2020 AHIP certification update

It’s our favorite time of the year, right behind AEP. That’s right, it’s time for AHIP TESTING and carrier certifications! You have probably seen the emails coming directly from AHIP telling you that AHIP has been released for 2020. Sure, you can go ahead and follow those links and pay the full retail price of $175 or…. You could follow your favorite FMO’s link and get the exact same course for a whopping $50 off. No strings attached. Well, there is one small one. You have to sign up for our blog in order to get the discount, but I promise we won’t SPAM you. Since you are reading this article, there is a good possibility you’re already signed up anyway. 

2020 AHIP has changed their ways this year too. Here’s what you need to know:

  • There is a timer on every slide. You can no longer just click-through the slide deck to the end
    • We have found that using Firefox instead of Chrome or Edge as your browser will allow you to move through the slides quicker
  • Quizzes have changed. You must answer every question until you get it correct.

For those of you new to Medicare Advantage, this really isn’t a deal breaker and the more time you spend on each slide, the better your chance of the information actually sinking in to the huge brain of yours.

We have partnered with AHIP for 2020 to offer our agents a generous, no-obligation $50 discount when you take the exam through RBI. You can always procrastinate and follow the carrier’s links (when they come out next week OR NEXT MONTH!) but go ahead and give us a try. Here’s the AHIP Discount link!

That’s not all!

Because we are so excited about this offer, we have decided to sweeten the deal. Let us pay for your AHIP certification!

  • Contract directly with RB Insurance Group with 3 Medicare Advantage carriers.
  • Make 5 Medicare Advantage enrollments with RB Insurance Group during AEP.
  • We will send you a check in the mail for $125 after the policy effective date.

You’re also invited to join us for a fun and informative webinar hosted by our National Sales Manager, Charlie Ferrell. He will offer useful advice for taking the 2020 AHIP certification so register today!

Register for “Ace the AHIP 2020”  Here’s what we’ll cover:

— Tips on how to study for the 2020 AHIP
— Practical advice for once you’re taking the test
— Pass the AHIP the first time!
— BIG changes this year to how to study for the exam

Register here now!

Want more reasons to sell Medicare Advantage plans?

How about we just got a raise! CMS just increased the Initial Compensation to $510 for a beneficiary just enrolling into Medicare and raised the renewal rate to $255. Most carriers pay lifetime commissions so if you enroll a client into a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time in 2020, that client is worth more than $2200 over 10 years. We make it easy to stay in front of and keep track of your clients with our proprietary Medicare Sales Engine CRM. We also make it easy to contract with our Fast-Track contracting process.

2019 AHIP Update Plus $50 Discount!

AHIP Certification 2020 discount training medicare


2019 AHIP Update

Get Your $50 AHIP Training Discount TODAY!



Nobody wants to be that agent that’s scrambling at the last minute to complete their AHIP certification in late September. A successful AEP starts with a plan, so plan on knocking out your AHIP as soon as possible. AHIP is now open! 

Get your 2019 AHIP Discount TODAY!

A lot of you may have heard about our $50 discount, because this will be our third year providing this discount. Now I know what you’re thinking, “big whoop, a lot of carriers provide the same discount.” Unlike most carrier discounts that are not available until several weeks after AHIP is released, you can use our discount now!. Last year, RB Insurance reimbursed all directly affiliated agents that submitted at least 5 new Medicare Advantage enrollments. This year you will have that same opportunity to be fully reimbursed on your 2019 AHIP certification, see below for details!

AHIP Reimbursement Details

  • Contract with 3 Medicare Advantage carriers directly through RBI.
  • Make 5 Medicare Advantage enrollments with RBI during AEP.
  • Enjoy that sweet $125 check after the policies go into effect!
  • Reimbursement applies to Agencies as well, Contact us for details!



Looking for 2020 AHIP Certification information?

RB Insurance Group is proud to announce that we will once again, in 2020, give Agents a $50 Discount & the opportunity to receive a full reimbursement.

Register for Your Discount Now Click Here: 2020 AHIP Discount

2020 AHIP Important Information & Announcements Click Here: 2020 AHIP Certifications

2019 AHIPAce the 2019 AHIP

It’s been proven that AHIP and certification season have been known to cause widespread misery, the CDC has warned that it’s even contagious. Not to fear, RBI has the cure for you!

Looking for the latest news about Medicare Advantage certification? Be sure to check out your one-stop certification shop. You will be able to access all of your Medicare Advantage certifications from this one page, so make sure you check back often as the carriers start to release their MAPD product certifications. If you have any questions about our AHIP discount/reimbursement program, feel free to call our office: 1-800-997-3107!



