Why You Should Use a Licensed Medicare Insurance Agent?
Why Do You Need a Medicare Agent?
Many who turn 65 realize why they need a licensed Medicare insurance agent specializing in Medicare planning. Insurance companies and insurance agents inundated you with letters, postcards, brochures, booklets, and phone calls. You need to contact the FBI for witness protection to avoid the bombardment you get from all the phone calls.
Anyone going through the experience of turning 65 and going on Medicare knows the anxiety, confusion, and overwhelming nature of the situation. There are all these insurance companies and hundreds of Medicare plans. Add in your unique mix of medications and personal health requirements. Include the foreign language called Medicare, and your head is spinning with all the stuff.
It would be best if you had someone, but whom do you trust. You turn to friends and relatives for advice. Their information is confusing and contradictory. Friends and relatives may be trustworthy, but do they really know what they are talking about?
You may hear horror stories from others–-whether real, imagined, or exaggerated–-about going on Medicare. How do you avoid the mistakes others have made?
You Need Someone Knowledgeable You Can Trust
You need an honest, knowledgeable, and experienced licensed Medicare insurance agent who does Medicare planning. His task is to educate you on Medicare, explain the various plans, and guide you through the process of enrolling in Medicare, searching for a plan, and implimenting that plan. And, after you are on Medicare, he needs to monitor your situation so that he can respond to any issues or changes in your circumstances. Things are always changing including with Medicare.
What Does a Real Independent Licensed Medicare Insurance Agent Do?
A real independent, licensed Medicare insurance agent, knows what to do. He has more knowledge than what is gained from just passing the state insurance licensing exam. Experienced agents work with Medicare, insurance companies, and clients. They get constant feedback on what is working or not. Licensed agents know the process of enrolling in Medicare and enrolling in a Medicare plan. He knows all this information because he is licensed, certified, trained, and experienced.
Which surgeon would you like operating on you? A surgeon who just passed his state licensing exam or one who has practiced for a decade with thousands of surgeries under his belt? Experience, experience, and more experience. With any professional, you hope he has worked out all his mistakes on someone else.
Insurance Agent Problems
The barrier to entry into the insurance business is shallow. You only need to pass the state license exam. Consequently, hundreds of people are getting into the Medicare insurance business, particularly in the Omaha Metro area, each year.
They know very little about insurance, Medicare, and insurance plans. The newbie agents often reflect the prejudices and biases of insurance companies that recruited them. These newbies do not know what they don’t know. They don’t know they are pawns and being used. They see an opportunity to make “big, easy money.” That is how the recruiters present the job. So most newbie agents fail and quit pretty quickly because there is no “big, easy money.”
Should I Use A Medicare Broker?
An experienced, independent, licensed Medicare agent can teach you about Medicare. He can make the Medicare & You Handbook make sense.
If he is independent, he is a broker. He can show you many Medigap plans and Medicare Advantage plans. He is not restricted to one company. There are no restrictions on the product he can present. Brokers are like grocery stores full of products. He can explain Medicare Supplements (Medigap) policies A thru N. He shows the pricing of all the major and minor supplements. An experienced agent should know the history of the companies he offers and how they have done business over the years.
In the Omaha, Lincoln, and Council Bluffs Metro area, over 30+ insurance companies offer over 300+ Medicare Supplement, 7 insurance companies offer 26 Medicare Advantage plans, and 10 insurance companies offer 22 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. It sounds overwhelming, but we have a simple, logical process that narrows your selection down quickly.
An independent licensed Medicare agent can explain Medicare Advantage/Part C without prejudice, talking about the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage, the various companies, and the particular plans, especially in relationship to Original Medicare and Medigap policies.
An independent licensed Medicare agent can go through your list of prescription medications and show you which plans are better because of coverage, price, and rating.
This process is not full proof assuming you find such an agent because consumers still make bad choices, hear what they want, or forget what they signed up for.
What Does A Licensed Medicare Agent Do?
A licensed Medicare agent should have a repeatable process he takes you through. He should educate you on Medicare. Without an understanding of Medicare, nothing makes sense.
Second, he should explain how the insurance products work with Medicare to complete or augment Medicare’s health coverage. After listening to your story, he then matches the insurance product to your unique needs.
The process of choosing a Medicare plan is not perfect because circumstances change. Unexpected things happen, but you have the assurance you made the best decision at that time.
What Is The Difference Between A Medicare Agent and Medicare Broker?
A broker or an independent licensed Medicare agent generally means they can offer several companies. Some agents are captive. They can offer only one or two companies because of their contractual obligation.
I’ve found some agents in the Omaha area misrepresent themselves. They tell prospective clients they are independent when they are not. How could you know she is a captive agent?
The simplest way to check is to go to the Nebraska or Iowa Department of Insurance website–any state insurance department. There will be a tab for Agent and Agency search. Type in the agent’s name. You will see all the information you need. The insurance department lists the agent’s insurance company appointments, in other words, who they can sell. If there are only one or two companies, they are not brokers.
How Are Licensed Medicare Agents Paid?
The insurance companies pay the agents when they enroll you in a plan. If the agent is selling a Medicare Supplement, he is paid a percentage of the monthly premium. If he sells a Medicare Advantage plan, the commission is a flat payment that Medicare determines. The commission is the same amount among all the insurance companies in that state. With Medicare Advantage plans, the first-year Medicare Advantage commission is more than the if the person had already been on Medicare for a year or more.
Going Agent-Less Gains You Nothing
People have asked me if they would save money going directly to the insurance carrier. No. The price is exactly the same. The difference is that you do not have an agent. You have the 800-number of the insurance company. When you call the company with questions, you will speak with a different person every time. You will probably get different answers depending on the person you speak with.
When you have problems with the supplement or advantage plan, I can guarantee you that the insurance company will not tell you to go to another insurance company.
Since we are brokers, our only concern is the well-being and happiness of our clients, so if the problem cannot be resolved, there are always other companies that will take your business.
Are Medicare Advisors Free?
Medicare insurance agents do not cost you anything. Their compensation is the commission they receive from enrolling you in the Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan. You need not pay anything in addition. As a matter of fact, the insurance company pays the agent for the clients they retain.
The idea behind the commission renewal is that the agent will continue to service you. Unfortunately, it does not seem to work that way. Many people referred to me who are already on Medicare have no idea who their agent is. I cannot say how often someone comes to me for help with their Medicare plan. Clients refer their friends and relatives. I always ask who their agent is. ‘What’s that?’ Of course, some agents are out of the business. That is the main reason, but others are still licensed and receiving renewals. They just don’t do anything because they’re lazy.
Good Medicare Insurance Agents Stay in Touch
We actively engage clients because we want to serve you. And we want more of you. We want you to refer your family and friends to us! So we call, email, and send letters, especially during the Annual Election Period (AEP) October 15th–December 7th. I also like to call on birthdays because the price is likely to increase if you are on a Medicare Supplement. I want to check if a less expensive supplement may be available with the same coverage.
Some people are do-it-yourself-ers. I understand that, but I think it is a mistake. There is so much to consider regarding Medicare health insurance that an amateur will do an amateur job. That being said, some agents are amateurs too.
A genuinely independent, experienced, licensed Medicare insurance agent will educate you on Medicare, show you all the available plans, and help match that plan to your unique needs at that time at no cost to you. He will be there for you over the years as your needs and circumstances change. That is why you want an experienced, independent, licensed Medicare insurance agent taking care of you.
Give us a call at 402-614-3389, so we can take care of you.