Medicare can be confusing, but making the right choice when it comes to enrolling in the right coverage plan can have a long-lasting impact on both your physical and financial health. But there is just so much information out on the Internet about Medicare, and if you’re new to the program this information overload only serves to confuse things. While seeking advice from family and close friends can be helpful, as can some Internet searching, you may find it most helpful to contact a local, licensed professional who can help you make the best decision for your individual needs.
Benefits of Working with a Local Agent
- Expertise: Medicare can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re new. You’ll likely have a laundry list of questions about how to find and choose the best coverage for you. From enrollment to converting you from private insurance to Medicare to finding helpful supplemental plans to satisfy your coverage needs, expertise is perhaps the biggest asset an Independent Advisor can offer you. Additionally, providers and prices vary by market, so having someone who works locally is particularly important in weighing your options. Agents and Advisors selling Medicare are required to take hours of additional training for Medicare certification, so you can rest assured that when you’re working with a licensed expert in your area, they are working with the most up-to-date knowledge.
- Full range of options: Independent agents are going to be your best bet when shopping for Medicare plans because they work with and represent numerous companies. Independent agents have more complete knowledge of the market in your area and can provide you with more options .
- Price: Here’s one of the best parts: working with a Medicare insurance advisor is free. Insurance advisors will not charge you money to work with them – ever. Advisors and agents have contracts with insurance providers, which is how their services are kept free to you. If you are meeting with an advisor and they begin to talk about fees, you should take caution before proceeding with their services. Also, they help you narrow your options and choose a plan that is best fit for you according to your budget and you don’t have to worry if you don’t know much about Medicare because agents are here to answer all your questions and doubts.
Difference between Medicare Insurance Agents
It’s important to know that there are two types of licensed Medicare insurance agents and their main differences before you choose to contact them for help.
Types of agents are:
- Independent agent: those agents sell policies from different insurance companies and they can choose which policies they want to sell between numerous insurance companies
- Captive agent: those agents can sell insurance just from one specific insurance company. Even though they are experts on all options their company offers you won’t get the bigger picture and hear about other medical insurance company plans.
Also, you may be confused when you see that someone is an insurance broker but don’t worry because an insurance broker is the same thing as an independent agent. In addition to that, insurance brokers also sell plans from numerous companies.
How do Independent Advisors Work?
Florida Medicare Agents help consumers apply for and enroll in Medicare insurance coverage. They also help you narrow down your options and choose a plan that best fits into your budget according to your healthcare needs. Furthermore, they will help you to change your plan if you are not satisfied with it because your current needs have changed. Independent advisors are not tied – or “captive” – to a particular set of carriers, these independent agents offer a wide variety of coverage options from many companies. It is important to note that the advisor or agent does not provide coverage directly to you; your benefits will ultimately be administered through the actual Medicare plan you choose.
Because your agent will be independent, they should be able to provide a good deal of information on several plans, all in one place. This will save you a ton of time and stress than if you had looked at all the different companies in your area, and spoken to each individual captive agent.
It’s also important to note that because the advisor is free to you, their plans are not marked up in any way. You will not save money by going to a captive agent, because their rate offering will be the same as an independent agent.
Rules for Agents Who Sell Medicare
To protect people searching for Medicare plans, there are certain rules and regulations that Medicare insurance advisors, agents, and brokers must follow. This section is important because if you’re shopping around for plans and you find an agent violating these rules, you may be the victim of a Medicare scam.
For one, a licensed agent will never show up at your door uninvited or give you an unsolicited call. Additionally, a licensed agent will never ask you for personal information over the phone unless it is to verify membership, determine eligibility, or submit an enrollment application. Such information includes your Social Security Number, your Medicare insurance number, or your medical health history.
Further, you may attend a Medicare educational event. These are perfectly legal for an agent to host, but there are rules that must be followed at these events. Agents cannot offer you money or gifts worth more than $15 to join their plan. Also, if you are attending a Medicare educational event the agent or advisor cannot enroll you into a plan at this event. An independent agent will also not discuss carrier-specific plans at an event.
One last thing worth noting is that agents cannot pressure you into joining a plan, and they should never begin to tell you about plans that you have not agreed to discuss.
Furthermore, every Medicare agent who wants to sell insurance must pass a test on their knowledge of the subject every year.
Must I be careful in choosing an Independent Medicare agent?
If you aren’t sure which Medicare agent you should choose before you turn to a specific agent for help it is always best to make sure that someone who represents a Medicare agent has proper licensure. You can easily check if an agent has a proper license with an insurance department based in your state. Also, the business card of every agent must have their license number because Medicare Centers ask every agent to have a license in the state they work in.
Also, if you have doubts it is best to choose an agent who has many good references from previous clients.
Medicare Supplement Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans
One function that Medicare Advisors find themselves doing often is enrolling people in Medicare Supplement plans, also known as “Medigap” plans. You may want a Medigap plan because, after learning more about Original Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D, you’ll realize that while these options give you a lot of coverage, there are gaps in these plans. These gaps can leave you underinsured and therefore exposed to a mountain of additional out-of-pocket costs for health coverage.
Medigap plans are lettered A-N, and each plan offers varying levels of coverage at varying price points. Many Medicare beneficiaries find Medigap plans to be extremely helpful in addition to Original Medicare because Medigap plans + Original Medicare will leave you with well-rounded, affordable coverage. Medicare advisors are experts in Medigap plans and will help you find comprehensive and affordable coverage to give you healthcare peace of mind.
But, if a Medigap plan isn’t for you, your local agent can also show you about Medicare Advantage plans. These plans will provide you with additional coverage at lower premiums, and many people around the country opt for Advantage plans over Medigap plans.
Also, it is good to check with your local agent which one of these plans is accessible in your living area especially for Medicare Advantage plans because most of them offer to see an in-network doctor.
Finding a Medicare Advisor Near You
Medicare doesn’t have to be scary. There are millions of Americans happily enrolled in the program, and advisors like us have helped a countless number of them find plans that fit their needs. We know that choosing insurance isn’t easy because there are a lot of plans, plan options, rules, and exceptions. As independent agents, we won’t push into one specific plan from one company; the important thing to us is that you have a policy that you can afford and that covers you.
Give us a call or send us an email today and let’s work together to find the best plan for you. We are eager to help you!
Experienced Insurance Advisor and financial planner. Graduated from Webber International University with a Bachelor of Science in marketing and a Masters in Business Administration. Skilled in Public Speaking, Team Building, Management, Marketing, Direct Sales, and Strategic planning.