Modern day Medicare Field Marketing Organizations (Medicare FMOs) often walk a tightrope – working hard to simultaneously keep their carriers and agents happy. In order to stay competitive, its essential that every opportunity for modernization is embraced – digital transformation, and specifically, digital distribution, have an important role to play here.

In this article, we’ll explore the contribution and opportunity of digital distribution as a competitive advantage for Medicare FMOs.


What Is Meant By Digital Distribution in Insurance?

Digital distribution is the process of assets being digitally transferred – usually via the internet. In the context of the Medicare industry, digital distribution is having a transformative effect, diversifying the way in which plans are being sold and serviced. This is marked by a move away from traditional physical channels, towards more user-friendly and efficient digital ones.

Digital distribution represents a fairly radical shift within the insurance industry, as traditionally, the sector has been slow to adopt and adapt to new digital methods and channels. With the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic forcing incumbents to catch up with other industries, today, many more are embracing the opportunities and advantages that digital distribution offers.

For many, the move to digital distribution is a necessary one. Clients and prospects will no longer tolerate lengthy waiting periods, delays in paperwork or being kept on hold. Expectations, forged during interaction with other more progressive industries, have evolved. As a result, FMOs should embrace the shift towards digital distribution for the opportunities that it holds.


What Are The Core Advantages Of Digital Distribution For Medicare FMOs?

Digital distribution holds a number of exciting opportunities for Medicare FMOs in the modern insurance industry. The main opportunities include:


Being able to meet evolving customer experience expectations.
Digital distribution has influenced customer expectations – expedited workflows, instant support messaging and digital signing are all tools your agents should have access to.

A more personalized offering and service.
Through the collection and application of data, coupled with the ability to distribute assets digitally, it is much easier to customize and tailor-make Medicare offers to specific needs of clients.

Sharper messaging.
As an extension to the data opportunities available through digital channels, digital distribution also allows for greater segmentation and therefore increased ability to personalize communications according to behavioral insights gathered.

Slicker point-of-sale experience.
The ability to design e-proposals, e-renewals and e-submissions means that Medicare FMOs have the ability to create sleek experiences that elevate their brands through refined visual identities.

Increased opportunities for upsell and cross sell.
Artificial Intelligence incorporated into digital distribution platforms enables ‘next-best’ action recommendations for agents, thereby giving them greater capability to upsell and cross sell products and product combinations.

Reduced turnaround time via streamlined processing.
Digital processes allow for the removal of inefficiencies in the system and result in reduced turnaround times and streamlined processes.


What Are The Potential Pitfalls Within Digital Distribution For Insurance FMOs?

While digital distribution and its adoption into business processes hold a number of advantages and opportunities for Medicare FMOs, it is also important to understand that there are potential issues to mitigate.


The main pitfalls to look out for include:

Poor adoption and underutilization.
Implementation is vital to the adoption and utilization of any digital platform. If this phase is not carefully considered, it may result in poor adoption by agents and an asset that underperforms.

Increased training burden.
Creating understanding as to how your new platform works is vital to adoption. There will be a greater training burden associated with getting up and running, but put measures in place to ensure this can be maintained effectively over time.

Agent resistance.
Some more traditionally leaning agents may resist the adoption of digital technology. Go into the change expecting this and approach the matter pragmatically.

Attrition of agents.
As some resistance to change is inevitable, there may be some attrition of agents from the FMO as a direct result. This is usually associated with a lack of experience and confidence in digital technologies, and can be mitigated through empathetic implementation practices.


5 Best Practice Tips For FMOs Looking To Embrace Digital Distribution

1. Focus on the experience.
Ensure that the customer-facing experience is designed from every angle. Build strategies and define what each claim or renewal experience will look and feel like. The ability to control the experience is in your hands, so be sure to maximize it to its full potential.

2. Make use of data.
Digital distribution unlocks so much potential in terms of accessing detailed behavioral information at scale, and this data is the key to unleashing new levels of service and satisfaction for your organization.

3. Don’t underestimate the importance of adoption.
Be careful not to assume that all your agents will take to the platform instantly. Design a strategy that will help you ensure the very best adoption and success rates.

4. Listen to your agents.
Your agents are your eyes and ears in the marketplace. They will come to understand the opportunities and short falls of this sales method better than anyone else, and are therefore the key to optimizing the platform to become the best possible version. Be sure to listen to their feedback, both positive and negative.

