As you are ramping up to start Medicare and Social Security, you realize that there is a ton of information on Medicare, plans, options, and how they work. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and people are looking to take advantage of soon-to-be Medicare beneficiaries that aren’t educated on how Medicare works yet.

Insurance agents sometimes get a bad rap, but most genuinely want to do their best to help you. We’ll let you know how a licensed insurance agent can work for your benefit.

Starting Medicare

As we go through life, we see how perceptions and how different people explain things can make them more confusing. The last thing you need when starting Medicare is to be more confused. Medicare is confusing enough with all the available parts, plans, and plan options.

One of the most important things is to find the right agent for you and have them help you by educating you through enrollment. Getting the same information from four or five different people or sources could cause confusion. This is natural, as all people explain and refer to things differently.

What is a needs analysis?

A needs analysis is a series of questions that your agent should go over with you. It will help determine which coverage type is best for you and which company is best for you.

Some example questions you can expect to hear are:

  • Do you travel for extended periods?
  • How often do you go to the doctor?
  • Do you have someone else in the household?
  • How many medications do you take?
  • Do you have any healthcare providers you have to or want to keep?

Additional needs analysis questions will help determine which coverage route fits your needs.

Understanding Your Options

A good Medicare agent will not rush into pricing but instead takes the time to educate and answer any questions you may have. They will assess your needs and wants and match you with a plan.

You have many options, and it’s crucial to understand them all. A good agent will explain the basics of Original Medicare in understandable and straightforward terms, then cover what options you have and how they work.

You must understand Medicare when you start, which will help you navigate and truly understand your options.

Agent vs. Broker

An insurance agent works for the insurance company, and an insurance broker works for you. Make sure the agent you choose offers multiple carriers and options. If an agent only offers one company, chances are they won’t be able to compare the options. They will steer you toward the plan they offer.

This is especially important when dealing with Medigap plans. If you get sick, you may be stuck on the plan you choose and not be able to change. If you went with a company that traditionally has high rate increases, you could be in a bind later. Your insurance agent should find out how the companies compare to each other.

Since a broker works with multiple companies, they can shop for the best price and plan for your needs. Remember, all brokers are agents, but not all agents are brokers.

Enrolling on your own vs. Enrolling with an agent

Depending on the plan type you’re choosing, you may enroll yourself. However, enrolling with an agent is better for a few reasons. First, you have an advocate to help you if you have issues with your coverage or claims.

Without an agent, it falls back on you to figure out what you need to do. Second, if there’s a mistake, you have someone to help you get it corrected.

Third and most importantly, if you choose the wrong plan because you didn’t understand how it works, there is nothing you can do about it in some cases. You should know precisely what coverage you choose when you use an agent.

One final note about working with an agent — they are free of charge to you. So you can use one without any financial obligation.

Can I enroll directly with someone from Medicare?

You can for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans, but remember that Medicare’s representatives aren’t the same as licensed insurance agents and don’t have the same level of knowledge.

They are hourly employees and only read the answers directly from their guidelines. If you enroll in a plan that doesn’t fit your needs with Medicare, you would have to prove to Medicare that it was their representatives who misled you.

Over the years, Medicare employees have told clients that their drugs are covered but have not checked them first. This extends to a client being told by a Medicare employee that a plan was the best coverage for him. The plan they enrolled him into did not coordinate benefits with his other coverage.

FAQs

What does a Medicare agent do?

A Medicare agent should be a wealth of information for your questions, be empathetic in listening to your actual needs and use both to direct you toward the best supplemental coverage you need for healthcare.

How do I find a Medicare agent?

If you’re looking for a licensed agent who knows their stuff and can lend a hand in helping you understand both Original Medicare and Supplemental Medicare plans, just fill out our form at the bottom of the page.

Otherwise, using the medicare.gov website will connect you with a representative of Medicare. Or you can fill out a form that allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf when dealing with Medicare or a licensed agent.

Are Medicare advisors free?

Whether you go with one of Medicare’s reps or a licensed insurance agent, utilizing their services is free.

Speak to an Agent

Original Medicare and Medicare’s other various parts can be confounding to many. Our licensed agents can benefit you by laying all your options on the table.

We’ll be glad to help you determine which coverages fit your situation. We have agents standing by that represent multiple carriers and options. Simply fill out our online request form, or give us a call. We are here to help you at this important time.

Written By:
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Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare editor for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.
Reviewed By:
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Rodolfo Marrero, Rodolfo Marrero is one of the co-founders at Medigap.com. He has been helping consumers find the right coverage since the site was founded in 2013. Rodolfo is a licensed insurance agent that works hand-in-hand with the team to ensure the accuracy of the content.