When discussing the changes that are happening for 2022 open enrollment for Medicare and other types of health insurance, the interesting thing is that there are adjustments that need to be made by both the advisor and the patient. Some of the changes focus on options that may not be available anymore due to special exceptions that were made during the covid pandemic. Telemedicine is a prime example of this as many patients are not happy that the service will no longer be covered by insurance providers.
While this is a service that will be featured less for the time being, other digital services are taking off including online pharmacies. These e-commerce platforms are making it easier and more affordable for patients to have their medication shipped directly to their home. Anyone who has had to wait in a drive thru line at a pharmacy can tell you the advantages of this change. However, it does show that patients are willing to push their digital capabilities if it leads to convenience and savings.
Inflation has hit everyone hard this year but insurance companies will have to make the most adjustments, especially considering the rise in cost for both labor and materials. The medical field was not immune to the economic hits of 2022 and will have to be prepared for a hectic economic situation in 2023 as well. This will be a primary thing advisors need to focus on during this upcoming open enrollment.
While there may not be much you can do as far as initial plans and options, each patient will be looking for new and creative ways to save. If you can help them with that in some way, you stand a better chance of that client sticking with you. Therefore, you now have your strategy for how to focus the conversation whether it’s a face to face meeting or over the phone.
Major Changes For Open Enrollment 2022
As with every year, there are major changes to the upcoming enrollment. This year however, things will be interesting. Coming out of the coronavirus pandemic has forced new requirements as far as communication with patients, services that can be offered and much more. It’s important that you become aware of these changes, and not just the mandatory ones. For example, there may be changes to how these time period needs to be handled from an advisor standpoint. Rather than trying to schedule one on one meetings with patients, they may prefer over the phone. If that’s the case, you need to be prepared for adjustments like:
- CMS call recording: This will be the most impactful change of open enrollment in 2022 for health insurance advisors. All communication via the phone must be recorded when you are speaking with clients. There are several advantages to this but the key thing to remember is that it must not become an inconvenience for the client.
- Inflation adjustments via providers: The major topic throughout this signing period is going to be inflation. Even though there may not be much you can do about it, inflation will be the topic of conversation from providers and clients alike. Ideally, you need to focus on how both sides need to adjust. Providers are making adjustments by requiring people to sign up or additional services that were once vaguely covered but now need to be paid for separately. This primarily focuses on supplements for Medicare users as some of the care options they were offered under basic coverage will no longer be optional.
- Inflation adjustments via patients: Adjusting to the patients will be even more difficult as they were hit harder by inflation than most. Patients will be venting more than anything but again, this is an opportunity for you to showcase your talents and make a great impression. If you can find ways to get these clients better coverage that helps them save throughout the year, they will be grateful and loyal to you for years.
- Online services: Patients still prefer to do things over the phone than online when it comes to their health coverage. However, one that intial call takes place, the patient usually feels confident to move forward with things via email or online platforms. Because of this, you want to make sure that you are equipped to assist them in both ways and can utilize both communication options to be more efficient.
While this is a crazy and busy time for advisors, clients also have to deal with the hectic time of year. Having to make followup calls, change policies, change options or go over significant changes multiple times can lead to frustration. Focus on streamlining your communication and making it easier for clients to contact you digitally and get immediate and reliable service. It will save you the time of making more calls and allow you to take on more clients as well.
How Advisors Need To Adjust
The one advantage providers and clients share during open enrollment is that they do not have to adapt to the changes. Instead, the advisor has to make the changes and ensure that the quality of their service does not decline. It’s a tough task and something you need to prepare for as soon as possible. For starters, make sure that you become familiar with the CMS call recording system you are using.
This added feature should be easy to use once you get adjusted to it. Most systems require a first step to setup the call and then are pretty straight-forward beyond that. They key thing you will have to learn is how to remember to start the recording and if so, make sure that it is saved to the correct file for you to access in the future.
Possible Changes To Marketing Strategy
If you are considering making changes to your marketing strategy, focus on offering free phone consultations. Clients of all ages have shown a higher interest in health insurance meetings taking place over the phone. Many feel that this saves them commuting time but also allows them to research the information online while discussing matters with their agent.
If you are utilzing the same strategies every year and they seem to work then stick with what makes you happy. However, if you feel that there are certain tweaks that you can make in order to get better quality clients or simply more business, then utilize new strategies and options that are available to you that can also improve the service your clients get.