5. Remain mindful of compliance.
Compliance is an essential aspect to quality insurance services in the market. Be sure to work with a platform that places compliance at the heart of its value proposition.


Digital Distribution – Your Pathway To Increased Medicare Sales?

For Medicare FMOS, digital distribution is an essential component of staying relevant and competitive in the ever-evolving world of Medicare sales. The question is no longer should you make the shift, but rather how quickly can you move to secure the long-term future of the organization?

Digital distribution should form part of a wider digital transformation strategy – embracing the opportunity that automation represents for ROI and improved operational efficiency. Commissionly offers a dedicated and intelligent solution for streaming lining Medicare commission payments, removing the admin associated with ensuring payments are accurate and on time.

By building out a modern, digitally transformed operation, you’ll be able to attract the right type of agent – keen to work with a digital-first, progressive FMO which invests in their ability to make more sales.

Whether you’re part of a Medicare FMO, or an independent agent, one thing is certain – the only dependable constant within our industry is change. This is especially true when it comes to legislation, and in the wake of the global pandemic, this factor has increasingly been thrown into the spotlight.

When it comes to adapting and responding to legislative changes, there is, of course, an increased burden upon our profession. But with legislation adapting to help increase protection – be that for customers, from predatory behavior in the market, or to improve the operation of businesses themselves – it’s necessary to accommodate this additional change.

One of the biggest changes that Medicare FMOs have needed to be cognisant of in recent years, from an accounting standpoint, came in the form of ASC 606.

What exactly is ASC 606 and what is its potential impact upon the Medicare insurance industry? In this article, we’ll explain all…


What is ASC 606?

When Accounting Today referred to ASC 606 as the “biggest change to the accounting standards in the last 100 years” they could hardly be accused of hyperbole. The result of collaborative development on the part of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the ASC 606 underwent a somewhat complicated birth, with multiple Accounting Standards Updates (ASU) issued as it closed in on its goal – the ability to recognize revenue more consistently.

At its core, the ASC 606 represents a standardization framework for financial reporting that delivers clarity for investors and customers alike. The ASC 606 aims to transform business for the better by creating a standardized reporting framework that works across all industries and industry incumbents.

Who’s impacted by the changes? All public businesses and organizations that entered into contracts or sales agreements with customers from the fiscal year after December 15, 2017 onwards are affected by ASC 606. As of 2019, this applies to both private and public sector business, as well as profitable and non-profit institutions. Essentially, if you sell goods or services, the ASC 606 framework applies to you.

The ASC is especially important to businesses that run on a subscription basis, as it takes into account the full lifecycle of a customer. This means that costs incurred by them at each of these stages such as add ons, upgrades and downgrades etc can all be factored in.


The 5-Step ASC 606 Model

1.  The 5-Step ASC 606 Model

This initial step outlines the criteria that must be met when a contract is entered into between a company and a customer. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a signed contract – any contract with enforceable rights and obligations can be counted. The essential parts of any contract are:

  • All parties have approved the agreement
  • All parties are committed to fulfilling their obligations
  • Each party’s rights are identifiable
  • Payment terms are identified
  • The contract has commercial substance
  • Collectibility is probable

2. Identify the performance obligations in the contract.

The second step determines the expected performance requirements within the contract. Again, performance obligation merely denoted a promise to transfer goods or services to the customer. In order to determine this, distinct services need to be identified as having been promised to the customer. A good or service is distinct when

  • The customer can benefit from the actual good or service
  • It can be transferred independently of other performance obligations in the contract

3. Determine the transaction price.

Next, the price associated with the business supplying products or services to the customer must be determined. This transaction price relates to the cash and non-cash consideration that an entity is entitled to receive from the customer. It also factors in any variable considerations such as price concession, volume discount, and rebates to be estimated upfront.

4. Allocate the transaction price.

This step outlines how the price is allocated across the various obligations of the contract. If the product or service delivery is recurring in nature, then a continuous performance obligation can be said to be in place. To accommodate this, the seller can split the total amount of consideration to be recognized as revenue for each performance obligation.

5. Recognize revenue when or as the entity satisfies a performance obligation.

Finally, this step specifies how revenues will be recognised, as well as when they will be recognized (i.e when the performance obligation is fulfilled!)


The Impact of ASC 606 Legislation

Although pushed through with the intention of simplifying revenue recognition, the new ASC 606 standard poses a particularly difficult challenge for subscription based companies, such as FMOs within the Medicare sales industry, as they can encounter challenges at each step.

