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.