Top 12 Tips for Insurance Agents During OEP



January 2023’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP) had over 16 million people sign up for health insurance coverage. Those numbers could be on the rise going into the next OEP, making it imperative for the growth of your business to prepare with the right resources and tools.

Not only does this period present excellent opportunities to gain new business, but it also gives you the chance to cultivate great relationships with existing clients.


So, ready to dive into everything you need to know about Open Enrollment Period? Let’s begin!


What Is OEP and Why Is It Important?


Open Enrollment Period, or OEP, is the annual window of time when people can sign up for, change, or unenroll in health insurance plans.


OEP historically happens from November 1 to January 15 each year. Those that enroll in health coverage on or before December 15 will get coverage starting on January 1. Those that enroll on January 15, the final day of OEP, will receive coverage starting on February 1.


Understanding the ins and outs of OEP is vital for brokers and agents to thrive during this period. Here’s a statistic for why you must understand OEP and prioritize sales during this period: over 3.7 million people across the United States signed up for Health Insurance Marketplace® coverage during 2023’s OEP, which is a 21% increase from 2022’s OEP.


Here are our top 12 tips for finding success during OEP.

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Chapter 1

Understand Eligibility

While eligibility for different health insurance policies can have differing requirements, to enroll in the Marketplace, clients must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must live in the United States
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or national (or be lawfully present)
  • Can't be incarcerated

If a client is seeking Medicare specifically but is under the age of 65, those with the following are generally eligible:

  • Those with a disability, End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant), or ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Be a U.S. resident

  • Be either a U.S. citizen

  • Be an alien who has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and has been residing in the United States for 5 continuous years before the month of filing an application for Medicare

Additionally, Medicare is made up of two main parts:

  • Part A, which covers inpatient hospital insurance
  • Part B, which covers outpatient medical care

It also includes the following two parts:

  • Part C, which consists of Medicare-approved commercial insurance (such as Medicare Advantage plans)
  • Prescription drug coverage under Part D

Furthermore, people have the option to purchase a Medigap insurance coverage, which can help cover some of the deductible and coinsurance costs that a Medicare patient may experience.


Chapter 2

Acquire Certifications for OEP

To help you prepare for OEP, it’s important to understand industry certifications and acquire the ones that will help you sell insurance.



The AHIP (America's Health Insurance Plans) certification is often required by most carriers if you wish to sell health insurance, including Medicare Advantage (MA) and Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs). The AHIP certification is typically a precondition for other additional, specific certifications from carriers as well. Though not always required, the AHIP certification will ensure you don’t face additional obstacles when trying to sell health insurance.


Helpful Certifications


Some helpful, though not required, certifications for agents during OEP are Certified Health Insurance Specialist (CHIS) and Certified Health Insurance Consultant (CHIC). 


CHIC: Nonrequired certificate that highlights an individual’s exceptional ability to offer health insurance advice, guidance, and compare plans.


CHIS: Nonrequired certification that proves one’s unique professional ability to sell health insurance.


Chapter 3

Examine Additional Enrollment and Coverage Types

Special Enrollment Period


Outside OEP, clients may still enroll in a health insurance plan called the Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

If clients have experienced life-altering events, they may be eligible for health insurance during SEP. Some life-changing events that may grant clients eligibility are:

  • Divorce or marriage
  • Recently had children
  • Lost previous health insurance
  • Residential changes, such as zip code or country
  • An employer offered coverage

Coverage Types To Understand


Health Maintenance Organization Plan (HMO): An HMO plan is based on a network of medical facilities, practitioners, and other service providers that consent to coordinate care within the network in exchange for a set rate of compensation.


These plans can give clients more access to primary physicians and may also provide them with lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs.


Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): A PPO plan is made to provide clients with more freedom in selecting the medical professionals they consult. 


Staying in-network is usually cheaper for medical care. However, if clients have a preferred doctor, a PPO plan can make it simpler for clients to visit them.