Typically the most common challenges encountered related to the following two factors:

  1. Subscriptions change often
    Occurrences like upgrades, downgrades and early cancellations all have impacts on the business’s revenue and therefore can have considerable implications in the reporting process.
  2. Contracts are complex and occur over time
    Because these services are billed on a recurring monthly, or annual basis, the revenues can’t be reported at once as the business has not yet delivered the specified service, and must be deferred over the length of the contract.

Taking telecoms giant Verizon as an example, we can see how subscription based businesses can run into difficulties in their quest for compliance. Although the company began working towards ASC 606 compliance several years in advance of its full impact, it still needed to entirely reprogame its software to accommodate new ways of accounting for revenue. While a compliant solution was accomplished, it was costly – in terms of investment and time spent by their tech and finance teams. Many other businesses found themselves in a similar situation.


What does ASC 606 mean for FMOs?

ASC 606 is about more than recognizing revenue. ASC 340-40, a subtopic of ASC 606, sets out standards related to the costs incurred in order to obtain and fulfill signed contracts. Commissions are one such cost.

Previously, commission costs were recognised within the period that the contract was executed (i.e. in the period in which they were incurred.) This allowed the company to offset any revenues. Under the new legislation, all commissions and compensation have to be tracked at the level outlined by the law.

This means that error-prone spreadsheets and complex macros place a great strain on the time and resources of the company due to their inefficiencies. Additionally, it is very difficult to track the flow of data from the required level of detail to the commission expense.

That is why a commission tracking tool such as Commissionly is the perfect partner to help create efficiency within the operation and streamline the new reporting process. In order to stay compliant with the updated ASC 606 requirements, your accounting department needs to be able to depend on data that is accurate and current.

Formulas and manual processes have the capacity to get a lot more complicated, and as a result, the benefits of automation and improved collaboration that Commissionly offers represent a real lifeline, rescuing your team from burnout.


ASC 606: Smooth Future Sailing For FMOs

The demands of ASC 606 hold a number of serious implications and ramifications for all contract based businesses, however due to their nature, subscription-based businesses balancing commission-based payment structures, such as Medicare sales, have a greater challenge on their hands.

Nothing in financial legislation stays the same for long – and as compliance requirements change, so too do the solutions available to help assist businesses with meeting their obligations. Software such as Commissionly’s commission calculation tool offers an opportunity to navigate challenges with greater ease, today and in the future, however the demands around compliance evolve.

Looking to make life easier for your sales compensation team? Book a demo today.



In the competitive world of medicare FMOs, advantage is everything. When it comes to seeing real traction and success, often it’s the finer details that count – small improvements to process and practice that ultimately add up to a sum total of significant competitive advantage.

Staffing shortages and challenges within ongoing recruitment represent a very real concern for many FMOs currently operating. The difficulty of attracting (and then retaining) talented sales staff is increasing. A shift in expectations of employment and rapid technological innovation (accelerated by the Covid pandemic’s shift to home working) has somewhat leveled the playing field, making it possible for smaller agencies to compete with the larger, well-established FMOs.

As a result, FMOs of all sizes are focused on improving their offering. If this is something that your own FMO has been working on – and, in particular, if you’ve been chasing down ways to become more operationally efficient – then it’s time to consider the benefits that a commission calculator could bring to your setup.

In this article, we’ll cover ten of the most advantageous benefits a commission calculator can bring to your Medicare FMO. From quickly calculating varied commission splits, to easily enabling drawbacks and facilitating multi-currency sales – read on to learn more about the edge you can bring to your operation.


1.   Minimizes human error

While automation is typically viewed through the lens of winning time back for your busy team, another of its key advantages is often overlooked. Busy teams make mistakes. By working with an automated commission calculator, you remove this inconvenient (and often costly) risk factor.

By doing away with complicated manual spreadsheets will do more than free up your team, you’ll also ensure that the inevitable occurrence of incorrect data entry or calculation errors. Manually calculation and tracking your commissions opens the door for human error – even the most meticulous attention to detail is statistically prone to error sooner or later.

Commission calculators such as Commissionly have been created to cater specifically to the insurance sales market. This means that they’re precision engineered to provide all the dexterity of manual calculations, with none of the accidental error. So you can work faster and sleep easier.


