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This year, save time and ace the AHIP on your first try

AHIP has announced a June 22 release date for the 2016 annual sales training.

Now that most Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan insurers accept or mandate America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Medicare training, we would be remiss not to assist our affiliated agents with some tips regarding the navigation of this annual rite of passage. Be advised though — a few carriers have their own internal training available in lieu of the AHIP courses.

Many agents who have successfully completed AHIP for several years probably are spending more time than necessary to complete the courses and prepare for the test. New agents often invest days in study and rote memorization efforts. Hopefully, we can ease any trepidation with a few simple tips and reminders as we head into the sales season.

Beside remembering that learning and accountability are why we take the AHIP, keep the following in mind:

  • AHIP is an open-book test. Remember that term from school? It means you can print the entire course slideshow or even order a booklet. Call us at the number below to learn a better way to keep information in front of you while you take the test.
  • Pace yourself. The comprehensive test phase of AHIP takes two hours, and you have three attempts to pass with a minimum score of 90 percent. Eliminate all distractions while you’re taking the test — leave your phone in another room, close out of other programs or websites on your computer, etc.
  • If you don’t pass AHIP within your three allotted attempts, you’re done for the next six months. Some carriers do have alternative training available, so check with their broker support. Do not re-register for the course and pay another $125 or $175. You can re-register, repay and go through the course to take the test again, but Medicare Advantage carriers will not recognize the pass grade for the fourth or subsequent attempts. Last year we assisted three agents who made this rather expensive mistake.
  • You’re not finished after you pass the test. You still must complete the Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA) module and test before you are totally done. You’ll know you’re done when you receive a certificate.

RB Insurance-affiliated agents can call us at (800) 997 3107 or email Tom O’Neil, our Senior Broker Trainer, to discover simple strategies to pass the AHIP with a 90 percent or better score. He’s scored 100 percent three years in a row — we’re ready to make the same happen for you this sales season!

Just the facts, ma’am: Get your free appointment prep sheet

The Sarge’s favorite saying can remind you to ask your prospects detailed questions as you help them find the best senior products to meet their needs. Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Free Appointment Prep Sheet

Sergeant Joe Friday of “Dragnet” fame was probably a little too brusque to succeed as an insurance agent. But the ’60s TV character did make an impact on the popular lexicon with his constant plea for “Just the facts, ma’am.” With this quip, the Sarge would direct a verbose witness to concentrate on the matter at hand.

Perhaps there’s a lesson in this for today’s agents.

Senior insurance is significantly more complex today than it was even seven or eight years ago. Successful agents have learned to navigate regulations pertaining to when, where and how they meet with prospects and still sell at least one product to make them a satisfied new client. Rookies, on the other hand, may get the feeling that grievances, complaints or allegation of misrepresentation are easier to elicit from a prospect than satisfaction with an enrollment after they’ve read through the Medicare Marketing Guidelines for the first time.

The plans agents can sell (after they jump through all of the contracting and certification hoops regulators and the industry have laid out for them) have also changed. Prior to 2007, most Medicare Advantage plans had robust provider directories. It was hard to find a plan that did not have the most popular doctors and hospitals under contract. Today we see more limited networks due to Accountable Care Organizations, reduced reimbursements to plans, quality initiatives and consolidations, which all try to manage program spending.

What you ask or say to your prospect makes all the difference, so make sure you get “just the facts, ma’am.”

When a beneficiary makes contact, most agents take care to fill out a Scope of Appointment form for CMS-regulated products like Medicare Advantage. Most agents usually start to ask their prospect questions after they’ve returned the Scope and proceed to check out every doctor, drug, dentist, etc. that the client wants to keep seeing in order to make a one-stop sale. The whole process becomes frenetic — Miss a provider or drug, and you risk getting an email from your favorite compliance department. Mistakes, omissions or a missed status can ruin your day.

It’s not a CMS violation to collect voluntarily shared, detailed information from a beneficiary prior to that appointment, and you will appear more professional to your prospect if you do so. Download RB Insurance’s Initial Contact Worksheet for free to help you confidently make a sale. From docs to drugs, our worksheet covers all the bases. Don’t forget Special Election Periods, chronic conditions for DSNP plans, possible Medicaid eligibility, LIS status and other determinations.

Use our worksheet or make one for yourself, but be prepared with “just the facts” to increase productivity and professionalism. Always follow CMS rules regarding collection of medication or medical history data from a client. Offer to take down information, but never insist on getting your prospective client’s information.

Click here to download RB Insurance’s free Appointment Prep Sheet to help you prepare for appointments this AEP.