2020 ahip discount certification
OEP
Medicare cost-sharing

Annual Enrollment Period Checklist

RBI’s Senior Sales Coordinator: James Gramp

About the Author: With his signature common sense, quiet good humor, and brilliant customer service, Jim is an integral part of the RBI team — we’d go so far as to say we’d be lost without him! An Arizona native, Jim manages agent relationships for the East Coast and specializes in the RBI agent tools, especially the Agent Market Edge. Jim has been a licensed health insurance agent for 2 years, and has worked at RBI for almost 3 years. An accomplished bassoonist, he is known around the office for his amazing musical skills. In addition to keeping busy around the office, Jim frequently contributes to our blog, bringing a new agent’s perspective to the RBI online presence.

Annual Enrollment Period Checklist: Are you Ready to Sell?

Can you believe that it’s almost August already? It seems like every year the Annual Enrollment Period creeps up on us faster and faster.  Don’t be that agent that is scrambling to finish his AHIP and carrier certifications in September and then wants to know why he can’t pick up sales materials because he’s not showing up as “Ready to Sell.”  Without further ado I present to you, my personal AEP checklist.

AHIP

It’s that four letter word we all love to hate.  Unfortunately it’s just one of many requirements to sell Medicare Advantage and it’s also the first step you should be taking in order to prepare for the Annual Enrollment Period.  Now, if you’re one of those agents that doesn’t sell MA then I have news for you, you’re leaving money on the table.  In a previous blog post, I talk about why agents should consider adding Medicare Advantage products to their portfolio, just follow the link above to read more!

Haven’t taken your AHIP yet?  Look no further, follow this AHIP link to receive your $50 discount… But wait, there’s more!

100% AHIP Reimbursement

Annual Enrollment Period

  1. Use RBI’s AHIP link to take the 2018 certification
  2. Contract with 2 MA carriers through RBI
  3. Make 5 MA sales with RBI carriers
  4. After the plans become effective, receive a $125 check in the mail!

OR

  1. Use RBI’s AHIP link to take the 2018 certification
  2. Contract with Bright Health
  3. Make 1 Bright Health sale during the Annual Enrollment Period
  4. After the plan becomes effective, receive a $125 check in the mail!

Carrier Certifications

If you didn’t quite get your fill of online testing from the AHIP, there’s always carrier certifications as a nice dessert.  Not sure when the specific carriers are launching their certifications?  Follow this link to our 2018 Master Certification page where you will be able to see if and when the various Medicare Advantage carriers plan on releasing their certifications.

Be sure to knock out carrier certifications as they become available.  The reason for doing them right away is, if you’re not marked as “Ready to Sell” with a carrier, you will not be able to pick up any marketing materials or sales kits for the upcoming AEP.

Do I need to Add any Products to my Portfolio?

Now is the time when carriers are releasing benefit information for the 2018 plan year.  In fact, Aetna, Humana, and United Healthcare have already released first look benefits for the new plan year.  Curious to find out how these carriers are looking in your market?  We’re always one call away!

Is my FMO holding up their end of the Bargain?

Now is also the perfect time to evaluate whether your FMO is holding up their end of the bargain, they should work for you.  If your Field Marketing Organization doesn’t provide anything in the way of marketing support, it might be time to re-evaluate your relationship.  Check out this blog article from RBI Director of Marketing, Justin Bever, where he talks about how your FMO should be working for you.  These are things I consider when choosing who to put my Medicare business with:

  1. Sales Training + Coaching
  2. Marketing Support
  3. Compliance Support
  4. Accessibility

Develop a Marketing Plan for AEP

The most successful agents don’t go into the busiest time for Medicare brokers without a plan of attack.  At RBI, we routinely develop marketing plans with our agents the M.A.P.S. way.  We call it the M.A.P.S. method because we believe that your marketing plan should be Measurable, Actionable, Profitable, and Scalable.  Check out my blog post that I linked to above to learn all about the M.A.P.S. method for success.

A few things your plan might include:

  • Direct Mail campaign
  • Educational/Sales Events
  • Establishing Community Referral Networks

A lot of agents I speak with only look for referrals from their existing book of business but are totally ignoring a HUGE opportunity when it comes to getting referrals within your community.  The easiest place you can start is your very own doctor’s office.  If you’ve ever wondered how an agent is able to be successful in this industry without breaking the bank by purchasing leads, here’s your answer: Community Marketing.  Not sure how, or where to start?  Check out my blog post, “Building Your Referral Network” and download the free white paper where I demonstrate how to get started!

Annual Enrollment Period

Sing it with me now, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  I know, I know, it’s way too early for Christmas songs.  In all seriousness, the most successful agents don’t go into the Annual Enrollment Period without a plan, and if you’ve done it right you’ll be singing along with Andy Williams after AEP is over.

Don’t let another AEP pass you by without meeting your sales goals!  RBI has the tools, marketing support, and most importantly, the expertise to turn you into a “Sales Champion.”  Give RBI a call today to learn all about how we do things differently than our competitors. 1-800-997-3107.