2.   Frees up team time

The old adage rings ever true – time is money. In the age of automation, your team’s time and experience no longer needs to be squandered on repetitive tasks, and is much better applied to creative problem solving and revenue generation.

When your agents and managers are tasked with the admin of tracking and calculating their commissions (or, in some cases, spending vast quantities of time simply trying to understand complicated splits and calculations) their time and attention is compromised.

Your business’s foundations are firmly placed upon a commission based sales model – and as a result, commission rates, calculations and accrual are, of course, a primary concern of your agents. By leveraging a commission calculator tool to improve transparency and comprehension, you can give your team a much clearer picture of the state of play, freeing their focus and giving them the incentive to work efficiently.


3.   Enhances sales commission models

Commision models are frequently in a state of flux. As FMOs adapt to become more appealing and competitive to the most successful and talented agents, they need to constantly adjust and fine tune their commission rates and individual agent incentives.

Working with a commission calculator helps bring much more clarity to this decision making process, by facilitating more effective financial management, reducing uncertainty around ongoing business models. Forecasting becomes easier, and there are positive knock on effects to your agents, as you’re able to calculate the very best offers, retaining talent to strengthen your business in the short and longer term.


4.   Allows you to set effective goals

In addition to giving you clarity over your commission structures, working with a commission calculator will also allow you to get a better understanding of your team’s ongoing performance at a glance. Setting realistic targets for agents (that walk the line between motivation and possibility!) can be difficult, but when you’re running commission calculator software, you’ll be able to recognise patterns in performance with much more ease and confidence.

In addition to setting clear goals, a commission calculator enables a greater degree of clarity and transparency to your agents, both in terms of business’s financial position and the kind of  revenues expected of agents.

When the business, managers and agents all have a solid comprehension of the current state of play, it becomes easier to set goals that make sense for that time period, are likely to achieve buy-in, and are ultimately more achievable.


5.   Encourages transparency

The best disinfectant is sunlight. By working with a commission calculator your business is able to offer true transparency to your agents, removing gray areas that can rapidly become friction points – damaging to your agent relationships and time-consuming to rectify.

Commission calculators deliver transparency to the most important part of the business from the perspective of the sales agent – their earned income (both received and projected.) Through a commission calculator, every agent can see exactly what they will earn from each of their sales, delivering clarity to both the agent and the FMO.


6.   Opens communication channels

With so many agents working independently, communication is of utmost importance to any Medicare FMO. Without clear communication, delivered via open and accessible channels, efficiency within a business is hard to establish and maintain.

The basis of the most impactful communication? Trust. By investing in commission calculator software, an FMO demonstrates its commitment to its agents’ experience, showing a firm resolve to provide a fair, open and opportunity-rich environment where agents are supported to achieve their best results.


7.   Improves personalization

Personalization makes the professional world go round, and isn’t something that should be reserved for customer experience alone – your agents also care about the nature of the investment and attention that they receive. While a commission calculator can, in a slightly roundabout way, help you to develop more personalized experiences for your customers (based on the insight it sheds on highly successful agent approaches) it also enables personalized programmes and experiences for sales agents.

If managers know how their staff are performing, then are better equipped to understand where they need help and improvements. This then in turn allows the FMO to deliver the right kind of support and mentorship needed in order to more effectively drive business objectives. High performing agents can be paired into mentoring programmes, and commission structures can be tweaked depending on the kind of motivations that are being demonstrated.


8.   Creatures a scalable system

The ambition of most business models is growth – but as we all know, growth can mean growing pains. The ability to scale free from the stresses of a tech stack and administrative procedures that are threatening to buckle under the weight of your success is a blessing no business can take for granted.

Commissions calculated in the traditional, spreadsheet heavy fashion are a ticking time bomb, becoming increasingly problematic as the business scales. More data entry, more to manage, more margin for error, more time needed to investigate discrepancies and challenges. The list goes on.

The irony is that, without a dependable, automated commission calculator in place, the more successful you are, the more strained your operation becomes. More time is funneled away from revenue generation, as your team dedicates their bandwidth to rectifying errors and incorrect payments. If trust is eroded when friction flares up internally, you even risk losing your best agents (the engine of your business.) Efficiency is reduced, and ultimately profitability is affected.

A commission calculator ensures an infinitely scalable, secure system that will be able to keep pace with any degree of success within your business, accurately, efficiently and transparently.


