How to get started selling Medicare as an independent insurance agent: A Comprehensive Guide
So you're interested in getting your insurance license but not sure where to start? With more than 10,000 seniors turning 65 in the United States every day - the Medicare insurance industry is poised for continued growth and opportunity! However, getting started can be confusing and by ensuring that you follow certain steps in order, you can reduce your downtime while setting yourself up for success.
1. Obtain your Resident Insurance License
Your insurance license will be based on the State that you live in (your resident state). Each state has a different process for obtaining and applying for a license. Similarly, many states refer to these licenses by different names.
Generally, you will want to obtain a Health license. These are sometimes bundled as a Health & Life license. For example, if you are a Florida resident your options are a 02-15 Resident Health & Life (Including Annuities & Variable Contracts) or 02-40 Resident Health.
To obtain your resident license, you will need to follow these steps:
Navigate to your State Department of Insurance website to review your license options and requirements (links are included below)
Complete any pre-licensing courses
Register for and complete your exam
Once your resident license has issued, you are ready to obtain your non-resident licenses.
2. Apply for your National Producer Number (NPN)
As a licensed agent, you will have a unique identifier associated with your individual licensure called a National Producer Number (NPN).
If you are also an agency owner, you will also have an NPN associated with your agency as a corporate entity.
You can apply for your NPN by creating an account through NIPR at NIPR: https://nipr.com/.
3. Apply for Non-Resident Licensure: NIPR & Sircon
Now that your resident license and NPN have issued, you can apply for and obtain non-resident licenses in other states that you plan to sell in. Fortunately, the process is much simpler for non-resident licenses. You will not need to take a new exam for each additional non-resident state as these are all based on your resident license remaining active. It is important that you always keep your resident license active and in good-standing (remember to complete your continuing education credits!).
To obtain your non-resident licenses, you can apply and renew using national clearinghouses - NIPR and Sircon.
NIPR (National Insurance Producer Registry) and Sircon offer streamlined solutions to apply for and renew your licenses.
You can create an account and register using their websites at:
4. Complete AHIP Training
AHIP training is an annual training that covers Medicare basics related to Medicare Advantage (MAPD) and Prescription Drug (Part D) plans and Medicare Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (CMS required trainings).
You can create an account and complete your training modules online at https://www.ahipmedicaretraining.com/page/login. Please contact us for a discount code prior to registering!
All agents must complete annual AHIP training.
Founded in 2013, AHIP stands for America's Health Insurance Plans and represents more than 31 member organizations. As a national trade organization, they provide comprehensive training solutions related to professional development and required trainings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid.
5. Carrier Contracting
You are now ready to be contracted with the various insurance carriers and organizations whose products you plan to sell! This is an important step and will require you to sign contracts with one or more FMOs. If this is your first time reviewing contracts, you should carefully review our contracting and release guide here.
It is important to carefully review your contracting to verify your commission level, payment timelines and other conditions. Once you are contracted through an intermediary (i.e. an FMO), to a carrier, you need to obtain a release before you can switch to another FMO.
6. Complete Carrier-Specific Training
Every year, insurance agents selling Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug (Part D) plans are required to certify with every carrier whose products they will represent and sell.
Each carrier will require you to complete the CMS-required FWA (Fraud, Waste & Abuse) training. However, you already completed these through NIPR. Your test results will be transmitted to each carrier so you can skip these training modules!
7. Verify your Ready-to-Sell Status
Once your contracts have been approved and your carrier trainings have been completed and verified, you will obtain a status called 'ready-to-sell' (RTS).
Your RTS status is State and carrier specific. This means that you will have a RTS check for every carrier in each state that you are contracted.
Important: You must have a valid RTS status to sell and write for a plan.
8. Obtain Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance
Before you begin your marketing and sales operations, you must apply for and obtain errors & omissions (E&O) insurance.
9. Complete Sales Training
You are now ready to sell! Executive FMO proudly offers all new agents a full suite of video training and sales process guides to help you launch your production.
Are you ready to kick start your Medicare insurance career? Contact us to get started today!