A Medicare agent’s goal is to educate you on your Medicare options so that you can make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage. Medicare is overwhelming – there are so many moving parts! A Medicare advisor breaks down those parts, explains how they work together, and then helps you enroll in the plans you choose.
What services do Medicare agents provide?
A Medicare advisor can assist you with a wide range of Medicare services.
First and foremost, they can educate you on how each component of the Medicare program works. While you don’t have to understand the intricate workings of the entire program, it’s good to have a basic understanding so that you can make informed decisions about your coverage.
Once you understand the Medicare program, a Medicare advisor can provide plan options and help you enroll in the plan(s) of your choice. Plans they can help you enroll in include (but are not limited to):
- Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)
- Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plans)
- Medicare Supplements (Medigap Plans)
- Dental, Vision, Hearing (DVH) Plans
- Cancer Policies
The only thing your Medicare advisor cannot do is enroll you in Medicare Parts A and B. That must be done yourself through the Social Security Administration.
Annual Medicare Plan Renewals
Once you’re enrolled in the plans, your plans will automatically renew each year unless you stop paying the monthly premiums. However, your Medicare advisor’s work isn’t finished! There are certain times of the year that your Medicare agent will reach out to you so that they can review your plans.
One of the most important times to do this is during the Annual Enrollment Period. This occurs each year from October 15 to December 7. During this time, you can change your Part C and Part D plans. Part C and Part D plans change each year, which is why it is especially important to review your plans during AEP. You may find better coverage, better rates, or both!
What is a captive Medicare agent?
There are two types of Medicare agents: captive and independent. A captive agent works for just one insurance company. They can only offer their clients the plans (and rates) that their company has.
What is an independent Medicare agent?
An independent Medicare agent can be contracted with multiple insurance companies, which is why it is beneficial to work with an independent agent instead of a captive agent. An independent agent will look at multiple plans under multiple carriers so that they can find the most competitive rates. In addition, they can see the history of rate increase for each carrier. Some insurance companies are known to increase their rates at a faster pace than others.
What is a Medicare broker?
A Medicare broker is the same as an independent agent. They offer insurance plans from many different carriers, which allows them to offer a wide variety of products. In some states, brokers have a fiduciary duty to provide their clients with the most beneficial coverage.
Why should I work with a Medicare agent?
Working with a Medicare agent, especially an independent one, will save you a lot of time, frustration, and probably money, too! An insurance agent who specializes in Medicare knows all the ins and outs of the program. While it is possible to learn all of it on your own, a Medicare advisor is always going to be knowledgeable on the most up-to-date information.
As we mentioned earlier, an independent Medicare advisor is also going to be able to compare plans and premiums across many insurance companies. You could do the same, but it would take many phone calls. Plus, an agent will be able to analyze the rate increases for each carrier.
How do Medicare agents get paid?
This is an excellent question! When our clients find out that they do not pay to use our services, they often wonder how we do get paid. The answer is: commissions. That’s an easy answer, but let’s talk more about what that means for you.
Since Medicare agents are paid a commission by the insurance company, that means that there is no additional cost for you to use their services. (If your agent is charging you a fee, you may want to consider hiring a new agent!)
Each time a Medicare advisor enrolls a client into a plan, they get paid an initial commission. If the client renews the policy the following year, they get paid a residual commission. This continues for as long as the client has the plan. This incentivizes the agent to find a plan that you like. If you terminate your plan or find out that another Medicare advisor has better options, your current agent doesn’t get paid.