Most people don’t think much about insurance when they’re growing up. Your parents handled your healthcare, and then you let your job do it. While you required car insurance and might have gotten a mortgage with insurance a few times, you rarely shopped for this sort of thing.
Now, you’re getting closer to retirement age, so you must think about Medicare and the plans suitable for your situation. You’re wondering how to choose a Medicare agent, and this guide can help you.
Generally, Medicare gets used more often than health insurance plans for younger people. Therefore, it’s important to save money, reduce stress, and have a good advocate on your side.
Are you asking your’e older friends, “Where can I get a Medicare agent near me?” These tips can help you!
It’s 2022, so every Medicare agent should have and update a website. Check that they do and consider reading the blog. While you’re doing that, it could open up questions you might have. Those answers should be somewhere on the site.
Look for a Medicare agent who works year-round. Some of them only sell insurance during the nation’s annual enrollment period; it’s easier that way. This is similar to accountants who only prepare taxes until April 15. You want someone who can help you answer questions and deal with issues when they arise.
After you get a list of possibilities, it’s important to read up on them. Check their websites, but also look online to see if they have a Google Business Profile (it used to be called a Google My Business profile). Read what’s there to determine if it’s similar to what you found elsewhere online.
You should read the Google reviews to see what others say about them. From there, consider researching on forum websites to get testimonials from people, as well.
If you have trouble using the internet, ask a tech-savvy friend or family member to help you!
It’s best to pick an agent or broker with a solid reputation and plenty of experience selling Medicare plans in a particular state. You can ask friends and family for referrals and then research those options.
Most brokers put their information online, but you can also call and request an interview, either in person or over the phone. Ask them about the plan types they handle and what customers they often work with.
Plans change every year. Therefore, the most popular one from five years ago may not be the best choice now. In fact, you’ve probably heard about Supplement and Advantage options. If that’s what you’re hoping to get, you need a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage agent.
Just as you can find specialists and general practitioners, there are tons of Medicare plans available. It’s highly localized and is often focused on your Zip Code. Therefore, some brokers only offer a single option, but others might provide both. One plan isn’t necessarily better than another, but you must understand all of your choices.
5. Avoid Bias
Some insurance people sell for a single company, and they’re often called agents. Others work with multiple brands, so they’re called brokers.
Just because there are many plan options doesn’t mean one company has the best choice for you. However, if you’re speaking with someone who only sells a single product, they’re not likely to tell you about others. In a sense, they’re biased because they’re only focused on one brand, and that could mean you pay too much or get fewer benefits.
6. Decide on a Medicare Supplement Agent or Medicare Advantage Agent
Medicare is highly confusing, and the original one is a fee-for-service plan with hospital insurance (part A) and medical insurance (part B). Those aren’t often enough, which is why people turn to Medicare Advantage or Supplement insurance.
A Medicare Supplement plan pays second after original Medicare. However, a Medicare Advantage plan becomes the primary coverage source once you enroll. In a sense, Medicare pays a specific amount to the carrier of your Advantage plan.
You’re likely to see a Medicare Advantage agent promoting their services because there’s a higher profit margin than with Medicare Supplement plans. Advantage plans are administered and provided by private insurance companies, though you mitigate your risks because Medicare pays them.
A Medicare Supplement agent also works with private insurance companies, but they must provide coverage regardless of the carrier, and that doesn’t happen with the Advantage option. Whenever original Medicare stops paying, the supplement version picks up the remaining costs.
You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need a Medicare agent near me?” Generally, a local broker understands the doctors in the area and can help you determine which ones you can see based on your plan choice. They might also specialize in Supplement or Advantage plans, so they can explain all of the pros and cons of each.
While parts A and B cover hospital and medical needs, you might need part D coverage to pay for your prescriptions. Typically, Medicare agents only get paid whenever you purchase something. Drug plans are often complicated, and it’s time-consuming to compare and pick one. They only earn a small commission, so many don’t want to spend time on this.
However, Medicare part D might be the most important aspect of your coverage. While doctor and hospital bills can become expensive, so can the prescriptions you require to manage your health. Make sure your agent is willing to help you decide on a drug plan.
8. Be Prepared
It’s hard to know what Medicare options you need, and that’s why you work with an agent. Still, you should learn as much as you can first so that you’re prepared with the right information and questions. Don’t be afraid of Medicare!
Whether you’re looking for a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement agent, it’s important to pick the right person to help. Many just want a commission, so they don’t put your needs first.
Seniors are often taken advantage of, and you want to protect yourself from “bad” agents. These tips should help you learn how to choose a Medicare agent who is on your side and cares about your needs and budget.