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The national directory of Medicare insurance brokers and agents for all 50 states is a free resource provided by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance.
Enter your Zip Code and click FIND AGENTS. No personal information is required to see the directory listing. You see their info.
Medicare is not simple, especially when you are new to the program. There are more options and choices available and it can take years to really become familiar with not just the choices – but all the various plan options available. And, plans change. The most popular option a few years ago may no longer be the best choice. You want someone who can answer why. When it comes to your Medicare choices, EXPERIENCE counts!
Some doctors are General Practitioners and others are specialists. When you need a doctor, you want to know one from the other. The same is true for Medicare plan options. It is a very LOCAL matter; right down to your Zip Code. As a result, some brokers offer just one option while others can discuss and offer both. It’s not that one is better than the other. But, it’s important to know and ask because OPTIONS can benefit you.
Some insurance folks sell only one company (they typically are referred to as ‘agents’ of that particular company). Others can sell multiple companies (referred to as brokers). More plan options doesn’t mean they have the best plan choice for you. But, if the person you are speaking with can only sell one plan, they are generally not going to tell you there are better options. BIAS can cost you in terms of benefits and paying too much. Something you likely want to avoid.
No one typically wants to be a surgeon’s first patient (though someone obviously has to). With Medicare plans, having some level of expertise is crucial and the more plans sold, generally the greater the broker’s expertise. They’ll know what local medical practices like and dislike about the insurance provider. They’ll know how rates have changed over the past few years. You don’t pay to work with an agent or broker. Nevertheless their EXPERTISE can be a priceless commodity you will avail yourself of.
Insurance agents and brokers only get paid when you buy something. Medicare drug plans can be complicated and helping you compare and choose can easily consumer an hour of their time. For that, they are likely to earn a commission of $25. For that reason, many insurance brokers don’t like to spend time helping with drug plans. But, this can be a most important part of your Medicare coverage and working with an agent willing to be HELPFUL can be extremely beneficial to you.
Most people base their decision on plan features, costs and the recommendation of the broker. And, it’s true that after you have coverage you are going to work directly with the provider or insurance company. But, what happens when you have questions or problems. It does happen. Will you be able to call the agent or broker or their office when you need SUPPORT? Or, will you be dialing in to a call center?
We talked earlier about expertise. Here’s a specific example to test the individual’s product knowledge. Ask how long the company has been in existence and the company’s history of rate increases. Switching Medicare coverage is not guaranteed. There can be limitations. That said, some studies report that as many as 40 percent of people switch plans. A broker’s PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE can ensure you get the right coverage for today and equally important for tomorrow.
Today (especially post-Covid) more Medicare insurance agents are selling over the phone and using Internet screen sharing when helping individuals. Some people however, still prefer to work face-to-face. It’s all a matter of what works for you. Your preference and your CONVENIENCE.
You want to choose a Medicare broker who is willing to spend the time you need to make this important choice. They only get paid (by the insurance company) when you apply and purchase coverage. We recognize some individuals take much longer to make a decision, so we don’t automatically blame agents who try to push things along. That said, you are the client and you want an agent who is a GOOD LISTENER. If he or she isn’t, know there are plenty who will gladly seek your business.
Granted, it’s unlikely you are going to actually call any the REFERRALS. But, it’s a good question to end our list with. An agent or broker should be glad to say (to someone they deem is serious) ‘of course’ I can. That alone may be all you need to know you are in good hands.
Compare them to the checklist of skills outlined above. Obviously scoring a 10 out of 10 is probably impossible. But, make sure you find an agent who checks many of the boxes that are most important to you.
He or she is the agent you want to give your business to.
Many thanks for reading our tips to help you choose a Medicare broker. This page. We welcome your comments and suggestions.
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