The Best person is someone that knows what they’re talking about. But first, let’s go over who you shouldn’t talk to about Medicare-
Calling Medicare seems like a good option and everyone you speak to is very helpful but sometimes you may reach an individual that my inadvertently omit something important. There are very helpful in terms of signing up for Medicare but they are not well versed in the different types of Insurance Plans that are available to offset Medicare Cost Sharing(See “What Does Medicare Cost?”)
Friends and Family–
Well meaning and usually inaccurate. People generally think that the choice they made is the best choice and you should do what they did. It doesn’t work that way. Everybody’s situation is different, different Doctors, Medications etc. therefore their insurance plan should be different too.
Let’s face it, their number one goal is to get you to call so they can sell you something, clearly not in your best interest.
Official Looking Mail Pieces-
Medicare does not mail stuff to you to get you to call. Beware of giveaways that require you to fill out a postage paid information card. They will call you and try to sell you something.
DON’T- fill anything out. DELETE it. If you do this you can count on endless phone calls, robocalls, texts and emails and you will not get the information you are looking for.
The Captive Agent-
The Captive agent is an employee of an Insurance Carrier and they only represent plans offered by that carrier. That doesn’t always end up being the right choice for many individuals. You will not get a good comparison between plans especially in areas of Medication Costs, Copays and Doctor/Hospital Networks. While the Captive Agent is well meaning, he/she is motivated by sales quotas and volume which does not translate to getting the necessary comparisons for an informed decision.
After Enrollment Service-
The Captive Agent is usually reached via call center which could have thousands of agents helping prospective clients. This means that you will never speak to that agent again and be routed to a different department depending upon the issue you are having. This could also result in being placed on hold for an undetermined length of time and possible never getting the issue resolved.
The person you Should talk to is a Broker or Medicare Specialist. Why?
The Medicare Specialist is Licensed–
The Medicare Specialist cannot place Health Insurance without being Licensed in your state. This also means that he/she must renew that license every couple of years which involves Continuous Education courses to be completed prior to renewal. This insures the Medicare Specialist is up to date with current industry trends and the latest Health Insurance information.
The Medicare Specialist is Certified with CMS(Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)-
The Medicare Specialist must recertify each year with CMS. This involves and intensive study of Medicare rules and regs. This is especially important because it focuses on your experience with the process. The Medicare Specialist also has to pass an exam with a minimum of a 90 or He/She will not be able discuss Medicare/Medicare Health Insurance with prospective clients for the following year.
The Medicare Specialist is Certified with Multiple Insurance Carriers–
The Medicare Specialist works for you not the Insurance Carriers. This means that He/She can offer comparisons between different carriers which will identify all the available options and help the client make an informed decision which will result in the client getting the Insurance Plan most suitable for their needs.
You Can Reach the Medicare Specialist after The Enrollment-
This is the most important aspect of all. Being able to reach the individual that enrolled you in a particular plan is critical especially if Health Issues arise, Medications change, moving to another location or just questions in general. The Medicare Specialist is not only available during the day but can be reached during evenings and weekends. The Specialist can be reached by cell phone so there will be no call center or hold times. The Medicare Specialist is dedicated to the client’s satisfaction and is able to assist in changing the chosen plan to a different one if circumstances change.
The whole point is to get the answers you need to make the right choice. The wrong choice could cost thousands. Also, some individuals do not have to sign up if they are still employed by an employer with over 20 employees. Your Local Medicare Specialist will have the answers you are looking for.