Brokers across the country are understandably worried about some of the recent developments in the individual market, including carrier decisions to stop paying commissions on products sold during special enrollment periods and to eliminate agent commissions altogether. If these changes have impacted your business, you’re probably nervous about having all your eggs in one basket and are considering looking for new income opportunities.
Here’s an idea: Is it time to start selling Medicare products?
By Medicare products, we’re referring to Medicare supplements, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, or other products that may be of interest to the senior market, such as final expense policies.
If you haven’t ventured into this market segment in the past, there are a lot of great reasons to consider looking into it:
- There’s a need - As people get older they tend to use more health care services and generally take more prescriptions than when they were younger. More importantly, the older generation recognizes the importance of health care coverage. Very few seniors would consider going without health coverage, which differs greatly from the “young invincibles” you may have been targeting over the past few years.
- There are plenty of prospects - According to AARP, there are 8,000 Americans turning 65 every single day, creating a larger pool of people in need of extra coverage.
- The Medicare market is more stable than the individual market - Medicare did not experience the impacts of the Affordable Care Act. This market shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
- There’s opportunity to help more clients and earn more income - Medicare business tends to stay on the books longer than in the individual market; helping create long term relationships with clients. In addition, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement commissions can be significantly higher and can help fill the gap of decreasing individual commissions.
You may be thinking; that all sounds great, but there’s a lot to learn. That’s true, but it’s also not necessarily a bad thing. The fact that there are some hoops to jump through for agents who want to sell Medicare-related products may scare away some of the competition, and it serves as a barrier to entry.
You may be hesitant to venture into this market segment because it will require learning something new, but we think it’s worth pointing out that there are a lot of similarities between Medicare and the individual market.
So what are the similarities?
For one, both Medicare Advantage plans and Individual Health plans have annual enrollment periods when people can sign up for new plans or make changes to their coverage. Both individual and Medicare products offer coverage that is guaranteed issue. Medicare Advantage plans have only one health question and Medicare supplements are available to people regardless of medical conditions for the first six months after they sign up for Medicare Part B. While both feature a government website that people can use to purchase coverage on their own, we believe people still prefer the simplicity of working with an agent.
If you’ve learned how to sell individual plans successfully, you’ll do just fine with Medicare. Similar to the under-65 market, once you’ve helped a senior client with his or her health coverage, there are plenty of other health care coverage products you can recommend that may help fill additional needs of your clients and help you earn additional income.
In the coming months, we’ll continue to provide you with information about the opportunities in the senior market, but if you’re ready to start learning now, please contact AHCP today. We’ll be happy to get you started.