9.   Enhances efficiency

It’s important to remember that leveraging commission calculator software does more than simply increase the efficiency of your commission calculations! A commission calculator also functions as a “self service” buffet for your agents’ queries. Instead of time-consuming interactions with responsible team members, they can instantly access information pertaining to their earnings and progress within any given time frame.

Acting as “single source of truth” countless wasted hours spent chasing the right files, spreadsheets or data sets are also saved. Accounts can be carefully controlled to give the right levels of access to all members of the organization, meaning everyone has the ability to get eyes on the information that’s relevant to them, quickly and independently.


10. Drives profitability

We’ve spoken about the need for efficiency within a business, but this is only half of the story. The reason we chase efficiency is to increase profitability. A commission calculator acts as a driving force behind multiple business activities that support profitability via more impactful and effective systems and processes.

Profitability increases when efficiency increases, because wherever systems and processes are optimized and trust is enabled, revenue cannot fail to follow.


Is your Medicare FMO ready for a commission calculator?

As the world of Medicare gets more competitive, things are getting more complex. In order to stay competitive, improvements to the technological architecture that is underpinning your operation will be the key to staying one step ahead of the competition.

More efficient internal processes. More revenue. Enhanced profitability. This trinity of interdependent goals is the key to unlocking sustained (and sustainable) growth in a busy market.

Commissionly’s commission tracking software represents the perfect fit for any medicare FMO looking to drive efficiency through their business via automation, transparency and enhanced data control. With experienced staff, well-versed in the specific needs of Medicare FMOs and their common commissioning structures, Commissionly offers expert guidance, assisted onboarding and ongoing support that factors in the common pain points of the industry.

With the impact and benefit of commission calculators so clear cut, adoption across the Medicare market is rapidly accelerating. The sooner an FMO incorporates them into their business, the better off they will be.


Speak to one of Commissionly’s Medicare commission experts to discuss the benefits for your FMO: book a demo today.



Digitally Transforming Your Medicare Sales


The Medicare sales industry in the United States is a highly technical and extremely competitive landscape. As a result, Medicare-focused insurance agents operating within this space need to constantly keep themselves abreast of changes that can influence their position in the market.

Digital transformation is one such change – exerting an ever increasing effect on how businesses operate, especially in a post pandemic world. A new benchmark of customer experience has drastically shifted the goalposts for anyone trying to remain relevant, let alone competitive, in this industry. 

As a Medicare-focussed agent, you’ll be no stranger to the impact of digital transformation, and taking some kind of action in this area has possibly been on your agenda for some time… However, getting up and running here can feel daunting. In this article, we’ll focus on where emerging software and digital tools offer the most advantage and opportunity for businesses exactly like yours. 


Digital Transformation And The Insurance Industry 

It is estimated that over 90% of insurance executives today have a coherent, long-term plan for technology innovation in place

The reason for this is simple: technological innovation has completely transformed the world in which we live, and holds serious ramifications for any industry or business that fails to adapt in time. Beginning in the early 2000’s and accelerating with the rise of social media, digital technologies have come to shape the way consumers engage and interact with brands. Additionally, consumer expectations have shifted and they now expect the companies that they procure services from to meet them where they are, and be available to them exactly when they need them.  

Think for a moment about offerings like digitally signing documents, cloud-based access to documentation, intelligent chatbot assistance, enhanced digital security, and instant claim handling. Tools like these were beginning to show up in the industry a few years ago, however the impact of the pandemic has made these services a point of parity rather than a competitive advantage.

Add to this, the emerging generation that has never had to deal with long lead times, delayed customer service or even submitting physical claim documentation, and it becomes evident how much the parameters have shifted and how critical this paradigm shift is to the longevity of insurance companies operating in the market today. 


What Are The Core Advantages of Digital Transformation For Medicare Sales Agents?

Digital transformation should not be seen as a thorn in the side of those operating in the market today, but rather as a way of adding exponential value to both the business from an internal perspective, and externally from a customer satisfaction perspective. 

Digital tools offer a number of benefits, including:

  1. Enhanced Efficiency

Through Artificial Intelligence and the associated technologies of Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics, every aspect of the insurance business is being optimized for speed. 

Policy writing can be processed and completed in a matter of minutes due to machine learning capabilities, claims can be handled efficiently through app based technology, and even customer service can be delivered through AI-fueled chatbots, live chat and virtual assistants to ensure that the customer has contact with the business exactly when they need it, wherever they need it. 

