Independent Medicare Advisor – Are you confused about Medicare? Don’t worry; you are certainly not alone! Fortunately, using an insurance agent or broker is an easy way to get one-on-one help from someone who knows the ins and outs of the program.
But, how do you find the right insurance agent? Are they all the same? How much do they cost? What should I look for in an advisor? We’ll answer all those questions for you right now by listing the five qualities you want to find in a Medicare advisor.
1. The agent should be independent, not captive.
There are two types of insurance agents: independent and captive. Independent agents can contract with as many insurance carriers as they want, while captive agents may only represent one company. The benefit of choosing an independent agent is pretty obvious, but let’s talk about why that’s so important when it comes to Medicare.
There is nothing wrong with using a captive agent. You’re still going to get coverage and find a plan that meets your needs. However, that agent won’t be able to tell you what other plans are out there or how their prices compare to their competition. You may have been able to find an even better plan for a lower premium.
Independent agents contract with lots of different companies – typically 20 or more. This allows them to compare several plans based on the coverage you’re requesting. They’ll also be able to shop for different rates to ensure you get a competitive offer. Typically, independent agents choose to work with companies that have good ratings. By working with an independent broker, you’ll know you have found the best plan for you.
2. Their primary goal is education.
Insurance agents should always start a relationship by making sure you understand how the Medicare program works, especially if you are new to the program. Understanding Medicare goes a long way when it comes to choosing supplemental options and maximizing your benefits.
Even if you’ve been on Medicare for a number of years, your agent should start by asking you if you have questions about how it works and even offer to give you a brief review. The happiest clients have had the education they need to make using their insurance an easy process.
3. Their services are free.
Insurance agents should not be charging you to use their services! They are paid a commission by the insurance company when you enroll in one of their products. There should be no extra fees to work with them.
4. They show you all your options.
If you feel like your agent is pushing one plan over others, this might be a red flag, especially if they haven’t taken the time to get to know you.
We said that insurance agents are paid on commission. Some plans and companies pay higher commissions than others. If you feel like your agent is pushing you into one option, this is probably why. When it comes to Medicare, your agent should discuss both Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans, as well as Part D prescription drug plans and other ancillary benefits.
Your health insurance is a very personal choice, and only you know what’s best for you. Do not let your agent make the decisions for you.
5. They provide ongoing client support.
When you meet a new agent, ask them what happens after they finish your enrollment. Who do you call if you have a problem with your plan? Will someone review your plans every year?
A good insurance agent will follow up with you after you enroll to make sure you received your cards and check in to answer any questions you might have thought about since you last spoke. They’ll also help you resolve problems with your plan, should they arise.
In addition, every Medicare beneficiary needs to have their plans reviewed every fall during the Annual Enrollment Period. This is an extremely important enrollment period because Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (prescription drug coverage) plans change each year. Your advisor will take a few minutes during AEP to make sure you’re set for the upcoming year.
When you need to buy or sell a house, you use a real estate agent. When you need financial advice and planning services, you hire a CPA. You hire experts who know the field and can provide a helpful service to you. The same is true for the world of Medicare! Advisors are here to guide you through the process and offer unbiased information.
And guess what? Our agency checks off all five of those requirements. What are you waiting for? Give us a call today!