Medicare Insurance AgentCategory:
Finding a Medicare advisor in Omaha, NE, is not difficult. If you are turning 65, marketing companies sell your contact information, including birthday and phone numbers, to insurance agents. Lead companies are mailing you business reply cards (BRC) in hope that you will fill them out and mail them back in. Direct mail marketing companies are sending you postcards, flyers, and brochures because they want you to call their 800-Medicare number. Joe Namath and Jimmy J.J. Walker are on an endless loop of commercials coming into your living room telling you about the unbelievable Medicare benefits you do not qualify for. Dynomite!
You will have to contact the FBI witness protection program to avoid the onslaught leveled against you as you approach Medicare eligibility!
Just Having An Insurance License Does Not Make You A Medicare Advisor
As you age into Medicare, an army is coming after you–an army of insurance agents. Some insurance agents, like me, have been around for a while. I earned my Nebraska & Iowa insurance licenses in 2003. Other agents just get their license for the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) when Medicare beneficiaries can change their Medicare plans. During those seven weeks of Medicare Annual Election Period AEP (Oct 15th–Dec 7th)–sometimes called “Open Enrollment”—Medicare insurance agents in Omaha, NE, are looking to make some money. They want to get new Medicare clients who are looking to change their Medicare plans.
People, however, are trying to find a Medicare advisor in Omaha, Ne, who is knowledgeable, competent, and trustworthy.
What Does It Take To Become A Medicare Insurance Agent in Nebraska?
A Nebraska insurance license only means that you passed the licensing test and paid the $50 licensing fee. It doesn’t tell you how many times the person took the test to finally pass. It doesn’t tell you her score. You cannot even determine how long the person has been licensed, though you can find out their license number on the Nebraska Department of Insurance website.
While doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, and even hairdressers go through a lengthy and difficult training and testing process, insurance agents for Medicare do not. I do not say this with any sort of pride, but as a matter of fact. Many of my fellow Medicare agents in Omaha, NE, have little or no training, are doing this as a temporary part-time gig, and/or will probably let their license drop at the end of the year.
Baby Boomers Increased The Demand For Medicare Advisors
Medicare health insurance is a federal program that began in 1965. The government created it because most insurance companies did not offer affordable health insurance to seniors. Congress intervened to create a program to protect seniors who were going bankrupt handling healthcare as the American population was living significantly longer in large numbers by the 1960s.
Insurance companies quickly developed insurance products to supplement Medicare where it was lacking. Insurance agents started selling these Medicare supplements. As the baby boomers started aging into Medicare, the demand exploded. There was more demand than what insurance companies and agencies could handle, so they began mass recruiting to find people to sell Medicare supplements. Recruiters promised the usual things to attract large numbers of people–huge sums of money and easy work.
The sales pitch works because each year, thousands of people get their insurance licenses and become Medicare advisors in Omaha, NE, but quickly they find the work is not easy and they do not become rich overnight. Consequently, after they sell to a few friends and relatives, they let their license lapse. The people they signed up then lose their agent.
The Fallout from Poor Medicare Advisors
The consequence is Medicare beneficiaries are left on their own with an insurance product they probably do not understand in a health insurance program that is as foreign as a foreign language. The agent-less persons are now older. Their needs and circumstances are probably changed, and their income is even more limited. It is a bad situation.
While Medicare is not rocket science and I am not a brain surgeon, Medicare and Medicare insurance products have a certain level of complexity. A person needs a knowledgeable advisor to help them avoid pitfalls and maximize their benefits because Medicare and insurance products are always changing.
Independent Medicare Advisors in Omaha, NE
We are independent Medicare advisors in Omaha, NE. That means we do not work for an insurance company. We are not captive to an insurance company restricted to selling only one company or brand. We offer a large variety of companies in Nebraska and Iowa–the big names and the small. They all pay us the same commission, so there is no incentive to offer one company over the other. We are Omaha, Nebraska, Medicare insurance brokers, so we look for the best deal for our clients.
How to Pick a Good Medicare Insurance Agent in Omaha, NE
First, we offer both Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage. These are both great options for those whom they fit. Our goal is to educate you on Medicare. The official Medicare handbook, Medicare & You, is over 120 pages of incredibly dull reading. We make it simple and understandable.
