It should come as no surprise that a report this past week showed that field agents and retention are crucial to cultivating a successful Medicare business. More than ever before, it is vital for agents to put retention practices into place in order to develop relationships with their clients and make sure their clients are satisfied with their Medicare plans.
Growth for Large National Companies
AEP enrollment for Medicare Advantage 2024 was up by 6%. The most growth happened within the largest national companies, with a small amount within the medium size companies and some startups. Small companies clearly struggled and saw a decline in overall numbers, meaning they were not able to retain their current members. While local plans with higher star ratings were able to compete with supplemental benefits offered by larger companies, those without the added resources struggle to compete.
Read More: What’s New for Medicare 2023?
The Importance of Understanding Plan Options
Several states showed an increase in enrollments into low-premium PPO plans while showing a decrease in PDP plans, indicating moves from a Medigap plan to an Advantage Plan. This change is two-fold: 1) high Medigap premiums, and 2) high costs associated with stand-alone prescription drug plans. For some, this may be a better option, but for others, it can be a huge mistake. Medicare beneficiaries see commercials about $0 premiums and other perks, such as dental and vision. These benefits may sound very exciting and seem like an amazing deal, prompting them to call the number on the TV. However, if agents are meeting with their clients regularly and making sure they fully understand their plans and choices, agents are far more likely to retain the client and keep them from calling the numbers advertised on TV or on mailers.
The Rise of Field Agents
The report also showed a rise in the number of field agents and revealed it’s becoming the preferred channel for enrollment. Field agents have proven to perform better than their unpopular telesales counterparts. Carriers and distribution partners are continuing to develop innovative ways to align Medicare beneficiaries with their plans while considering the data that shows more persistence with enrollments done with the assistance of a field agent.
Tips for Boosting Client Retention
Here are some ideas for increasing your client retention:
- Take your time with clients when they first go on Medicare. Use our Medicare Client Discovery Form to assist them with their search of doctors, pharmacies, and prescription drugs, and help them find a plan that best fits their needs.
- Offer other lines of insurance such as dental, international travel health insurance, life, final expense insurance, and Long-Term Care Insurance. Make sure to do an inventory of the client’s current plans and solutions at their initial meeting and set up meetings to discuss areas that might be of concern. (If you do not offer other product lines, find a partner who can cover these needs.)
- Take time to make sure your client understands all their benefits. For example, you may want to create campaigns to remind them of their over-the-counter benefits, wellness benefits, and dental benefits and how to access them (if applicable).
- Stay in contact. Keeping in touch with clients is vital, especially those who are new to working with you or new to their Medicare plan. Be sure to check in with them several times in the first three months of business.
- Hold customer appreciation events throughout the year. Ask your clients to bring a friend. In addition to connecting or re-connecting with clients, this is a great opportunity to earn new referrals.
- Provide good customer service. Always take the time to help potential and current clients with their questions and concerns.
- Send birthday cards or notes on clients’ special days. This shows them you are thinking about them and that you care about more than just having their business.