2020 ahip discount certification
OEP

5 Easy Tax Season Deductions – Filing Deadline: April 18

Charlie Ferrell, National Sales Manager

About the Author: Charlie started his senior insurance career after a brief 30-year stint in the restaurant industry. In the 12 years since then, he has been blazing trails and setting standards for excellence all over! A native son of Utah, he has been a state manager for RBI as well as a managing general agent for UHC, Coventry, Molina and other carriers! Charlie came to RBI as the National Sales Manager in 2015, and is an invaluable resource for our agents and staff for marketing, compliance, and sales topics! If all of that wasn’t enough, Charlie specializes in the Dual-Eligible market and is leading the charge behind many of RBI’s new training initiatives!

5 Easy Tax Season Deductions

Filing Deadline: April 18

As you are no doubt aware by the ads to “Get Your Billion BACK!” and others, it’s tax season!


Running a business as an independent agent is a great experience for the freedom it allows, but at this time of year it can be daunting. If you’re trying to figure out what deductions you can claim for tax season, you know what we’re talking about. The IRS has resources to help you
understand what types of deductions you are eligible for, so check out what they have to say to get started. Now if you get overwhelmed by this list, that’s ok! (That’s why an accountant is a good idea!) We aren’t licensed CPA’s and this isn’t a substitute for working with one, but here’s our RBI shortlist of 5 easy tax season deductions to think about as a small business owner in senior sales.  Let’s get to it!

Number 1: Mileage

easy tax season deductions

Make sure you are tracking your mileage for Medicare appointments.

As a Medicare independent agent, you should be tracking the miles you drive to and from appointments. You’ll want to be able to provide your accountant with this information at the end of the year. Getting this deduction is simply a matter of noting the distance to and from appointments. Don’t make this complicated: write down the mileage, take a photo of your odometer, or if you don’t want to do the old fashioned notebook-and-pencil way of tracking miles, you can always download the Mile IQ app on your smartphone. Download the app for free and get started! Read more about how this works.

Number 2: Marketing Expenses

A lot of people don’t track their expenses for marketing, and this counts as a business expense! Did you order flyers for a community event this year? Maybe you got a refresh on business cards? What about mailers? Save your receipts for marketing efforts and make sure you provide your accountant with those records as well.

Number 3: Meeting Room Rental

If you held any community marketing during AEP or throughout the year, you know that meeting rooms can cost money. This is also a tax deductible expense! If you had any giveaways or prizes at these meetings, you might be able to write them off as well. (Make sure you are following the CMS Medicare Marketing Guidelines for any giveaways or prizes at your events.)  Keep your receipts – your accountant will need them!

Number 4: License Fees

easy tax season deductions

Here are 5 easy tax season deductions for Medicare insurance agents!

Insurance agents in the senior insurance market know – keeping up to date on your license, E&O insurance, CE credits and more can add up! This is also a business expense, so make sure you keep track of all your receipts for CE credits, AHIP, and other appointment fees.

Number 5: Business Travel:

If you went to any conferences, like the AHIP conference last year, or other business travels, those receipts need to be saved. Airline costs, hotel, rental car and fuel, parking expenses at the airport – all of these expenses are a business expense.  You should also be tracking your daily meals or per diem. If using the per diem method, don’t forget that your first and last days of travel are calculated at a reduced rate! You can also download this app that will help to track per diem rates.

Bonus round: If you have a home office that is designated as purely for business purposes, you might be able to write off such costs are your cell phone, internet, office supplies, or postage.

Did you see some types of business expenses on our list that you didn’t think about last year? If you didn’t keep track of these 5 items in 2016, now is the time to get started for next year. Above all, don’t wait to get organized! What you do now will have a big impact on your filing in 2018 for the fiscal year 2017. And remember, we aren’t experts — these are only 5 easy tax season deductions that we track every year. Your accountant or CPA will be able to point to other expenses you should track that might be a great way to save money.

Have you checked the RBI Calendar for April? It’s Carrier Spring Training month! Click here to get emails about our webinars! Want to get contracted? Call us up at 1-800-997-3107 or click here to see a list of carriers.


Medicare cost-sharing
USA Senior Care Network
2019 AHIP
AEP

Top Compliance Mistakes in Home Visits for MA Agents

As RBI’s Director of Training and Compliance, I hear all the time from agents that have gotten into compliance trouble.  So here’s my shortlist of the biggest compliance mistakes in home visits for Medicare Advantage Agents.

Number 1: Failure to collect the Scope of Appointment before presenting the product.

As odd as this sounds, many agents still struggle with the SOA requirements. The CMS requirement is to obtain scope of appointment at minimum 48 hours prior to the appointment whenever practicable. Many agents still fail to complete one prior to the appointment.