  1. Improved Personalization

Servicing the individual needs of each customer has become more important than ever, and the implementation of fields like big data and data analytics is paving the way for a personalized experience that is unparalleled in history. Through digital technologies, insurance companies can truly create a one-to-one experience through the ecosystem and customer journey, creating greater satisfaction for clients, and greater efficiency for brokers and businesses. 

  1. Scalable, Future-Proof Systems

Technology such as self-service dashboards, apps and IoT enabled devices and wearables allow insurance companies to build and offer services to clients that both future-proof the business for longevity, and is simultaneously scalable according to customer and market trends. 

  1. Enhanced Profitability 

Due to the ability of digital tools and technology to increase efficiency and efficacy across the value chain, it therefore also allows for enhanced profitability by removing friction points in the system  and contributing to greater Return on Investment. 


Key Areas of Focus For Digital Transformation of Medicare Sales 

When it comes to getting started with digital tools and technology, there are a few areas of focus that produce the greatest outcomes and return on investment for companies. These areas are detailed below: 

  1. Personalization

It is estimated that 80% of customers are more willing to deal with companies that offer a personalized experience, and 90% of customers are willing to share behavioral data in order to ensure a seamless brand experience.

While the above statistics relate to consumer markets in general, they are especially true for services such as Medicare sales, due to the importance of healthcare in the lives of individuals. This therefore lends credence to the call for the implementation of digital technologies in the Medicare sales domain, and highlights the value and benefits of software such as CRM, due to its ability to optimize for impact in the sales funnel process. 

  1. Operational Efficiency

From a Medicare perspective, back office operations such as commission tracking can become a huge obstacle when handled ineffectively. The complicated nature of deals, the amount of time and resources needed, and the expectations of individual agents can all remove efficiency from the process. That is why commission tracking software such as Commissionly can prove vital to ensuring operational efficiency.

  1. Internal Integration

Lastly, the integration of digital tools is imperative to the smooth function of day-to-day business processes, as they remove individual silo’s within the operations and contribute to greater efficiency across the value chain. The Insurance Commission Tracker Tool is one such example, as it offers the ability to connect directly to your carrier’s systems. It enables the bulk upload of all policy details via CSV with custom carrier templates, and automates agent commission splits. This mitigates against the need for manual spreadsheet juggling and ensures a smooth and efficient process through the entire sales funnel.


Digitally transform your Medicare sales.

Medicare sales is a competitive environment that is only set to become more crowded as new entrants and technologies enter the domain. It is therefore imperative that incumbents get ahead of the competition now, in order to ensure the long-term survival (and success) of their business. By putting in place the systems to automate and optimize your processes, you not only meet increasing client expectations, but also free yourself and your agents up to maximize  the potential in the market and ensure that you actually get paid what you are owed.


Should Medicare Agents partner with FMOs?


Becoming an Independent Medicare Agent in the United States can represent an appealing prospect to motivated individuals ready to take their careers to the next level. And yet even the most ambitious aspiring agents will have questions and concerns.

How do you grow your business?
How can you add additional revenue streams?
How can you add more value to your clients?

If you are contemplating any of the above questions, then you are probably also weighing up whether partnering with an FMO might be a wise early move. But is it worth bringing in a middleman, and what might it mean for your bottom line?

This article offers a deep dive into the partnerships that exist between Field Marketing Agencies (FMO’s) and independent Medicare agents. Get a good understanding of how the relationship works, what is on offer in terms of advantages and benefits, and explore some guidelines designed to help you find, vet and select the right Medicare business partner.


What Is An Insurance FMO – And Why Should Medicare Agents Care?

The insurance industry loves an acronym. Scratch the surface of the sector and you’ll quickly find yourself in the company of FMO’s, IMO’s, NMO’s, and MGA’s. To create clarity around these acronyms, let’s look at each one independently.

FMO’s (Field Marketing Organizations) are typically top-level organizations that are licensed to sell health insurance products in most, if not all states. Due to their size, FMO’s generally work with hundreds, if not thousands, of agents, as well as both big-name and small-name carriers all across the US. From an agent’s perspective, FMO’s generally tend to offer higher than street-level commissions, and many perks that aren’t available elsewhere. 

IMO stands for Independent Marketing Organization, and these generally tend to be slightly smaller than FMO’s, and life insurance is commonly included in their product offerings.

