5 Ways to Turn 2022’s AEP Challenges Into 2023’s Opportunities for Greater Success

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is coming up, and you undoubtedly have it highlighted in red and have given it a priority Google calendar alert. From October 15th through December 7th, agents will work overtime juggling incoming and outbound communication while ensuring all marketing efforts are maximized during the critical lead-up weeks.

2022’s registration was particularly challenging, with consumers facing rising health care prices and less disposable income. There aren’t just stricter compliance measures and increased audits on the agency side, but a greater volume of Medicare recipients, including one million more added to the Medicare Advantage program.

While it can seem overwhelming, you can turn challenges into opportunities to create a new business model for 2023’s Medicare AEP. And you don’t need to wait until the Fall to put your plans into action. The sooner you start, the more you’ll reap the benefits.

Medicare AEP Challenges and Opportunities

To turn lemons into lemonade or challenges into opportunities, you must first understand where you’ve been and where you need to go.

Health insurance providers have strict compliance protocols. Outbound calls are subject to regulatory measures like STIR/SHAKEN, TCPA, and the CAN-SPAM act. Additionally, agents are responsible for keeping up with new guidelines, deductibles, and telemedicine options, a seemingly endless list.

New and return Medicare recipients also have more to contend with in recent years. There are higher costs of services, inflation, less disposable income, and telehealth options that aren’t appealing to everyone. These complications prompt many new questions, requiring extensive knowledge and creative problem-solving.

Navigating fresh waters on both the agent and consumer side, combined with 2.3 million more Medicare registrations overall, is daunting, and open enrollment for 2023 is sure to have emerging complications. But that awareness can lead to fruitful proactiveness.

Opportunities for a More Successful AEP

Insurance providers have three consistent objectives regardless of updates or changes to Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans.

  1. Retention
  2. Expansion
  3. Superior Customer Service

All three aren’t just October-to-December undertakings. They benefit from year-round preparation and implementation. So, we’ll provide you with five action-oriented tips for achieving them, leading to the most successful Medicare Annual Enrollment Period your agency has experienced to date.

Actionable Steps for a More Successful 2023 Open Enrollment

Opportunities for insurance agents to enroll, renew, and upgrade plans are time constrained to the October through December timeframe.

However, there are things you can do right now for smooth sailing through the vital Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. By implementing and maintaining these practices, you’ll see measured improvement in several areas, including agent success and satisfaction.

1.  Avoid Procrastination with Certifications and Continuing Education

Agents should be encouraged to jump on educational opportunities, workshops, certifications, etc., to stay on top of industry changes throughout the year. Cutting it too close to go-time will only add to the season’s stress.

2.  Embrace Social Media and Content Marketing

Successful lead generation programs require patience and longevity. Waiting until October 1st to get your agency’s name out there isn’t nearly as effective as a year-round strategy. With consistency, social media and blog posts effectively capture information from potential customers and cost nothing but time.

3.  Nurture Relationships

Did you know that the number one reason clients leave insurance agents is the lack of consistent and beneficial communication?

We might be in a world where most information is available at our fingertips, but people feel valued when a company is proactive with a personal touch. Establishing a practice of sharing information with helpful Medicare tips and program changes will go a long way toward securing and retaining clients. You could also implement a countdown to the AEP clock along with tips to make the most of open enrollment.

TCN recently conducted a customer service survey which revealed that the majority of people prefer to speak with a live person. So, a regular call rotation will foster relationships with clients and potential clients. It will also reduce call volume and duration at the end of the year.

4.  Maintain Up-to-Date Scripts and Information Access

The Medicare program is constantly evolving. Therefore, it’s imperative to stay on top of current plans and pending changes with updated scripts and easily accessible information.

If you’re working with a manual system, you’ll need continuous upkeep, which is time-consuming. But there’s an easier and more effective way, and that’s with an AI-powered system like Balto’s. It eliminates the need for stacks of paperwork or online research by starting with custom talk tracks that best practices will automatically enhance.

5.  Coach in Real-Time

Thorough training and preparation are always helpful, regardless of the organization. However, in an evolving industry like healthcare, with so many intricacies, it’s vital to have real-time prompting and coaching. It’s nearly impossible to memorize everything today’s Medicare recipients want or need to know and provide 100% accurate responses on the spot.

But, again, this is where AI technology comes into play. Balto’s Real Time Coaching is a coach, information system, and compliance monitor that supports agents and significantly reduces call escalations. Everything they need pops up on their screen and managers can easily pop in to lend a hand in make-or-break moments on the call.

Benefits of Adopting AI Technology for Insurance and Healthcare Industries

The TCN survey that revealed most people prefer live agents for customer service issues also uncovered that six minutes is about the maximum that people are willing to wait on hold. If agents are stretched to the limit and can’t handle the call volume that goes with millions of new annual Medicare recipients, customer service and the client base diminishes.

But health insurance companies who implement AI technology like Real-Time Guidance are seeing immediate benefits.

  • Reduced hold time
  • Shorter calls
  • Fewer escalations
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Excellent customer satisfaction ratings
  • Updatable scripts
  • Bulletproof compliance

AI-Powered Services

The Real-Time platform supports and enhances agent performance and provides instant data for quality assurance. An AI-powered system like Balto’s benefits customers, agents, and the agency.

Real-Time Guidance provides the following for agents:

Dynamic Prompts – answers to complex questions without stopping to research, which improves agent credibility and keeps customers satisfied

Smart Checklists – guidance for agents through the call progression, leading to fewer mistakes and higher close rate

Recognition – successful calls prompt on-screen confetti fireworks, and leaderboards for rewards and incentives

Managerial Benefits

All calls are virtually monitored and evaluated for supervisors. So, they’re only alerted to coaching moments or infrequent escalations. With Balto’s QA dashboard, they can see how the entire team is doing at any moment.

Get a Jump on Open Enrollment

Preparing for Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period can be overwhelming. However, by following these tips and using our technology, you can make the process easier for yourself and your customers and see immediate and proven results.

If you’re ready to start, schedule a demo with Balto today. We’d love to show you how our products can help streamline the process for you and your clients.

Have the Best Open Enrollment Season Ever With Balto