While brokers have a slew of product offerings to sell in the marketplace many are missing out on one of the biggest opportunities in the insurance industry today – Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. We’ve all heard the statistics that 10,000 seniors turn 65 every day, but did you know that California has 10% of the market share? So why aren’t more brokers offering MA plans in their product portfolio? I’ve spoken to many insurance brokers who refer their Medicare business out for a small onetime referral fee and many others who have just simply leave money on the table and don’t refer the business out at all. Getting certified to sell MA plans can be taxing, yet with lifetime residual income and commission increases for 2017, the benefits far outweigh the time investment.
So what does it take to get certified to sell MA plans? Well for brokers who already hold their California life and health license, you’re halfway there. For everyone else, getting licensed is the first step, followed by completing the AHIP exam – a 50-question test on marketing MA plans and fraud, waste and abuse. Next brokers would need to get appointed with an FMO agency that holds multiple carrier contracts and can provide broker support to agents. Lastly, your FMO agency will direct you on how to get contracted with the various carriers in your area.
Selecting the right FMO agency is critical to your success and as a broker you will want to find an agency that offers timely commissions, sales opportunities in your area, and ongoing training, but most importantly find a partner that keeps compliance as a priority. Selling MA plans is different than other insurance products, as it is regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, otherwise known as CMS, and who enforces compliant marketing and sales practices.
Once you get through the hoops of getting certified to sell, you can start earning lifetime residual income. In 2017, in California commission payouts for those new to Medicare, is $553 and the annual renewal and plan switch rate is $277 which is over a 3% increase from commission payouts in 2016.
If you’re considering getting certified to sell Medicare Advantage products, now is the best time to get started! You will have from January-September to learn the industry, build your relationships and get ready for the 2018 Annual Enrollment Period, AEP, where most agents write 70-80% of their business.