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AEP 2021 Progress Report

AEP 2021 Progress Report

AEP: What We’ve Seen So Far

We’re a couple of weeks into AEP now, and – as expected – this year has been shaping up a bit differently. Not only has the pandemic brought about some changes, but there have been other challenges, as well.

For starters, if your AEP has seemed a little slower than this year, you aren’t alone. Agents tell us they can only arrange in-home meetings with leads about 50% of the time. That’s a higher number than we expected, but lack of face-to-face time is still challenging for some agents. Many are leaning on remote sales tools to keep their business moving.

Other agents point to television ads that have been confusing both prospects and current clients. Beneficiaries are bombarded with ads, phone calls, and mail making unrealistic promises. While there’s no magic cure for this issue yet, healthy communication can help you set yourself apart from the impersonal noise clients are getting from other sources. Brush up on your client retention skills and make it clear to prospects that you, unlike a stranger in a call center, will always be available and keep their best interest in mind.

Agents are also predicting a “mid-to-late-season rush” based on the current state of their appointment books. Some attribute this to political caution. Clients are choosing to defer their enrollment decision until after the upcoming election. If you run into this objection, you can reassure your clients that changes like they may be anticipating don’t happen quickly and that any Medicare coverage they sign up for now will remain in place for the coming year regardless of what happens in November.

Compounding all of this, agents are still dealing with the well-publicized issues regarding Medicare.gov and misquoted drug prices. We’re advising agents to print a copy of any drug prices they’re quoting and keep it in the client’s file. Some agents are avoiding this issue by using tools like NCC’s Enrollment Central, which pulls prices directly from the carrier to ensure accuracy.

With these new challenges, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t offer ancillaries. Earning an extra $250 in 15 minutes can help fill in gaps left by a slower-than-usual AEP.

Finding Success in a Different Kind of AEP

 We asked some agents for their best tips for navigating this unusual AEP. Here’s what they told us:

“Keep doing the things that have worked in the past and improve and adapt to the changing market that is before us. For example, stay in contact with clients by offering them reviews or service as they are needed from time to time, or just check up on them occasionally. That will make you their trusted insurance agent and not just a person whom they rarely hear from. I have always been a proponent of becoming friends as well as the person they come to for insurance questions. With all the deceptive telemarketing, staying in contact has never been so important!”

“Knowing the plans this year is really important. For example, knowing which plans participate in the Insulin Savings Program, as well as which of your members qualify for the LIS plans available . . . Secondly, I really enjoy the Enrollment Central platform. Others need to get on board with this. I do everything from there so far.”

Let Us Help!

If the changes to AEP this year are impacting your business, we can help. It’s not too late for us to assist you with leads for this AEP, and we may even be able to help with selected contracts. While we can’t promise we’ll be able to push things through at this late date, we’ll use every resource at our disposal to keep you selling.

Call an NCC Marketing Specialist today at 800-695-0280. Our team is standing by to ensure you have all the tools you need to meet your financial goals this AEP.

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