Health care and self-care are super-important. It is a bit confusing, though, with so many options on the market and in the media.
Benefits of Working with a Health Insurance Consultant for Medicare Enrollment
Should I Contact a Medicare Health Insurance Consultant?
Aging is complicated and at times nerve wracking. It can feel like your life took a complete 180-degree turn as we transition into our golden years. One of these major changes is understanding Medicare.
When we’re tasked with difficult and life changing decisions, we must surround ourselves with trustworthy professionals. Choosing a Medicare plan falls in this category. When you work with a Medicare broker look for some of the following qualities and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Not only will the questions help you find the right fit, but it will help the consultant / agent to understand your unique requirements.
- An agent will help you understand your out-of-pocket costs.
- Help you understand the different parts of Medicare – Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D
- Will help you navigate the complicated list of rules and exceptions.
- They will help you review all the different types of Medicare Advantage Plans.
- Original Medicare does not cover all the parts. Part A and B are covered but you must buy supplemental insurance to cover Part C and Part D. An agent will help you find a Medigap or Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplemental plan to cover things original Medicare doesn’t cover like dental or vision care, hearing aids, long term nursing home care, prescription medication etc.
- They will make sure that your plan has the correct prescription coverage for you and if you can keep your doctors.
- If you have preexisting conditions, they will ensure that you understand your coverage and make any necessary adjustments.
- Agents are very familiar with the different plans on the market and will save you time by directing you to the plans that work best for you, so that you can make educated plan comparisons.
- An independent agent is only a phone call away and the experience is more personal than working directly with a large company.
- Unless you are new to Medicare plans, the agent should be willing to review your current plan to see if it still meets your needs. Then talk with you about options to meet those needs if there are gaps in your coverage.
- When you research the agent, see if they have experience in the medical field. Health insurance agents are often people who transitioned from another medical field like pharmacy.
Medicare Parts A Through D
Advice From a Licensed Agent
I asked Heidi Wissing from Hybrid Senior Solutions how a licensed health insurance agent might benefit a client?
"A good agent will educate the client on the Medicare process and options. Once educated, an individual is in a better position to choose the best plan for their situation.
- It takes the stress out of dealing with the enrollment process online - especially if the client isn’t computer savvy.
- A good agent will follow up to assist with any difficulties that may arise in the future - someone they can trust to have their best interests at heart.
- Consultants are aware of new plans coming into the market and other additional add-on benefits that may be available - like OTC (over the counter) products, free meals and transport options in certain situations.
- Find an agent early on before turning 65 or before planning to retire if after 65 and on commercial insurance, to avoid late penalties, and to plan financially."
Misconceptions about Insurance Agents
I asked Heidi about some of the misconceptions around working with a Health Insurance Consultant.
:I think the biggest misconception is that anyone that calls and says that they are a Medicare Agent is not always a Medicare agent. In fact, Medicare does not have its own agents - so we don't call ourselves Medicare Agents - we are licensed Health Insurance Agents that are certified to sell Medicare products - sometimes we call ourselves Medicare consultants. Very often the elderly are taken advantage of by unscrupulous agents that only sell products that give them the highest commission and not necessarily the best product for the client. So, choosing an independent agent that is ethical is better as they are not contracted with just one company but can enroll clients with many different carriers."
The Difference Between an Independent vs Captive Medicare Insurance Consultant
- Independent consultant – This agent is contracted to and represents multiple insurance companies. The agent will help you review plans from all the options before you enroll.
- Captive consultant – This agent represents one insurance company and can only help you review plans from that one company.
Working with an Agent from Another State
An agent can sell insurance in any state in which they are licensed. Several agents are licensed in multiple states which could be helpful if you travel or plan to move.
Health Insurance Consultants
Health Insurance Agents May Help with Other Insurances?
Insurance agents may also offer life insurance, long term care insurance, travel insurance and more. However, since Medicare is such a skilled service that requires continuous education, many agents choose to focus on Medicare alone.
Do I Have to Pay an Agent for Their Services?
Independent Medicare agents represent several insurance companies. Since they offer multiple plans from multiple companies, they can offer you a wide selection.
Read More From Youmemindbody
You will not pay more for your insurance if you choose to use a consultant because they are paid a commission by the insurance company when you purchase a plan.
Licensed Health Insurance Check
How Do I Know if My Agent is Licensed?
You can be direct and ask your agent if they are licensed and registered. Alternatively, you could check their status on the National Association of Insurance Commissions ‘Lookup Search’ page.
Note: Not every state is represented on the State Based System. If your state is not listed in the Jurisdiction section of the search criteria, you could contact your state’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner to verify their license and registration.
Beware of These Tactics
A Medicare agent may not come to your home unless you invite them. Cold calling is not permitted.
An agent may not use incentives or free gifts to entice a client into buying insurance coverage.
You do not pay a consulting fee to the agent because they earn their income from commissions paid to them by the insurance companies that they represent.
Do your research and ask for reviews before you commit to one consultant. Understand your own needs so that you can convey them to the agent and ask a lot of questions. At the end of the day you are your own advocate and it's ok to review all your options.
Hybrid Senior Solutions
National Association of Insurance Commissions
National Association of Insurance Commissions
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2022 Celeste Wilson