If you’re on Medicare – you can get Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Supplement and PDP plan two ways; with an agent or on your own. As I’ve written before, it’s entirely possible for you to do this on your own, if you’re the research and web-savvy type. However I’d wager over 75% of folks use an agent to help them make their Medicare insurance coverage choices. If you have an agent, great. If you don’t, you may have insurance agents asking you if you’d like to review your coverage from time to time. After all, what you picked at age 65 may not meet your needs today. Medicare insurance isn’t a “set it and forget it” item. Annual review and evaluation of your current health conditions, prescription drugs and health plan changes is a very good habit to keep.
While people will oftentimes refer to Medicare as just one, single form of coverage, the reality is that you have a number of different options when it comes to implementing your benefits. Knowing what your choices are, and how they work, can help you with narrowing down which alternative is best for you.
Before you sign up for a new or different Medicare plan, be sure that you evaluate all of your potential options. Or, be sure your insurance agent can help you evaluate all of your potential options! That’s why,it may be beneficial for you to meet with more than just one Medicare agent.
Because there are many different Medicare coverage options to choose from – some of which are offered by insurance carriers – it is likely that you have been (or you soon will be) in touch with some sort of Medicare insurance agent who has asked to talk with you about your coverage. Remember, agents can’t just call you out of the blue. You have to request that they contact you, often by calling a Medicare insurance company and requesting some form of contact – an in-home visit, or what’s known as an agent callback. YOU have to initiate contact. Agents are strictly forbidden from knocking on doors.
Although most people of any age do not necessarily enjoy talking about insurance, meeting with more than one agent about your Medicare coverage options could actually have a number of nice benefits for you.
First, doing so can allow you to compare the different plans and coverage that you’re entitled to. So, if one particular option isn’t right, there could be an alternative that works better for you and your specific health care needs.
Likewise, as with other important purchases that you make, meeting with more than one representative will also give you the opportunity to compare premium prices, and in turn, to choose a plan that best aligns with both your needs and your budget. With that in mind, meeting with multiple representatives can help you to ensure that you’re getting the best option for you.
When you meet with an agent who represents Medicare plans, there are some specific guidelines that he or she is required to follow – starting with the fact that they may not just show up at your door unexpectedly. Rather, it is necessary for the agent to schedule a specific date and time to meet with you, as well as to clearly explain what it is that they will be discussing with you.
In order to ensure that your meetings with the Medicare agents are as productive and beneficial as possible, it can be helpful for you to compile a list of your anticipated health care expenses, along with the names of any prescription medications that you are taking. It can also be helpful to provide the agents an idea of your monthly budget.
In order for an agent to be qualified to offer Medicare plans, they must be appropriately licensed and trained. As a part of that training, agents who are doing their job properly will know that they should discuss several different alternatives with you (as versus just pushing one, single option), so that you can make the best possible choice. That’s why I like independent insurance agents, but you have to be ready and willing to separate the good ones from the bad ones. For more reading on the topic of insurance agents, click here to read my previous post “Do Commissions Influence Medicare Insurance Agents?”
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Author Bio: Ben started Prepare for Medicare in 2014 to help people help people get objective answers to questions about Medicare. He’s held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in product development, sales, marketing and strategy for over 20 years.