You have your leads in hand and your contracts signed, so you’re ready to sell, right? Well… almost. Did you complete your AHIP certification yet?
Remember, the government administers Medicare Advantage plans — and that means there are rules for selling them. But there’s no need to worry! The required certifications, such as AHIP training, are in place to help protect seniors and reward agents who do things the right way.
For a quick background, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) formed in 2013 when the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) and the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) merged. Now, AHIP represents nearly 1,300 companies that offer health insurance to more than 200 million Americans. As a national trade association in the health insurance industry, AHIP lobbies to create a more affordable health care system through research and policy.
In order to sell Medicare Advantage plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), most insurers require completion of AHIP’s Medicare training courses. Insurers generally require AHIP to assure that agents selling their plans are compliant with the latest CMS guidelines and regulations.
How Do You Get AHIP Certified?
AHIP 2019 certification is now available on the AHIP website and will close June 14. AHIP 2020 certification will be available June 17 at the same link. The certification consists of two courses: Medicare and Fraud, Waste & Abuse (FWA).
The AHIP Medicare training covers the basics of eligibility and benefits, along with the different types of Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. Teaching compliance with the marketing guidelines and proper enrollment procedure is an important part of this course.
FWA training covers industry efforts and tools to detect fraud in the Medicare program. The federal government takes fraud very seriously. This training educates you on the human and financial cost of FWA, as well as the proper reporting techniques.
Most Medicare Advantage insurers require their own product certifications in addition to AHIP. These vary from carrier to carrier and focus on that insurer’s specific plans. Agents can complete these certifications through carriers’ broker portals. You can learn more about your carriers’ product-specific training through Ritter’s Certification Center.
Tips from ABC Medicare on AHIP Training
We didn’t mention it yet, but AHIP isn’t free. Typically, the AHIP certification test costs $175, but many carriers offer a discounted rate of $125 if you take the exam through the carrier portal. Keep checking Ritter’s carrier pages for information on which carriers will offer AHIP discounts.
Finally, there are dozens of self-study AHIP courses, all geared towards educating and improving the quality of agents in the marketplace. There is a time limit on the exam, but if you finish these courses before taking the test, things will be much simpler.
Fulfilling your AHIP certification should never be what holds you back from selling Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans. In fact, completing the AHIP certification is what separates quality agents like you from the others!