Secondly, we show you the actual Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans. Our software pulls together the policies and prices in nice neat rows and columns so you can compare and contrast. You can see the plans on one big four-foot computer screen, and we print out the quotes on one sheet of paper you can take with you.
From my experience, people come to us with separate quotes from various companies and a number of different agents. The mess of papers adds to your confusion. We pull the data up and let you see all the copays, co-insurance, maximum out-of-pocket, and premiums. It is only when you can look at them side-by-side on one computer screen and sheet of paper you can really see and compare.
We print out the quotes so you can take the material home with you. There shouldn’t be any pressure to decide or buy ‘right now.’ Picking a Medicare plan should not be a rush.
Finally, we find out about you and how you wish to manage your healthcare needs. Everyone is unique in how they wish to handle healthcare. Some of that has to do with your personality. Other reasons are your health. Your budget is an important determining factor. We work with you to see what fits you and is most comfortable for you.
Find A Medicare Advisor in Omaha, NE
You will be on Medicare hopefully for a long time. You want your Medicare advisor in Omaha, NE, to walk with you during that time to help you adjust and change as needs and times change. This is an important relationship for the long haul. Give us a call and find out how we help 402-614-3389.
#1. A Good Medicare Insurance Agent Should Ask “What Kind of Prescription Medications You Are Taking?”
After almost a decade of being a Medicare insurance agent, I still get nervous when prospective clients push their list of medications across the conference table. When I look at the list, I either tense up or breathe a sigh of relief.
Medication Costs Can Be Devastating
As a licensed Medicare agent in Omaha, Nebraska for more than 10 years, I see examples of this every day. Yesterday I was completing an application for a relative of mine in Texas. He is a great guy. Jim is older than me. I remember playing together when we were kids. He was like a big brother. Being the firstborn in my family, I didn’t have an older brother, so I idolized Jim.
Jim is retiring in a few days. He is bone tired and is looking forward to getting out of the rat race. For the past year, his doctor gave him samples of Entresto for his heart. The manufacturer offered coupons for the medication too, but those stop once you are on Medicare. He was mainly paying nothing for it. When I told him the medication was around $600 a month, you could feel the ice-cold silence through the phone.
The Reality of A Fixed Income
On the Medicare Part D plan, the deductible would be $445 upfront, and the monthly dose would be $47 per month. After his icy pause, the response that we Medicare Insurance Agents hear too often came, “I can’t pay that.”
Like many people going on Medicare and retiring, his Social Security is really all he has. Even a part-time job isn’t a viable option when his body and nerves are shot. So I took a big swallow.
Jim thought I had it wrong or made a mistake. I explained the reality to him about Medicare Part D and prescription costs if you are on high-dollar medications. I don’t think he believed me even after that.
His response was he would quit the medication, which is what many of my Medicare insurance clients say. And a few do that. Others listen to their doctor, a pleading spouse and children, or their body that sometimes tells them they need the medication.
A Medicare Insurance Agent Should Find Out The Medication Costs At the Beginning
It is painful to watch people go through this. Consequently, I have learned early on as a Medicare insurance agent to find out what medications people are on right away. The various software, including the Medicare.gov website, are helpful–though not infallible. I explain to clients the reality that sometimes Medicare and the Medicare insurance companies make mistakes in listing their medications. They may take medications off the formulary or raise the tier level. Consequently, even if we do everything right, there may be some surprises down the road on their medications.
As a longtime Medicare insurance agent, an old trick I’ve seen insurance companies pull is to put a medium-cost medication in tier 3, so you get hit with the deductible versus keeping it in tier 2, where it has been for a long time.
Fortunately, most of these problems are infrequent, but expensive medications, like Entresto, insulin, or other anti-diabetic medications, can be bank-breaking.
If you are on no medications, very few medications, or inexpensive medications, God bless you. Of course, circumstances can always change, but you should still understand that a good Medicare insurance agent will very carefully ask about your medications and conscientiously show you the plans that best address those medication needs. “What are your medications?” is a very important question, and it should be one of the first.
#2. A Good Medicare Insurance Agent Should Ask “How Do You Handle Risk?”
When you go to the casino, which slot machines do you play? The nickel slots? The quarter slots? Or the dollar slots? Or don’t you play at all?
