Bill Pellegrini

A Career in Medicare Insurance Sales

The US employment outlook for 2021 is not as strong as it has been in years past mostly due to Covid restrictions and business closures resulting in high unemployment.  While we felt the impact of lockdowns in 2020, we can expect even more residual fallout when the PPP loans that kept many small businesses alive last year run out and the extra unemployment from the CARES Act runs out.

Many are already struggling to stay afloat in todays’ society and juggle two or more jobs just to pay the bills.  The impact from Covid is going to hit these groups especially hard in 2021.

Meanwhile there is a booming industry in Medicare Insurance Sales resulting from an aging US population where 10,000 people a day are turning 65.  These people are currently being herded to call centers and online quoting tools, which do not provide local guidance or sophisticated knowledge about the benefits, providers, and plan nuances.

A local insurance agent with a broad portfolio can guide the consumer to a plan that is best suited for their needs. We find consumers enrolled in plans that are not tailored to their situation. We see individuals qualified for Medicare and Medicaid on Medicare Advantage plans that don’t offer all of the benefits the consumer is entitled to. In other scenarios consumers end up speaking with captive agents only offering one insurance carrier. Many times, this is like putting a square peg in a round hole because they don’t have the variety of options to provide the consumer.

A Medicare Insurance Agent is helping solve an immediate and growing need; to guide our aging population to find the best insurance benefits they deserve.  There is a tremendous opportunity for Medicare Insurance agents and the earning potential is literally unlimited, depending of course on the amount of time and effort you want to put into your business.

Those interested in a career in Medicare insurance need to be self-motivated and able to adjust in a fast-paced and dynamic environment. Since there are many different choices and options for policies, potential clients need a Medicare insurance expert to guide them through the process.  This means agents must be knowledgeable about the current plans and educate their clients on the advantages and disadvantages of each of those plans relative to their needs.

Medicare sales is a “feel good” industry because you are helping clients and giving back to your community.  The type of people you work with are usually seniors looking to retire or transition from their private health insurance, family members of seniors looking to learn more about Medicare, employers who want to provide information about Medicare to their employees and community groups that work with seniors.

Becoming a Medicare Insurance agent requires you pass a state insurance exam to obtain a health license to sell insurance, which includes background checks and fingerprinting.  Once you obtain a license, an agent signs on to contract with a Field Marketing Organization (FMO) or a National Marketing Organization / Alliance (NMA) in order to sell Medicare insurance policies from the different carriers.  The carriers then require certification every year.

Agents can earn two types of commissions:  a flat dollar amount per application (MAPD and PDP) or a percentage of the premium sold (Med Supp).

  • Medicare Advantage and Part D plans get a flat dollar amount of money per application. This comes to them in the form of initial commissions and renewal commissions. Carriers pay out initial commissions when an agent makes a new sale or when the beneficiary enrolls in a new, “unlike” plan (different type). Each year and beyond, carriers pay out renewal commissions to the agent if the beneficiary remains enrolled in the plan or enrolls in a new, “like” plan (same type).
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) set the maximum broker commissions for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D annually; however, insurance carriers are not required to pay these amounts. What you earn for Medicare Advantage and PDP sales could be less, depending on the carrier contract.
  • When selling Medicare Supplements, agents earn a percentage of the premiums of the policies they sell. Unlike with Medicare Advantage and Part D, CMS does not set a maximum broker commission for Medicare Supplements. These commissions also vary from carrier to carrier and contract to contract.
  • In 2021, the national maximum broker compensation for MAPDs is $539 for initial salesand $270 for renewals.  The 2021 PDP national maximum broker compensation is $81 for initial sales and $41 for renewals.  (*If you’re selling a Medicare MSA plan, you could get commissions for both plan types, MA and PDP because Medicare MSAs don’t include prescription drug coverage, so you can sell a PDP with those MA plans.)

With high first year commission payouts and annual residuals, there is unlimited income potential for Medicare Insurance agents.  And since Medicare insurance is not very service intensive as most claims are resolved through the carrier, many agents are working part-time to supplement other income.

If you want to get started in the Medicare Insurance business, please reach out and give us a call.  And make sure to check out our Events page for upcoming training opportunities.

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