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.