Should I Use an Independent Medicare Insurance Agent?
When it comes to making decisions on and signing up for Medicare health care planning, you will have a few paths to consider. First, you could take the path of figuring everything thing out on your own and signing-up independently. Your second option is to talk to a captive agent that works for one insurance company. Finally, you can use an Independent Medicare Insurance Agent to help you make Medicare decisions.
FULL DISCLOSURE: If you have read up on your fearless author, you will know that I am an Independent Medicare Insurance Agent. Therefore, you can rightly assume that I am for using an independent agent or broker for Medicare help. However, I know there are different ways to tackle any one solution, so use this information to move you forward in the direction you for which you are most comfortable.
The Top Five Reasons to Work with an Independent Medicare Insurance Agent
1. Independent Agents Can Compare Companies
I decided on a career as an independent agent expressly because I enjoy helping people. Moreover, I feel proud to introduce seniors to our nation’s national health care system and the private insurance companies that administer both MA plans and supplements.
To compare, let’s define a captive insurance agent as an agent that works for just one insurance company. That agent can sign you up only for the plans that are offered by their employer. If one of their plans do not fit your needs, you will need to find another agent to help you. On the other hand, using an independent insurance agent for Medicare allows you to compare the multiple carriers they represent and the various plans they offer.
As an example, let’s say you are comparing Medicare Supplement Plans available in your area. Your independent agent might be contracted to sell multiple carriers and can look up the prices and find the best rate for you. Remember that Medigap (supplement) letter plan (i.e. Plan F) benefits are set by the government and often the only main difference will be price. In this instance, the more choices, the merrier (for your wallet)!
2. You Do Not Pay Medicare Insurance Agents
My clients do not pay me, and the government does not pay me. As an independent agent, I get paid by private insurance carriers when I place business with them. As mentioned in reason one, since I do not belong to any one carrier, I can help my clients look at many different options available to them.
An agent’s goal is to help you make the right decision for your needs without thinking about making money. We do need to make a living, but there are rules set with compensation that all the insurance companies comply with. As a result, getting paid with one carrier versus another is not going to make a big difference to an independent agent that has her client’s best interest in mind.
3. Your Independent Agent Can Help You Communicate with Insurance Carriers
This is a big reason to work with an independent agent that often gets overlooked. Your agent can help you work with your chosen insurance (carrier) company. If you sign-up with a carrier directly, you will have to work with them directly. This is fine, but let’s say you have a question or have a dispute. Your insurance agent can “go to bat” for you in helping you get your question answered or problem solved. Perhaps even faster than you could do it yourself.
Your agent will also stay on top of news and changes coming from your carrier and can alert you to anything you need to know or actions you need to take. This includes helping you to stay up on Medicare Part D plans and changes.
4. You Can Ask Your Agent Questions
Yes, yes you can. Call, email, text your insurance agent and they are there to help with your health insurance needs. Often times your agent will also be an expert in other kinds of insurance such as life, dental/vision/hearing, annuities, etc.
5. Your Agent Can Shop Rates/Plans for You in the Future
Much like car insurance these days, your premium rates might change over time, and you might have more options that become available in your area.
For supplement insurance, it is a good idea to shop your policy every once and a while to make sure you are not paying to much. Medical Underwriting becomes necessary for supplement switching when you are not in a guaranteed time of eligibility. As a result, you will want to work your agent hard while you are perhaps younger and hopefully healthier to keep on top of your supplement rates.
As for Medicare Advantage Plans, your agent can help you keep on top of the market to help you in deciding if you ever need to switch plans or companies.
Your Other Options
There may be reasons that you choose to not use an independent agent. You may end up using a captive agent, or you may end up doing everything by yourself, and this is just fine. If you want to go the solo route, or even just to get an overview of the market in your area, I suggest you visit the Medicare Government Website Plan Overview Page. Visiting this page before you visit with an agent is also a good idea so you can ask knowledgeable questions.
In conclusion, you might appreciate using an Independent Medicare Insurance Agent if you…
- Like to compare rates/plans
- Enjoy complimentary help
- Appreciate a company lesion
- Have occasional health care plan questions
- Like to keep up-to-date on market changes
If you are living “The Good Life” in my home state of Nebraska, I would ask that you give me a shot at being your Nebraska Independent Medicare Agent. Click here for my contact info.
If you are in any of our other fine 49 states, you can always reach out to ask me questions, but I can’t represent any companies or plans to you, but I encourage you to find an agent in your area. Word of mouth is always a good way to find an agent, so start by asking your friends and family who they use.