Medicare enrollment and marketing may be divided into several calendar periods throughout the year (open enrollment, annual election, etc.), but there is a tremendous opportunity year-round for licensed life and health agents who are selling or looking to sell Medicare products to first-time enrollees. This period is called the initial coverage election period (ICEP), and it takes place when a senior is first eligible to sign up for Medicare – beginning the three months before and ending the three months after a senior turns 65. Some companies will even allow an agent to take a Medicare supplement application for someone turning 65 as far as six months in advance of their Medicare effective date.
Every day, more than 6,000 people turn 65 in the U.S. – that’s more than 180,000 people every month. These numbers are expected to grow to more than 10,000 a day and 300,000 a month as the baby boomers continue to age over the next few years.
As you are working with seniors who are turning 65, consider implementing a few of the following tips to make this process as simple and beneficial as possible for both you and the client.
Because the ICEP only applies to those who are turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare for the first time, agents need to find a way to track down and target these prospects.
There are different vendors and lead sources that collect age data, and by either working with those vendors directly or brokering through a BGA, you can locate new beneficiaries. Most vendors allow agents to customize the lists based on criteria such as dates and ZIP codes. Many brokerage agencies will compile the lists for free for producers who are working with them, but vendors usually charge $100 to $125 per thousand names.
Once the prospects are found, you have several options for contacting the potential clients. You can use direct mail (the vendors who offer the names will be able to provide addresses, as well), but any material dealing with Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D must be approved by CMS. Another approach is to hold a seminar. Although this is a more costly method, it can be an excellent opportunity to meet new beneficiaries face-to-face. Again, keep in mind that any marketing material or seminar invitations dealing with Medicare Advantage or Part D must be CMS-approved before dissemination.