Medicare certifications are part of getting appointed with a carrier with Medicare-Advantage products. A certification from a particular carrier for a particular plan entitles agents to represent the company by (1) describing the features and benefits of that plan, (2) to assist Medicare beneficiaries in deciding and enrolling in the plan, 3) to offer ongoing service to the beneficiary with respect to the plan, and (4) to receive new, replacement, and renewal compensation for helping the beneficiary.
The initial and annual certifications for Medicare-Advantage plans bother agents to various degrees. Accordingly, agents have come up with many strategies to manage their certifications. Some of strategies that we hear about are:
- Get certified for every MA and PDP plan in your sales area so that you talk about the details of all of them
- Get certified for the top carriers, ones that the agent believes s/he will sell, and any other carriers who are currently paying residuals to the agent
- Get certified only for the top carriers in the market while dropping other carriers
- Get certified for a favorite carrier or two, knowing that you will not sell other carriers
All these approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, especially given that an agent without certification cannot legally describe details like premiums, copays for primary-care visits, and so on. In other words, an agent who is not certified in two plans cannot legally contrast the costs and benefits of the two plans.
The top of the list requires the most effort and time but offers the most selling flexibility. The bottom of the list requires the least effort and time but offers the least selling flexibility.
If you have taken a certification exam once and fear that you will not pass it on your own, we suggest you take screen shots of the troublesome questions during your second time. We can discuss the screen shots with you, and give you are greater sense of confidence that you will get them right when you take the test the third time. We recommend that you talk with us before you take an examination a third and final time; be prepared with questions regarding the areas where you are having difficulty.
If you do not pass the third time, there is little anyone can do to help you, even the carrier cannot waive the three failures. So, call us. Let us help you.
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