Bring up the AHIP Certification among seasoned Medicare agents and you’ll likely be met with a general consensus. “Why should we have to go through the same material every year?” For most, it’s a pesky but necessary task in the never-ending upkeep of running a business. For some, it can be daunting. Pass with a 90% or better in three attempts or fewer, or forfeit your renewals. I sympathize with these sentiments, but—rules are rules.
To the first point: yes, it is largely a review of familiar material, but things change. Medicare Advantage is still relatively new to the industry. For example, a change was made last year to allow people with ESRD to join a standard Medicare Advantage plan. Before, ESRD patients could only enroll if there was a Special Needs plan available in their area.
To the second point: I realize having to pass a test with a 90% is a little intimidating, but it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s pretty easy if you keep a few things in mind.
The AHIP Certification consists of five lesson modules, starting with an overview of Medicare basics and ending with a guide for the actual beneficiary enrollment process. Once these modules are completed, there is a separate, shorter training on fraud, waste, and abuse (FWA).
Each module is about seventy slides (or pages) of information. The AHIP website allows you to download each module as a PDF document, however, all of the slides must be clicked through in the website portal to be recognized by the system and recorded towards completion. There is a short review quiz at the end of each module that is not graded towards your final passing score. Though you should take their time on these questions since they are very similar to the final exam questions. Seriously, it’s a good idea to pay attention to these questions even if they don’t technically count. You get unlimited attempts at the review quizzes as well, so I recommend taking them until you get every answer correct.
347 slides later, you can take a ‘Final Quick Review’ and then it’s on to the real thing. You will be allotted two hours to answer fifty multiple-choice questions, so get to a place you can focus, get comfy, and take your time. But don’t overthink your answers. You may encounter ‘trick questions,’ perhaps densely worded or listing extra qualifying conditions. For these, try to eliminate two of the possible answers right off the bat. I think you’ll find you pass with plenty of time to spare, especially if you were thorough with the preceding review quizzes.
And if you don’t pass, that’s okay. You still have two more attempts, two more chances to review the more challenging material, but hopefully you’ll only need one. I also recommend not taking two attempts back to back. Step away from the computer for a bit, call your marketer, vent to a friend or fellow agent, and return fresh and ready to pass. Oh, and when you do call your marketer, ask them about any other AHIP Certification resources they can provide. We’ve been through the certification process plenty of times and we’re here to help.
The FWA training after the fifty-question Medicare test is relatively easier. This material hasn’t changed much in the last few years since fraud, waste, and abuse have been around since antiquity. Know what to look for, how to report FWA instances, and the range of consequences for taking part in FWA. There is a twenty-question multiple choice test following this material.
Now, I would say, “that’s it! Happy selling!” But it’s not. Each Medicare Advantage carrier you contract with has their own certification to complete before you are considered Ready to Sell (RTS). Before going on to those, be sure to click the ‘Transmit’ button to send proof of your completed AHIP Certification to the carriers you are appointed with. This ensures you aren’t going through too much redundancy. In other words, proof of the AHIP Certification allows you to skip portions of carrier certs that cover the same content. For the most part, carrier certs cover carrier-specific plan information and do not contain pass/fail examinations.
Before you register for the AHIP Certification on the standard AHIP website registration portal, visit www.yourmedicareahip.com for $125. That’s a $50 discount just for partnering with Network Insurance. If the YourMedicare℠ logo is visible on the top right of the webpage, you’re in the right place. After you have five Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription enrollments in the books, we will refund that $125 as an extra thanks. For a modicum of Medicare Advantage, Part D Prescription Plan, and Medicare Annual Enrollment Period resources, visit YourMedicare and get ready for a busy AEP!