NMO’s or National Marketing Offices are no different to FMO’s or IMO’s in size of capability, but lean towards use the term NMO, as it is more neutral in its nature. Finally, MGA’s (Managing General Agents) usually exist downline to FMO’s, IMO’s, and MNO’s, and act as partners to these top-of-hierarchy organizations. For more help in detangling the industry’s acronyms, we recommend this helpful breakdown

From the perspective of Medicare, FMO’s form an important link within the sales ecosystem, bridging the gap between insurance carrier and consumer in a way that ensures maximum value-exchange on both sides of the equation. 


What Are The Key Benefits Of Working With An Insurance FMO? 

Working with an FMO holds a number of benefits for independent Medicare agents, from access to contracts, to pathways to career progress. In this section, we will look at each of these key benefits in more detail.


Better Access To Contracts 

Due to their size and position at the top of the hierarchy, FMO’s generally hold strong and established relationships with their partnered insurance carriers, and have the ability to leverage these connections to command access to contracts that would otherwise be inaccessible to individual agents. 

Support And Experience 

When it comes to working in a specialized field such as Medicare, FMO’s that are localized to this industry generally have comprehensive resource capabilities in place to provide support and expertise to agents that have partnered with them. These support and experience capabilities provide an advantage to the agents, from a client satisfaction perspective, and help to mitigate against numerous friction points within the sales process.  

Access To CRM 

Medicare FMO’s also generally provide their agents with access to CRM software. CRM or Customer Retention Marketing helps agents to be competitive in the marketplace by quantifying and validating sales leads. In other words, it helps agents to focus their efforts and energy on leads that are more likely to become sales. 


The importance of compliance is cannot be overstated when it comes to the highly regulated field of medical insurance. FMO’s help to keep everything above board by providing access to CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) approved quoting tools. These tools are invaluable for their ability to ensure that the sales process runs as smoothly as possible. 

Commission and Bonuses

For an agent, commissions and bonuses can be one of the most important and profitable aspects of their career. FMO’s do not take a cut of agents’ commission, meaning that the agent will receive their full commission on the plans that they sell, but they are often also rewarded with additional bonuses and added incentives for reaching specified sales targets. 

Specialist Products 

Working with an FMO will often give agents access to specialized or exclusive products that are not openly available to independent agents. This increases the range of options available to agents, while simultaneously helping to plug any holes within their portfolio of offerings.

A Pathway For Progress

For agents looking to progress in their careers, FMO’s offer a dependable pathway forward. Through training, development, networking and mentoring, agents have the ability to take their skills and careers to the next level. 


Independent Agents Vs Captive Agents 

As an agent working in the insurance industry it is vital to know and understand the difference between becoming an independent agent or opting to be a captive agent. While relatively straight forward, there are pro’s and con’s to each pathway.

A captive agent is one that works primarily with one insurance carrier. They have extensive knowledge of the carrier’s product portfolio, including the discounts and coverage add-ons available.

An independent agent works across multiple carriers, and has comprehensive knowledge of the various product offerings relating to each of them. 

From the perspective of the client, working with a captive agent offers first-time insurance buyers (or clients who aren’t sure how much coverage they need) a simpler route to getting what they need without the hassle of having to weigh up multiple options. However, because the agent does only work with one parent company, captive agents can be less competitive on price, due to the extra fees that the insurance company charges.

Working with an independent agent allows for more choice across the board, and additionally the potential for lower prices, as the agent is not tied into one parent company and can provide lower cost options that would work in a more constrained client budget. 

Captive agents generally are paid a salary by their parent company, and also obtain the benefit of subsidized advertising and hiring costs. An independent agent works primarily on commissions and bonuses. 


Medicare Agents And FMO Medicare Commission 

One of the biggest concerns that agents have when contemplating whether to partner with an FMO or not, is in relation to how they will be paid. It is often thought that if an agent joins an FMO, that the organization would retain part of the agent’s commission as a fee for their value added services. 

However, this is not the case. FMO’s make use of a hierarchy system that allows them to offer the same commission level to general agents that the agent would receive if they worked directly with the carrier. In other words, you would receive the same commission on a sale, whether you worked with an FMO or not. 

And this is where the value of partnering with an FMO comes in – value added services. When choosing the right FMO to work with, we recommend that you look for one that makes use of software like Commissionly – a fully automated sales commission software that saves both time and money by eliminating errors and improving productivity. 

