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Top 10 App Mishaps and How to Avoid Them

top 10 app mishaps and how to avoid them

Ah yes, the application; a vital part of our business and one of the few tangible items that link us to our clients.  Being an independent agent, you deal with multiple carriers that have multiple applications that need to be sent to multiple addresses, fax numbers, etc.  You can see where I’m going with this.

At JSA we’re proud to have our own in-house New Business Department to help you cut through this confusion and make submitting your applications a breeze.  Our team combs through hundreds of applications each day to check for accuracy, completeness, and legibility.  Here are the top 10 reasons applications are pended and how to avoid them.

10. Missing client’s phone number. This one’s easy. Treat your applications like a rolodex for your clients, where all of their contact information should be taken from your enrollments.  Each time your client completes an app, take a quick glance and ask yourself “If I needed to get in touch with my client tomorrow morning, do I have all of the contact information to do so?”

9. Missing client’s date of birth. Your client’s personal information is almost always on the first page of the application. Before sending that application in, make sure to browse the first page for completeness, especially their date of birth.

8. Multiple plans selected. A good rule of thumb when completing the plan selection portion of any application (if applicable) is to verify with the client that the plan selected is the one in which he/she wants to enroll. This will force you to focus on this section of the application where you can make sure that only one option is chosen.

7. Open Enrollment/Guarantee Issue questions not answered. For Medicare Supplement applications, the questions relating to whether or not your client is in a guarantee issue or open enrollment situation must always be answered, even if your client is going through the underwriting process.

6. Missing agent signature. Once again, the application is one of the only tangible items that tie you to your clients, so it’s important that both you and the client sign the application. Your signature is generally included in the last few pages of the app.

5. Missing client signature. It’s no surprise this comes in right after #6. An application simply cannot be processed unless the client signs the app.

4. Missing replacement form. Any time your client is going from some form of coverage (whether it be a Medicare supplement, Medicare Advantage, individual or group coverage, etc.) to a Medicare Supplement plan the replacement form must always be completed. Some carriers include this as part of the application itself, while others will have this separated.  If you’re not sure whether or not your client should complete the replacement form, we suggest erring on the side of caution and filling one out.  Even if it isn’t required, submitting one with the app will not affect your client’s enrollment.

3. Missing pages. Applications can be mailed, faxed or uploaded through our secure online portal to JSA for processing. Whenever you send an application please confirm that all pages are included.  For mailed apps, make sure all pages of the app are included in the envelope or give us a call to verify what is required.  For faxed applications, set up your fax machine to always print out a confirmation page that shows whether or not it was received OK, and to verify how many pages went through. If in doubt, see a professional like Document Pros of Buckhead. For uploaded applications, verify the scanned image of the app prior to sending through our site to check for completeness.  Check and double check if you have to.

2. No plan selected. Many applications will allow your client to choose from numerous plan choices, but sometimes we forget to mark anything at all. Use the tip from #8 – as part of the application process always go back over the plan selection to verify with your client directly that the plan chosen is the one you discussed and quoted.

1. Member does not qualify for IEP (for MAPD and PDP). It’s odd that this specific issue would be at the top of our list, but it’s the most common application issue we see. This comes up when your clients continue to work past age 65 and are covered on some sort of union or employer group coverage and delay enrolling into their Part B.  When the client retires or loses coverage, whichever happens first, they are eligible to sign up for Part B for up to 8 months after the fact.

If your client is interested in signing up for a stand-alone Part D plan this will almost always be a SEP – Loss of Group Coverage situation, as their IEP ended 3 months after their Part A went into effect back when they turned 65.  It can also be SEP – Involuntary Loss of Creditable Coverage, but only in situations where they lose their plan by no fault of their own.

If they decide to go with a Medicare Advantage plan, the only effective date they can have is the day their Part B goes into effect if using the ICEP election period.  This means the application would need to be signed and submitted within the 3 months prior to the client gaining their Part B coverage.  If you’re submitting the application after their Part B goes into effect, this would require a Special Election Period, usually the SEP – Loss of Group Coverage.

We’re here for you.

We all make mistakes, it’s human nature, but rest assured that our JSA New Business team is here to help with any and all questions you may have in regards to your applications.  You can also check the status of your enrollments on the JSA Agent Resource Center live or sign up for our enrollment update emails.  Whether you’re mailing them up to our home office in Green Bay, WI, faxing them to our toll free 877-545-2070 number, or uploading them on the JSA Agent Resource Center, each of your enrollments will receive the same expert level of attention and service you’ve come to expect from JSA.

Chris Hagerstrom

Chris Hagerstrom is the Director of New Business Development at Jack Schroeder and Associates, Inc. Through years of experience he has become an expert with Medicare, Life Insurance, Annuities and Supplemental Health and how to successfully navigate the senior market.