10 Benefits of Using a Medicare Broker to Pick a Plan
10 Benefits of Using a Medicare Broker to Pick a Plan
Travel agents have become all but obsolete. With access to online comparison sites that allow us to research the most affordable flights, hotels, and car rentals, we can confidently create full itineraries on our own and be off on an adventure in no time. The internet has definitely changed our way of shopping for a variety of products and services, but are there certain purchases we should only make with the assistance of an industry professional?
When it comes to searching for health insurance, can - and should - we purchase it without the help of a sales professional? We can certainly benefit from the expertise of a sales agent in some situations, and a licensed Medicare insurance broker may provide invaluable guidance as we research and compare insurance plans. Healthcare coverage decisions can have serious consequences on your health and financial well-being, and a licensed insurance agent may be the knowledgeable resource that helps you and your loved ones find the quality Medicare insurance plan that is right for you, at a price you can afford.
If you are enrolling in Medicare for the first time, you may be wondering how you should receive your Medicare benefits. You can get your benefits through Original Medicare or through Medicare Advantage.
Original Medicare is the federal program that administers your Part A (hospital insurance) and/or Part B (medical insurance) benefits. Most people are automatically enrolled in Part A when they turn 65 years of age, and can choose if they want to be enrolled in Part B, which has a monthly premium and yearly deductible.
Supplementing Your Original Medicare Coverage
Many people with Original Medicare choose to supplement their coverage with a separate Medigap (or Medicare Supplement) policy to help them cover the out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare does not. There is an initial Medigap enrollment period when you are first eligible that will give you a guaranteed issue right to purchase any Medigap policy sold in your state without being subject to medical underwriting. A broker can help you choose Medigap plans that will best fit your needs and budget. Although Medigap policies are standardized, the costs can vary.
Prescription Drug Plans
Prescription drug coverage is not available through Part A, Part B, or Medigap policies, so you may need to consider Part D prescription drug coverage. A PDP is a stand-alone plan offered by private insurance companies that will help cover the costs of prescription drugs. (Prescription drugs are not covered by Part A or Part B or by Medigap policies.) Licensed insurance agents can help you decide if you should enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) and can help you review and compare plans based on your particular budget and medications. Each PDP has its own formulary, or list of covered drugs, so you need to review your current prescriptions to make certain your brands and dosages are included. Costs can vary based on pricing tiers (generic vs. brand name, mail order, etc.) so it can be helpful to have an expert help you find the pan that will be right for you.
Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans
Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare to provide your Part A and Part B benefits. They must offer the same benefits as Part A and Part B, but many MA plans offer additional benefits for the same cost, including vision care, dental services, hearing exams, and prescription drug coverage. Most MA plans will require you to visit physicians, hospitals, suppliers, and pharmacies within the plan’s network or pay more if you go out of network. A licensed sales agent can help you make the choice that is best for you.
Advantages of Working With a Broker
There are distinct advantages of working with a licensed sales broker who can help guide you through the process of enrolling in Medicare insurance coverage. Consider these top ten benefits of working with a Medicare insurance sales agent:
Medicare expertise. If you are approaching Medicare eligibility for the first time, you may understandably feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of information available for you to sift through. While you and/or your family may have previously been covered by group insurance plans through an employer or an individual or family plan, Medicare insurance is different. It is individual insurance, but any decisions you make can affect your family. Having an expert who can help guide you through the structure, plans, benefits, and costs of Medicare can make a big difference as you explore your options.
Medicare also comes at a time when your lifestyle may be changing. Whether you have retired already or are continuing to work, you may have different priorities for your future. Your insurance sales agent can help you adjust to your Medicare options as they relate to financial planning for your retirement.
Greater options Independent brokers can provide you with options from an array of carriers. While contracting with different insurance companies, some insurance agents can help you compare thousands of plans from hundreds of carriers. Having a broker that contracts with different carriers helps eliminate bias as they help you research and compare. The wealth of collective data at your fingertips is essential as you search for the Medicare insurance plan that best meets your individual needs, and an independent broker can help you narrow your choices and make an informed decision.
Working with a broker doesn’t cost you anything There are no fees to pay for using the services of an insurance broker. In fact, the rates offered by insurance plans already account for commissions paid to insurance brokers, so your cost will not differ whether you work with a broker or enroll on your own. Why not get the help of a knowledgeable and licensed insurance sales agent who can make the process of enrolling easier than ever?
Expertise Licensed sales agents in the Medicare arena go through hours and hours of training and education every year in order to sell Medicare insurance plans. Not only do they understand the parameters of your options, they have access to vital information that may help you make this very important decision. Most Medicare beneficiaries can only change their Medicare insurance coverage once a year, during the Annual Enrollment Period from October 15 through December 7, so you will likely be stuck with the insurance you choose for twelve months, unless you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
Tailored guidance An insurance agent can help tailor your Medicare insurance options to fit your needs and preferences. Every Medicare beneficiary is unique – and you deserve to find a plan that fits into your budget and lifestyle and will give you access to the quality healthcare you deserve. Many insurance agents take on the role of personal adviser as you work together to review and compare Medicare insurance plans. Getting to know you and your healthcare coverage needs, your broker can fine-tune the search and help you enroll in the Medicare plan that will protect you and your family from stressful medical expenses.
Save Your Time We are all busy – and whether you are retired or not, your time is valuable. A knowledgeable broker can save you time on research and plan comparison, especially if Medicare coverage is new to you. A licensed insurance agent can help you narrow down your options efficiently, and guide you to the coverage that will fit your circumstances so that you don’t waste time with options that simply won’t meet your needs.
Experience matters As an industry expert, your licensed sales agent may have years of experience navigating Medicare. Knowledge is important, but an agent’s experience can help you avoid pitfalls as you explore your options. With experience in the Medicare market, your insurance agent can be your guide into Medicare terminology, policies, and processes.
Area specialty Local brokers can provide more detailed knowledge of the plans available in your area. They may be familiar with the network of providers and suppliers, and can help advise you in regards to the Medicare plans offered.
One-stop shopping Licensed sales agents may be able to offer you a one-stop shopping experience. Thanks to innovative technology, brokers can utilize software that will give you access to all the plan information you need, at any time that is convenient for you. Many offer 24/7 assistance, answers to the most frequently asked questions, and webinars regarding issues that are important to you. Without having to leave their site, you may be able to research and compare Medicare coverage options, request proposals, and even enroll in some Medicare Advantage plans.
Service after the sale Your relationship with your broker doesn’t end at the sale. Instead, your insurance sales agent may be an advocate for you in the years to come, helping you address concerns with your insurance coverage. A broker can help you review your healthcare coverage needs annually so that, as time goes by, you will continue to have the right plan for any changing needs.