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Posted 07/02/2021 in Category 1

Five Reasons to Work with a Local Medicare Agent


Five Reasons to Work with a Local Medicare Agent

Five Reasons You Should Work with a Local Medicare Agent

 

If you have been searching “find a Medicare Agent near me” or “find a Medicare broker near me”, you are likely looking for someone who can help you, regardless of whether it’s for a Medicare Supplement Policy (AKA Medigap) or for a Medicare Advantage Plan (AKA Part C, MA, or MAPD).  

You already know that the number of resources available are nearly unlimited. You also know how time-consuming and confusing choosing a Medicare plan can be. How do you know which resources to use? Which plan to choose? How do you know who to trust?

There are so many options today. You’ve seen advertisements on TV, heard them on the radio, and seen them everywhere you look online. Chances are, you’ve even gotten a telemarketer (or ten) calling to sell you a plan over the phone.

It can be an absolute nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be.

That’s why finding a Medicare agent near you, an agent you can meet with, and who can get to know you and your unique circumstances, is so important. An individual Medicare agent will take the time to understand your needs and assess your priorities.

There are at least five reasons why you should choose to utilize the services of a local independent Medicare agent.

1. A local Medicare agent will educate you on all your Medicare choices.

The first thing an eligible Medicare individual needs to know is that they have two initial options when it comes to supplemental coverage for their Medicare plan. They can choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, or they can choose a Medigap policy. 

This is an important decision as there are distinct differences with each type of coverage. There isn’t a perfect plan- each individual must pick a plan that works best for them.

For example, someone who is interested in the extra benefits that a Medicare Advantage Plan can offer (some even offer groceries!), and the low monthly premiums (or none at all) might pick that plan.  

But someone interested in the ability to see any doctor who accepts Part B AND no pre-authorization for services might pick a Medigap plan.

Your local Medicare agent can help you understand the differences between these two plan types, and then once you’ve determined which way to go, your local agent can narrow down which plan to go with.  Sometimes a regional plan works better for you than a national one.

When you call from an advertisement with a famous sports star, you will likely be sent to a “call center” where they only offer certain plans.  The agents on the other end of the phone don’t understand your local community.  They don’t know the local doctors groups, the local hospitals, and the local regional plans.   These call center agents could be working on the other side of the country!

Your local Medicare agent understands your local area.  He or she will work directly with your needs to find out which type of supplemental coverage is best for you.

2. A local Medicare agent will show you a variety of carrier options, not just one.

The other day I was talking with my neighbor.  He asked why he should work with me instead of calling the insurance company directly.   

The answer is simple.   You won’t get all the information if you do that.

Sales agents for specific insurance carriers will only inform you of their own plans. They will not tell you how their plans compare to other companies – in price or in service. They work for the insurance company.  But your local Medicare broker works for YOU.

An independent Medicare agent has no loyalty to one specific insurance carrier. This means that they can evaluate all plans for you, securing one with the best price and service that also fits your specific needs.

They find the plan that works for you, they don’t try to find you to fit into their plan.  You know what they say…when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  You want a broker who can work with multiple Medigap, MAPD, and Prescription Drug plans in your local area.

If you choose a Medicare agent near you, one who understands the local resources, that agent will also be able to tell you (or help you research) what types of providers are available in your area. This is another important consideration because depending on the type of coverage you enroll in, you may need to seek a specific provider.

3. You’ll actually get to know your local independent Medicare agent.

After you enroll in a plan, you’ll want to stay in touch with the agent or carrier. Changes are made each year and you will need to stay informed how those changes may impact your coverage and premiums.

With a Medicare Supplement Plan, the plan itself doesn’t change but the premium (price) changes.   Also the company may be going through a merger.  The financial ratings might change.  And the customer service might change.

If you have Medicare Advantage, the plan itself changes every year.  You’ll want a local agent who knows what is going on with the plans, and who’s loyalty is to you, not the insurance company, so that you’ll get the proper recommendations each year.

If you enroll with a carrier directly, you will likely never again talk to the person who initially helped you pick a plan. They will have forgotten who you are, and you will be lost in their sea of customers.  The person on the other end of the phone doesn’t “service” their clients, the person on the toll free number does.  And it’s a different person every time you call.

With a local independent agent, however, you will continue to get the one-on-one direct customer service. You can stay in touch with your agent via phone, email, or even drop by their office if they have one.  (Many agents work out of their home, even pre-COVID).

Your local agent will likely reach out to you occasionally to inform you of any news or updates. 

You can reach out to your local agent to review your current plan and make future changes if they don’t reach out to you first.

4. A local Medicare agent can do most of the work for you.

Do you hate wasting time?  Do you loathe paperwork? 

Supplemental policy enrollment forms can be 10-15 pages long – and in teeny tiny print! If you are working with a local Medicare agent, they will likely fill all that out for you. You will simply answer the questions and they’ll take care of the rest.

Medicare Advantage Plans have shorter applications, but these plans can be tricky.  A local broker will take care to make sure that you understand the pros and cons of these plans so you aren’t caught off guard.   They are looking for a long-term relationship with you, not just a quick sale.

And of course, they’ll initially be able to filter out every plan they already know won’t suit your needs. They work with these plans every day, so they do not have to research each plan to find the best one for you. Once you explain what you’re looking for, the local agent should know which plans will and will not work for you.

5. Local independent Medicare agents are incentivized to maintain their relationship with you .

There is absolutely no additional cost for you to work with a local independent agent instead of directly with a carrier. You will pay the same premium in either situation.

So how are independent Medicare agents paid?

Medicare agents make a recurring commission from your policy. That means that if you drop your policy and switch to another agency, they no longer get the commission for your policy unless they are the one that helped you with the new policy. This means that every independent agent is incentivized to find you a plan that is valuable to you. Your best interests are in their best interests. 

If you are more interested in a Medicare Advantage Plan, the agent is still incentivized to keep you happy.  Although they are not paid a “commission” per se, they are paid a flat amount each year that set by the insurance company up to a cap that is set by Medicare.  If they aren’t providing the service you deserve and you use another agent to go to another plan, they lose their compensation for helping you each year.

That is not the case with sales agents in larger companies. They generally have a monthly or annual quota to meet. If you cancel your plan a month later, it really doesn’t matter to that agent.

But It matters to independent local Medicare agents.

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There are plenty more than just these five reasons to work with a local Medicare agent. It’s also nice to see the face of the person you are working with and give business to your local community. 

Click on the Find a Local Agent tab and type in your city or postal code on the right side of the page. You’ll be given a list of all Medicare agents near you.

Have more questions? Continue visiting our Home page where you’ll find information articles to begin familiarizing yourself with how Medicare supplement plans work.


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