In the world of Medicare, managing commissions can be a complex, time-consuming and costly exercise. They are generally influenced by and vary according to the product being sold, the institution purchasing, the doctor utilizing the product, and the relationship with the sales person or agency. With so many variables, it can become very easy to lose track of what you should be paid, and when it should be paid. 

With software like Commissionly, you will always have full transparency over your earnings, how it relates to your targets, and where you are in the process. 


How To Decide If You Should Work With A Medicare FMO 

If you have made it this far, you probably are seriously thinking about  whether or not you should partner with an FMO in order to take your career and client offering to the next level. In this section, we have created four simple questions that you can use as a checklist when evaluating your position. Your answers to these questions will give you a good idea as to what your next steps should be. 


  1. Are you looking to specialize in a certain area of insurance?

Providing services in a specialized industry like Medicare, can be both rewarding and daunting due to the nature of the product type. Specialized FMO’s is these areas can give you access to tools, services and knowledge that can make entry, or even expansion in the market a much easier exercise. 

  • Do you feel hindered by a lack of access to specific carriers, plans or products?

Being independent might feel like you are preserving your options in the market, however by partnering with an FMO in the industry, you can actually increase the options available to you. 

You can gain greater access to carriers, plans and products through the relationships held by the FMO.

  • Are you motivated by additional perks and rewards?

Partnering with an FMO can also open up more opportunities to earn. Many of them have additional perks in place for their agents, such as added bonuses and incentives that are linked to sales targets. 

  • Are you looking for extra support and a more defined career pathway?

FMO’s offer exceptional career pathways that are linked to training, development, networking and mentoring programmes that can clear the way forward for you in a defined and structured format. 


What To Look For In A Good Medicare Insurance FMO 

Once you have decided that an FMO is the perfect partner for you and your career objectives, it becomes important to understand what to look for when vetting the various options open to you. In this section, we will unpack a few of the most important considerations when contemplating the perfect fit for your unique requirements and ambitions.

  1. Contract Type

There are two types of contracts available – Direct or Assignment of Commissions. From this perspective, direct is by far the most preferable, as with a direct contract you are in charge of your business and your renewals stay with you, even if you leave the FMO. With assignment of commissions contracts, they belong to the FMO when you leave, so be sure to be very clear on what contract is on offer. 

  1. Look into their Release Policies

Understanding the release policy of the FMO is imperative, as in some cases you are not permitted to sign any new business for six-months from the time of leaving. So ensure that the FMO will give you a written release should you decide to leave at a point in the future.


  • Assess available support

Be clear on the type and kind of support that you will require on a daily basis, and ensure that the FMO that you are in discussions with offers this to you.


  • Where in the hierarchy does the FMO sit? 

It is vital to understand whether the organization sits at the top of the hierarchy or not, as organizations lower down may require permission from organizations further up in order to release agents. 

  • Do they have access to national and local market co-ops? 

Understanding the access available to the organization can make all the difference to your bottom line, as FMO’s with greater access have a better flow of leads into the organization and therefore give you a greater chance of increasing your revenue.


  1. What quote engine will you have access to? 

Not all quote engines are created equally, and therefore having access to one that meets your desired criteria is imperative. Ask the FMO if you can do a trial run on their software before committing to a contract. 


  1. What training is offered?

Training is the key aspect to moving your career to the next level. It is therefore important to understand what kind of training the organization offers to its agents, and ensure that this training matches with your ambitions for your career.


  • What is the commission structure

Be sure to understand how the commission is structured, as well as what other perks, incentives and bonus structures are in place, as this will determine what your bottom line looks like. So be sure to find an FMO that matches with your expectations in this regard.


  • Talk to other agents at the organization

This will give you a good idea about the culture of the organization. Understanding whether their agents are happy, feel supported and are satisfied with their service will help ease your mind around your decision. 


Take Your Medicare Sales To The Next Level… 

There is no doubt that partnering with an FMO holds the potential to give you an extra boost in your career as a Medicare Sales Agent in the United States. In this article we took you for a deep dive into the most relevant aspects of the relationship, and also what to look out for when considering your options. It is however vital to stress that not all FMO’s are created equally, and it is essential that you do your due diligence when selecting the right partner for you. 

No matter what release policies are in place, or what commission structure is on offer, it’s best to save your time and resources by creating solid partnerships from the get go. This will help you to lay the foundations to develop and grow your Medicare sales business profitably and sustainably for the long-term.