Are you approaching the age of 65 and ready to start looking into your Medicare options? Or perhaps you are already signed up for a Medicare health plan, but you are unhappy with your current services and are looking for a plan that fits you better. In either case, you will find that it’s often difficult to make decisions about Medicare insurance plans on your own because the options are extensive, and there are many factors that can affect your decisions or eligibility.
Navigating Medicare can be overwhelming. First, you must research and learn about all of the Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, and Medicare Supplement plans that are available to you. And then, you must make choices about which plans are best for you and your specific needs. You may choose to take on this research task on your own using advice and recommendations from family, friends, and the internet. Or, you can choose to use a Medicare insurance agent or broker to assist you.
Using a broker may be helpful to you for understanding your options and clearing up any confusion or questions you have about what Medicare plans offer and how each may apply to you and your needs. Continue reading to learn about Medicare Brokers to help you decide if working with a broker is the right move for you.
What is a Medicare Agent or Broker?
Medicare Agents and Brokers are those who are licensed for selling medicare or Medicaid services. Each is hired by insurance companies to understand and explain medicare plan options and help you enroll in your chosen plan. Their job descriptions are essentially the same, but there are some crucial distinctions between them.
Typically, the title of Agent refers to a person who is hired by a single insurance company to sell their specific insurance plans. When it comes to Medicare, captive agents will be specialized and know the ins and outs of every plan that their company has to offer. This can be beneficial if you have specific or pointed questions or if your circumstances warrant special considerations. It is also helpful to work with this type of agent if you already know the plan you wish to enroll in and simply need assistance. It is not helpful, though, if you are just beginning to learn about Medicare plans and need help understanding Medicare and the options that are offered as a whole. This is because single-company agents can only assist you with enrollment in their company’s plans, and there is no incentive for them to guide you in the direction of outside options, even if those plans may suit you and your needs better.
Brokers, on the other hand, operate as independent agents. Brokers typically work for an outside company and are hired by multiple insurance companies to sell insurance plans. This is especially helpful if you are looking to shop around for a deal or plan combination that fits your needs. Brokers will have special knowledge of what different companies have to offer and can ask questions that will point you in the right direction of the plan for you rather than trying to make you fit into a plan that they sell for a commission.
How Does a Broker Help?
Insurance brokers can assist you with every step of the enrollment process. For starters, they can shop insurance plans to help you find the best plan for you among the insurance companies they work with. Once you have decided on the coverage you would like to purchase, they can walk you through the enrollment process to ensure that you are signed up correctly.
One of the most beneficial ways a broker helps when signing up for Medicare is by explaining your additional options, such as Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan), Medigap Plan options, and other additional benefits you may be looking for.
How are Brokers Compensated?
Brokers are paid by the insurance company, not by you directly. Therefore, there is no upfront cost for you to work with an insurance broker. Agent or broker compensation comes when you successfully enroll in a plan. Typically, when an agent helps to enroll you in a plan, they will receive a percentage out of the premium you pay to the insurance company for the first year. After the first year, that percentage is usually halved, and the broker or agent will continue to receive that fee as long as you are successfully enrolled in the plan.
Because of this pay structure, it is in the interest of the broker to ensure that you are pleased with your enrollment choice and remain so. If you become unhappy with your choice, though, and would like to switch to another plan, your insurance broker can help you do so during open enrollment periods.
Things to Consider When Selecting a Medicare Broker
Before selecting a Broker to work with, there are a few considerations to make to ensure that you are working with the best person to help you. For instance, you should confirm their licensure with The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This can typically be done online or over the phone. Doing this ensures that you know you are working with a licensed broker who is up to date on standards and requirements.
Additionally, it is wise to check reviews and recommendations of the agent, broker, or company you choose to work with. Unfortunately, there are many scammers out there who try to swindle aging persons out of their hard-earned money. Further, not all brokers will have your best interest in mind when discussing your plan options. Therefore, by checking recommendations and reviews, you will know ahead of time if you are working with a broker who has a reputation for being fair, unbiased, and helpful.
Finding a Medicare Broker
Now that you are more familiar with what a Medicare Insurance Broker does and how they can help, are you ready to begin your search for the right plan for you? At Patriot Insurance, our licensed brokers specialize in helping you along every step of the way. Though you may qualify for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, they can only help you with information. They cannot assist you with the enrollment process.
Our Patriot Insurance Brokers desire to be your trusted source of information and assistance for all your Medicare needs. Call today to obtain your personalized quote.
Learn How to choose a Medicare Broker here: https://medicarehelp.healthpartners.com/blog/questions-to-ask-medicare-agents-brokers/