Compliance Mistakes in Home Visits

Here’s my shortlist of the 4 biggest compliance mistakes in home visits for Medicare Advantage Agents.

Number 2: Failure to complete a needs analysis.

Many agents view MA sales as an order taking exercise.

  1. Are your doctors covered?
  2. Are you drugs covered?
  3. Is the premium/copay less than what you have now?

While those are good questions to ask, you need to find out what is most important to the member. Find out what services they use most often. Are they worried more about premium or unforeseen costs? Do they plan to travel? If you do this step properly, you will avoid allegations and grievances by vetting them out on the front end.

Number 3: No Cross Sell of Other Products.

I still talk to agents every day that are very wary of cross selling any product during an MA appointment. Cross selling is perfectly fine as long as the products are agreed to on the SOA form. Hospital Indemnity pairs perfectly with MA plans and in many cases can double or more your first year commission on that member. Just remember you can only cross sell health related products. See our blog posts for more info. No Life, burial or annuity sales allowed in the same appointment.

Number 4: Did Not Ask for Referrals

There is a common compliance misconception going around regarding asking for referrals in appointments. In fact, several carriers have been training agents to never ask for a referral in an MA appointment. While soliciting names and phone numbers is prohibited, you can absolutely ask clients to refer their friends and family to you. Many agents leave only one business card and don’t follow up with a letter or even a call after enrollment. Leave at least 5 business cards at every appointment, even if you don’t enroll them and always include a few in any letters you send to your clients. Not only will you get some word-of-mouth marketing, but this ensures that you answer any lingering questions that otherwise may cost you in a disenrollment.

Are you concerned about compliance?  RBI is here to help! Our contracted agents get access to our support team, including Rob Bever, Director of Training and Compliance.  If you would like to get started today, click here to see a list of carriers.  You can also call and speak to the team or Rob directly, at 1-800-997-3107.

MA Compliance Requirements for Agencies

If you’ve ever wondered if you were following all the guidelines for compliance, you’re not alone. As the Director of Compliance for RB Insurance Group, I talk to agencies nearly every day that are struggling through a carrier audit, often bringing daily business to a grinding halt.  If you are nodding along, don’t panic!  We can help you build processes to get compliance under control.

That’s right, I’m the “FUN” guy in the office.

Compliance = fun right?

All MA carriers are audited for compliance by CMS every 3 years. Contracting with multiple carriers increases your chances that at some point you will be picked for a random agency compliance audit.  CMS requires the carriers to hold agencies accountable for the compliance of contracted agents and employees.

Are you an agency with no employees (besides yourself) and you still get certified every year and sell?  Rejoice, as much of this doesn’t apply to you.

Basic Requirements

The most commonly overlooked CMS requirements for FDR’s (First, Downline and Related Entities) not an exhaustive list.

OIG/SAM Exclusion Check

Upon hire and monthly thereafter you must check all employees, (even yourself), against both the OIG List of Excluded Individuals/Entities and SAM Excluded Persons List System (EPLS).

Most agencies know about the OIG (Office of Inspector General), but not the SAM (System for Award Management) requirement. The button looks like this:

You must keep records of the searches. Some carriers have a spreadsheet they want the tracking in, others want you to make one.

Regardless, it will need to include the basic information on all your employees/agents as well as dates of the checks. A sample Excel Spreadsheet will be made available to contracted agencies inside the Medicare Sales Engine.

CMS General Compliance and Fraud, Waste and Abuse Training (FWA).

GC/FWA training must be completed upon hire and annually thereafter. Every employee must complete it.

If you and all of your staff are licensed writing agents with all the carriers you represent, you’re in luck: it was included in your annual training and you do not have an additional requirement.

For everyone else, there are 3 ways to meet the requirement:

  • Have all your staff enroll in the MLN (Medicare Learning Network) and complete the courses and get the certificates.

  • Go over the CMS training in PDF form with all your staff and have them take the exam on paper, then generate the certificates.

  • Incorporate the CMS training information into your existing compliance training and testing, and generate your own certificates. (Not suggested and not accepted by all carriers.)

We can assist you in obtaining the required materials for this training, just give us a call at 1-800-997-3107.

You must also have:

  • Written Code of Conduct

  • Written Code of Ethics

  • Policies and Procedures manual that applies to Medicare Advantage and Medicare as a whole.

  • HIPAA Security Plan

  • Compliance Officer (yes, you have to have one)

  • A method for employees to report suspected FWA or other violations internally and anonymously.

There are a lot more requirements and details than I can get into in a short blog article, but this will get you started.

If you are currently the subject of a sales allegation, carrier audit, or just want to prepare so you aren’t scrambling to get compliant when you receive an audit notice, you can contact our office for assistance.

RB Insurance Group, LLC 1-800-997-3107