How to Become a Medicare Advisor
As of 2019, 61.2 million Americans were receiving Medicare. This federal health insurance program caters to people aged 65 or older and some younger people with disabilities. Americans with End-Stage Renal Disease may also benefit from Medicare.
The number of American adults aged 65 and above is expected to increase by about 18 million between 2020 and 2030. So the demand for Medicare will only increase. That makes now the ideal time to become a Medicare advisor.
Medicare advisors are agents or brokers who represent Medicare plan providers. These professionals can provide information and guidance to help patients make the right Medicare decisions.
With USA Medicare advisors earning an average salary of $94,000 per year, the career has become popular today. But exactly how do you become a Medicare advisor?
Read on to find out.
Get Your Health Insurance License
The first tip on becoming a Medicare advisor is to acquire a health insurance license in your state. This license is referred to as your state health insurance producer license.
You’ll need to acquire the necessary fundamental training for understanding how Medicare works before getting your license. Some areas of study you need to familiarize yourself with include healthcare laws, professional ethics, co-insurance, deductibles, claims adjudication, compliance, and networks such as PPOs and HMOs.
Some states require and provide classroom training with licensed health insurance agents who help you get ready for the exam. Some vendors may also offer this training. You’re going to need to complete a given number of hours of study before you can take the health license exam.
In other states, self-study is allowed as you prepare for the exam. This is preferable for those who like to study independently and at their own set time.
Once you’ve passed the exam, you’re now officially certified to become a Medicare advisor.
Complete AHIP Medicare Training
Once you’ve received your license, the next step is to pass the annual Medicare training and certification. This certification is typically offered through America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
Usually, your AHIP certificate will start in early July for the following Medicare plan year. For example, if you get certified in July 2021, you can sell Medicare plans for the 2022 Medicare plan year.
Certain Medicare products don’t require you to have special certification to sell. The CMS determines which products require this certification. The body also regulates Medicare plans, insurance agents, and insurance carriers.
Buy Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance
Medicare advisors need errors and omissions insurance to protect them if they offer inaccurate or misleading information and are sued for it. You can purchase this insurance through a property and casualty insurance agency. You may also opt to get covered through a field marketing organization (FMO).
A typical errors and commissions policy will cost you several hundred dollars every year. Most policies cover between one and three million dollars.
Contract With an FMO
FMOs distribute health insurance plans to insurance agencies and agents on behalf of insurance carriers. An FMO can help you get appointed and contracted to sell insurance with various companies.
As soon as you get contracted with an FMO, you can start to sell such Medicare products as Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplements.
While choosing an FMO, find out whether they provide training on how to sell Medicare. Enquire what carriers the FMO is appointed with and whether they offer E&O insurance. Will the FMO help you get Medicare leads?
Become Contracted and Appointed With Medicare Companies
You must have a contract with a carrier before they appoint you to sell their Medicare products. Gather all the requirements necessary for this appointment.
Most carriers will require a copy of your current errors and omissions policy. You’ll also need to provide a copy of your current resident and non-resident health insurance license. There’s also a background check involved before you can sell products.
Depending on the insurance carrier you’re dealing with, there may be other requirements. The entire process of contracting with insurance carriers may take a bit of time, so you need to be patient.
Take Continuing Education to Maintain Your License
The best way to get ahead in your career as a Medicare advisor is to commit to ongoing training on Medicare insurance. Top FMOs usually offer top-grade Medicare training to their agents, so you won’t even have to pay for it. Find out from your FMO what courses are available and take as much advantage of them as you can.
Many FMOs offer frequent webinars to equip agents with the latest information on such areas as compliance, sales language, marketing, and more. Enrolling in these classes can prove helpful in staying on top of Medicare insurance.
Note that some states require ongoing education for agents’ licenses to stay active. Your continuing education provider should be able to guide you through your state’s requirements.
Increase Your Medicare Experience
The more experience you have selling Medicare insurance, the better. The best way to do this is to demonstrate your knowledge of medicare products and services to clients. Enlist their advice on how you can enhance your sales abilities.
You must always keep yourself up-to-date with the latest Medicare insurance changes. For example, if there’s a major change in medicare plans, you should know about it to provide good service to your clients.
Becoming a Medicare Advisor Is a Process
Medicare advisors offer a valuable service to society, and their skills are always in high demand. A certain amount of preparation and planning is needed to become a competent medicare advisor. By carefully committing to going through this process, you can set yourself up for success in this growing field.
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