Everyone handles risk differently. When I was in the investment side of financial services, before becoming a Medicare agent, we would put clients through a risk assessment. We walked them through several scenarios of their investments going up and down based upon the level of risk they were willing to take.
Of course, everyone was happy when the investments went up, and no one was happy when the investments went down. They understood, however, unless they were going to put their money in a can and bury it in the dirt, they would have to assume some level of risk.
What Is Your Tolerance For Risk?
People’s risk tolerance was all over the board. Some were conservative. Others moderate. A small group was high-risk takers. In the end, they would sign and date the risk assessment form, and it was put in their file. Then, the investment advisor would invest their money based upon how much risk they were willing to take. What does this have to do with Medicare insurance? I’ll explain.
I remember when clients came back during downtimes in the market. All of them were angry that their assets went down. The advisor showed them the history of the different asset classes and how they go up and down depending on markets and the type of assets. Clients were not impressed.
In the end, the clients complained their money went down too far. So then the advisor pulled out the risk assessment the clients all had completed months or years earlier. Right there in black and white was their signature next to the level of risk they were willing to assume, and their assets went down precisely what was predicted.
When the asset went up, they never called. A Medicare insurance agent should be testing your ability to handle risk.
Over the years, in my role as a Medicare insurance agent, I have talked with clients months and years after choosing their Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap policy. I go through the same presentation with everyone. Thousands of clients have heard the exact same words over the years. I could do it in a coma.
People still come back and say I didn’t think the copays on my Advantage plan would end up being this much. I didn’t think my supplement premium would go up this high.
Whether you purchase a Medicare supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan, there are costs. Over time and as you age, those costs will go up. Unavoidable. The reality of those costs hit us differently than the idea of those costs when we are considering our options. It is crucial when considering your options to look at how you have handled risk in the past.
Did you pick the car insurance or the homeowners insurance with the high deductible? Were you ok when s__t happened?
Or did you pay the much more expensive premium, so you didn’t have a hefty deductible? Or did you switch after a while? That will tell you more about the type of Medicare insurance you should choose. How do you handle risk?
#3. A Good Medicare Insurance Agent Should Ask “Which Way? Pay As You Go Or Pay Upfront?”
Would you prefer to pay upfront and not worry, or would you rather pay when you actually use the service?
I love to travel. Over the years, I have been all over the United States and the world for pleasure and business. No style of travel is more appealing. I have gone on tours. Put some stuff in a knapsack and just gone out the door with no place in mind.
Depending on what I’m doing and how much money I have for the project, I make my strategic travel plans.
When I have gone on the cheap, I pay for the bare minimum. It saves money. I don’t mind sleeping on overnight trains and park benches–at least when I was younger. I paid for things when I wanted them or really needed them.
Other times, usually when I had more money, I did the all-inclusive thing. I didn’t have to worry about the nickel-and-dime stuff. I was comfortable with everything being taken care of and paying a lot for it.
Two different styles. Two different experiences. Two different outcomes. What type of experience do you want? As a Medicare insurance agent, that’s a question I need to ask.
What Kind of Experience Do You Want with Medicare?
Medicare Advantage is pay as you go. You don’t pay any copays unless you see a doctor, get a test, have surgery. The nice thing is you save money at that moment. But when something serious happens, like cancer treatment, you may be paying thousands of dollars–with a limit–for that year.
On the supplement side, you pay your monthly premium. Remember, this premium will keep going up each year. So when you are probably your healthiest on Medicare in those initial years, you may not use Medicare and your supplement much, but you are paying.
As you get older, the premium will go up. It may double at some point from what you initially paid when you turned 65. At that point, you are older. You are starting to have medical needs, but nothing serious yet. Do you change to an Advantage plan because supplement premiums are going up? But now the likelihood of something costly happening during the twilight years of life significantly increases. You have already forked out a considerable sum on Medigap premium. Do you keep trudging along and pay increasing premiums, or do you cut your losses? Do you risk potentially high copays or pay certain higher premiums? What if I can’t afford Medicare premiums anymore?
Which scenario is less damning? What do the questions cause you to think and feel?
A good Medicare insurance agent asks these hard questions, but only you can answer them.