Medicare advisors are often times independent insurance agents, but they can also be Medicare brokers and Medicare underwriters. Advisers typically work for private companies that are under contract with Medicare to sell certain types of Medicare plans, such as Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.
If you’re close to enrolling in Medicare, then the chances are that you know some people in the program already. It is always helpful to talk to family and trusted friends about their personal experiences because nothing beats a first-hand account from someone you trust. The Internet is also a helpful place to start when you begin looking into various Medicare insurance plan options. However, nothing will beat the expertise of a licensed advisor. Advisors are given direct access to insurance carrier information that can be difficult to find online, and they are familiar with all of the Medicare jargon that can be highly confusing.
Of course, not all advisors are the same, so it’s good to find one who is well versed in Medicare’s details and will give you an unbiased opinion of the pros and cons of the different Medicare plans. The best advisor is one who will find the best plan to suit your healthcare needs while also saving you as much money as possible.
Who are Medicare Advisors?
As we said earlier, Medicare advisors are usually licensed, independent insurance agents. The agent’s goal is to always help you select and enroll in the health plan that most suits your individual needs.
There are two main types of agents.
- Independent agents can partner with and sell Medicare policies for multiple insurance providers. Independent agents can choose specific health policies to offer you from the multitude of providers they work with.
- A captive agent works for and sells insurance policies from only one company.
What to Expect When You Meet with a Medicare Advisor
Advisors representing Medicare plans have certain rules they must follow. Because these advisors are connected back to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid, you rest assured that the federal government and its contractors heavily scrutinize licensed advisors.
One important rule to remember is that a Medicare advisor cannot come to your home without an appointment. Advisors are not door-to-door salespeople, so if someone shows up to your doorstep trying to sell you a Medicare plan, you should promptly tell them “No thank you” and close your door.
If you make an appointment at your home or in the advisor’s office, the Medicare advisor must document the plan options you wish to discuss.
Additionally, suppose you do make an appointment with an advisor either in your home, at their office, or over the phone/computer. In that case, the Medicare advisor must document the plan options you wish to discuss.
What Medicare Advisors Can Do at Your Meeting
- An advisor can give you business cards to pass on later to friends and family
- An advisor can provide you with an enrollment form
- An advisor can provide you with plan materials
- An advisor can tell you how to get more information on a plan
When you meet with an advisor, you are entitled to certain rights. And while there are rules about what advisors can do, there are, of course, rules about what they cannot do as well.
What Medicare Advisors Cannot Do at Your Meeting
- An advisor cannot tell you about plan options that you have not agreed to discuss.
- An advisor cannot ask for names, addresses, or phone numbers of your friends or relatives
- An advisor cannot ask for your credit card or bank account information
- An advisor cannot ask you to sign an enrollment form before you are ready to enroll in a plan
- An advisor cannot offer you cash, rebates, or other inducements worth more than $15 to purchase a particular plan
- An advisor cannot pressure you to join any plan
- An advisor cannot sell you any other products that are not health care related, such as life insurance or annuities
If you talk with a Medicare Advisor and he or she breaks any of these rules, you should immediately contact Medicare by calling 1-800-633-4227
How Much Will an Advisor Charge Me?
Perhaps the best part about Medicare insurance Advisors is that they are free to use. If an advisor is “captive,” this typically means that they are paid directly by one insurance company. Independent agents, on the other hand, will have contracts with multiple carriers. Either way, the service is free for you to use.
If you are visiting with an agent and they are trying to charge you any kind of service fee, you should be wary about using their services. They should not charge you for their work. Agents should also never pressure you into buying a plan.
Why Should I Work with an Advisor?
There is no rule stating that you have to work with an Advisor, but there can be many benefits to doing so.
- Navigating Medicare is complex – there are numerous rules guiding the program, and more rules and regulations are added every year. On top of Medicare’s rules, there are many different insurance companies, plans, plan combinations, benefits and more, which only serve to add to the confusion. Investing in a quality healthcare plan is critical to both your physical and financial health, so having expert guidance throughout this process is important.
- Additionally, advisors that sell Medicare products are tested every single year in order to retain their license. Because of this, you know you’re getting a true expert to help you enroll in a plan.
- Searching Multiple Companies
- Locking in the best insurance plan for you will likely involve crosschecking multiple plans across multiple insurance companies. If you work with an independent Medicare advisor, they will typically represent multiple companies. This means that they can give you the plan option from multiple carriers, which increases your odds of finding the perfect plan for your situation.
Now that you know a bit about how Medicare advisors work and the benefits of having their free services on your side, feel free to give us a call or drop us an email. Our licensed experts would love to work with you to find you the best Medicare healthcare plan available.