What to Watch For During AEP 2019

By Dwane McFerrin, Vice President, Medicare Solutions

  • Originally published July 2, 2018 , last updated July 6, 2018
  • Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage
What to Watch For During AEP 2019

The upcoming Annual Election Period (AEP) is about 100 days away. There is much to accomplish to be ready for this busiest time of year. Each year is unique, and now is a great time to get a long view of the potential opportunities that could shape AEP 2019. Here are some items we’re monitoring and acting on at Senior Market Sales.

Major carriers are expanding dramatically the number of counties that they serve around the country.  This means clients who have not had options for Medicare Advantage since the days of Private Fee for Service once again have a choice of HMO and PPO plans. As we’ve seen time and again — where there is change, there is opportunity. Stay on top of all the carrier information and updates.

We will also see a new carrier enter the Medicare Advantage and Part D space for the first time. This is significant.  It’s also impossible not to notice and respond to the continued mergers and integrations across the industry.  

This AEP will be marked by a major disruption happening in Minnesota, as Cost plans are being replaced with traditional Medicare Advantage in most counties.  New plans are being introduced, and non-resident agents from across the country have Minnesota as part of their plan. How can you help affected customers? Having very efficient technology and business operations will be crucial to success.

Next, Dual Special Needs Plans (D-SNP) are an emerging product to consider.  Why? More carriers are offering D-SNP. Perhaps more importantly, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made changes to the enrollment for D-SNP. With this change, serving clients could become more regular or predictable. Unsure of how to get started? Listen to interviews with top producers who have had success with it. You can find those interviews here and here.

Of course, you will notice positive changes at SMS this year too. Anthem will be introduced to the lineup of carriers that SMS supports this coming AEP.  Cigna-HealthSpring will also be offered and supported with technology solutions from Lead Advantage. 

SMS will be unveiling a first-of-its-kind technology tool called RX Import this year. This tool is currently undergoing testing with some of top producers. Watch for more details on this exciting development soon.

There is reason to be excited for this upcoming season for Medicare Advantage. But don’t forget the major progress being made with Medicare Supplement. Sales of this product continue to be very high, with GPM Health & Life being a big winner in 2018. The Mutual of Omaha product has made a tremendous comeback. SMS is planning additional enhancements for this coming fall.