are still required to complete the carrier specific certifications. Generally, Medicare Supplement plans have higher premiums verse Medicare Advantage which generally has a low premium for your clients.
I’m AHIP certified, what’s next?
Start completing the carrier specific certifications! If you have questions about what carriers/products are strong in your network please find our state of the art quote engine on our website thebrokerageinc.com or give us a call direct! Once you have completed the carrier certifications and have your writing number, party ID, or access code (depending on the carrier) you are ready to sell! AEP starts October 15th and runs through December 7th!
Time to sell!
During AEP, agents have the ability to write completely new business as well as replace existing Medicare plans which will go into effect in January 2018. Don’t let AHIP hold you back from selling Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans! This will help separate quality agents from the others and you’ll have a client for life!