Independent Medicare Advisor – If you are nearing retirement agent or have recently made the transition to Medicare, you might have had quite a few insurance agents asking for your attention. They all claim they want to sell you the “best” plan and that they have the “best” options. But how do you know that’s true? Who can you trust?
There are four things you can look at when trying to choose the best Medicare advisor.
1. Choose an independent agent.
It’s in the title, but we wanted to make sure it wasn’t overlooked! There are two kinds of agents: independent agents and captive agents. Their jobs are exactly alike, but the options they can offer you are quite different.
Independent insurance agents are going to be able to offer you many more options when it comes to your Medicare coverage. They are contracted with multiple insurance companies, so they can search through many plans and many rates to make sure they find the one that fits your unique needs. In addition, they choose who they want to contract with and will pick the companies that have a long history, great customer service, and competitive pricing.
A captive agent can’t do that. “Captive” means they only work for one insurance company. While that company might be excellent and have great options, you won’t know if you’re getting the best ones. That agent will not be able to educate you on the other plans out there, nor will they be able to shop from different carriers according to your budget. Captive agents do a great job; they just won’t have nearly as many options as independent agents.
2. Make sure education is a big part of the conversation.
You can enroll in Medicare plans yourself. You don’t have to go through an agent or brokerage to enroll in a Medicare supplement, a Medicare Advantage plan, a Part D prescription drug plan, or any other type of insurance. The reason we suggest using an agent is that they should be educating you on the Medicare program, how each type of plan works, and what all your options are.
If you meet an agent who doesn’t take the time to make sure you know how Medicare works, you’re not getting all you should from them. Find someone who wants you to understand your Medicare coverage.
3. Do they give you several options?
If your agent presents just one option or seems to “push” one type of plan over another, this is a red flag. They should be talking to you about Medigap plans and Part C plans, not just one. They should also mention several insurance companies, not just one.
An agent should be advising you, not choosing for you. It’s our job to make sure you know what plans are available and how they would each work for you.
4. What happens after you enroll?
Once you enroll in Medicare, you’re going to be in the program for the rest of your life! That’s a lot of time, and so many things could happen. You might move, your medical needs or budget could change. In addition, the plans themselves will change each year. Both Medicare Advantage and Part D plans change every year. They might have different premiums, deductibles, coinsurance costs, networks, etc. If you’re enrolled in one or the other, you’ll need to have your plan reviewed every fall during the Annual Enrollment Period or AEP. Is your insurance agent going to help you with that?
Even if you enroll in a Medicare supplement insurance plan, your agent should be periodically checking your current rates and comparing them to other carriers on the market. If they find out they can save you money, they should be giving you a call.
And what about during the rest of the year? Can you call your agent if you have questions bout your plans? If that answer isn’t yes, you don’t have the right agent yet!
If you’re still looking for a Medicare insurance agent, look no further than Texas Medicare Advisors. Our licensed independent agents will make sure you get all of your questions taken care of, and we’ll help you decide what type of Medicare plans are right for you.