Additional coverages: Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plans, Medigap, dental, and vision are all additional coverage types we recommend you dig deeper into, especially as we head into the next OEP.


Chapter 4

Know ACA and Medicare Enrollment Eligibility

Two aspects of health insurance to examine closely are the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicare. These have different OEPs within them, however, it’s still vital to understand these two types of coverage since they are very common.

CMS Guideline Changes for 2024


The latest Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) modifications to OEP are the adjustments to the Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  Before heading into the next Open Enrollment Period, ensure you refresh on these acts. You can look at the updates in greater detail here for both.


Chapter 5

Follow the Latest Marketing & Sales Guidelines

Before you market during OEP, it’s crucial to understand a couple of guidelines first. According to the CMS, marketing during OEP must follow all rules of CMS communications unless stated otherwise.

Communications items must adhere to both intent and content standards to be deemed marketing. The audience, timing, and other context of the activity or material, as well as any information transmitted by the activity or material, will all be taken into account by CMS when assessing the intent of an activity or piece of content. The following will be examined closely:


Intent: Any materials or actions, as determined by CMS, are intended to: attract a beneficiary's attention to a plan or plans, influence a beneficiary's decision-making process when selecting a plan, or influence a beneficiary's decision to remain enrolled in a plan (retention-based marketing).


Content: Must include or address content pertaining to the following: the plan's benefits, benefits structure, premiums, or cost-sharing.


Chapter 6

Create Lead-Conversion Opportunities

Optimize Your Website


While having online enrollment options on your website is a great starting point for generating more lead conversions, it’s also essential to adapt your website to the needs of clients.

For example, multiple generations shop for insurance online, making it essential to create a mobile-friendly website. If mobile visitors discover that your site takes a long time to load and doesn't display properly on their phones, they are likely to turn elsewhere for solutions to their insurance issues.


You can also focus on creating enjoyability for the user on your website, also known as user experience (UX). One way you can do this is to create a website that has consistent, organized branding across each page. Additionally, ensure your website is easy to navigate and locate information and resources.


A page with consistent branding and great UX design can directly impact how you rank on search engines and how your website reaches the millions of Americans looking for health insurance.


Practice SEO Basics


Your website is not just a tool to provide users with a great experience. It can also help attract more visitors to your business through search engines.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a way to boost your lead-conversion opportunities and set your business up for success in the long term.


Here are some SEO basics to help you begin revamping your website:

Some additional helpful resources you can use to help you achieve these SEO basics are:

These resources provide various SEO tools, ranging from keyword research dashboards and tools to social media scoring metrics so you can customize your marketing based on helpful data. An additional benefit? You can use a lot of these together to sculpt your website to fit your exact needs.


Chapter 7

Review Your Email Marketing Strategy

Crafting an excellent email marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight, though we wish that were true. However, creating an email strategy that will yield the most lead conversions is also not rocket science. 

To optimize your email marketing strategy for selling health insurance, consider the following tips:

  • Know your audience, both existing clients and leads
  • Provide value in your emails, such as education or resources
  • Don’t be spammy or general; take a personalized approach
  • Send promotional and follow-up emails
  • Give your clients the ability to enroll online
  • Perfect your subject lines

A few additional resources to help you optimize your email marketing are:

Chapter 8

Explore All Opportunities

Opportunities are out there. You just need the right resources and tools to help you find them!

A customer relationship management (CRM) system built for insurance can boost your opportunities and help you find them by refining every aspect of your insurance marketing. 


CRM systems designed to help sell insurance streamline the quoting and enrollment process by automating time-consuming tasks and evaluating sales. This makes it much easier to pinpoint trends, market to the right leads, and make accurate forecasts when selling insurance. During the chaos of OEP, the right CRM can prove to be invaluable to your business.


Chapter 9

Utilize Cross-selling and Upselling



Cross-selling is the practice of promoting the purchase of any item in addition to the main offering.


How does this apply to selling insurance during OEP, you ask? Well, for starters, if a client already has health insurance or is seeking health insurance and know what coverage they need in the short term, you can cross-sell additional coverage, such as dental, vision, or medical coverage.




Instead of offering additional coverage or products that go hand-in-hand with what the client is already purchasing, upselling differs from cross-selling by offering direct upgrades to their purchase.


For instance, perhaps there is a better plan that is also better for your business available for you to sell to your client; a plan that has the necessary coverage the client needs while also giving you more bang for your buck. An upgraded health insurance plan is an example this.


Tips for Cross-selling and Upselling


So now that you understand what cross-selling and upselling are, you’re ready to begin implementing them into your marketing efforts. Keep in mind the following tips before you start throwing coverages or additional products left and right. 

  • Don’t be too pushy and try to force cross-selling or upselling
  • Don’t offer your clients plans that only serve to make you more money and do not meet their needs
  • Do provide concrete proof for why upgrading or building around a certain plan is worthwhile for the client


Referrals can also serve as a great method for cross-selling and upselling.


For example, you can ask your current clients if they are happy with their business with you and if they’d be willing to offer a review or a referral after their purchase. The key here is to offer it as a service, not attempt to bribe or entice the client with a quid pro quo.


Ultimately, there is a lot that goes into cross-selling and upselling, but you can learn the best practices and techniques to maximize your enrollments with this guide written by experts (spoiler alert: we’re the team of experts!).


Chapter 10

Create Personalized Experiences

Naturally, personalization begins with addressing customers by name and treating them like the special individuals they are rather than as generic accounts. 

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg for personalizing each client’s experience. The process involves anticipating your clients’ wants and giving them the option to personalize their experiences themselves. After all, who knows clients better themselves?

Additionally, you can discover which communication channel particular clients favor while speaking with you. Some, for example, prefer speaking over the phone. Others prefer a different channel.


In those cases, it can also help to have a guide specifically for each communication channel. As for our selling health insurance over the phone, we’ve got a guide just for you!


Chapter 11

Educate Your Clients

Educating your clients is an integral part of selling insurance during OEP.

On your end, ensure you are aware of the following:

  • Changes in laws, plans, and healthcare
  • How to communicate with your clientele ahead of time
  • How you plan to offer ancillary services
  • How to use the latest technology to expedite the quote and enrollment process

As for your clients, ensure you can educate them on the following:

  • What coverage options are available
  • What benefits come with coverage
  • What changes have been made to current or new plans
  • What coverage options work best for their financial circumstances
  • How different policies can help them
  • Why they should get health insurance in the first place

Chapter 12

Provide Support and Assistance Whenever Needed

Ensure you have an internal communication strategy designed to give clients what they want, when they want it. 

Utilizing an advanced CRM can help you coordinate communication so you don’t lose out on any business during OEP.

Maximizing Efficiency With an Online Tool


If you find that your current technology is just not cutting it for helping you during the quoting and enrollment process, it may be time to look for a different system.

When looking for a CRM system, keep an eye out for the following features:

  • Ability to personalize emails and messages
  • Insightful reporting on your client base
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Customizable reports and properties to meet your exact needs
  • Ability to  track carrier and client updates
  • Adherence to the latest guidelines and rules for web brokers and Medicare marketing



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Continue Growing Your Business Even After OEP


Even when Open Enrollment Period is over, you can still find ways to grow and expand your business. In fact, preparing for and succeeding during OEP is just one step in maximizing your client base.


It’s just as crucial to analyze your past and current goals, set the right ones, and exceed those goals so you can continuously improve. If you’re looking for a resource to help you with all your goal-setting needs, we’ve got you covered!


Check out our Goal Setting Templates for OEP built by experts who understand exactly what you need to succeed in 2023 and beyond.


Download the Goal Setting Templates Now!