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If you decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or purchase Medicare Supplement (Medigap) coverage, you are almost guaranteed that you will be speaking with a licensed Medicare insurance agent. That’s great.
People spend all their time focusing on picking the right Medicare option. What many don’t know, is that picking the right Medicare agent can be a much more important decision. We’ll explain why. And, we’ll share some information you may not know.
The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance does NOT sell Medicare insurance.
FIND A MEDICARE AGENT NEAR YOU. We do make available a free online directory. You can use it to look-up Medicare insurance agents in your area.
Simply enter your Zip Code and the listing appears.
Click here to Find A Medicare Agent Nearest To You
Bet you think all agents are the same. You would be wrong.
There are basically 2 types of insurance agents.
CAPTIVE AGENTS can typically sell policies from just one company. That could be your best option. If it’s NOT your best choice, they will liukely NOT tell you that.
INDEPENDENT AGENTS can sell policies from multiple companies. They often are called BROKERS. Selling multiple companies sounds better. But two things to keep in mind. First they may only represent a few companies (and NOT the one that’s best for you). They may NOT represent the company represented by the captive agent.
Below we have suggested questions to ask an agent. Keep reading.
How they get paid matters. Because you don’t pay the agent for their time, knowledge and assistance. They are not working for free. You know better.
Some agents will work for Call Centers or other entities. They generally receive a salary. Often they get incentives when they sell policies.
Agents who are independent may work for an Agency or an insurance company. Typically they will get paid by the insurance company. Insurance companies typically pay FIRST YEAR and RENEWAL commissions.
These can vary based on the type of Medicare product you purchase.
Keep in mind that agents may receive only part of the commission. If they are independent, all their expenses (rent, car, telephone, etc.) must be paid from their commission earnings.
For example there are Maximum Compensation levels for Medicare Advantage. For 2022 the national Maximum broker compensation is: FIRST YEAR $573. RENEWAL: $287. Each year the amounts typically change. For 2023, the amounts are $601 and $301.
For Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap) the companies also pay First Year and Renewal amounts. These are typically a percentage of the premium you pay.
Medicare is complex. There are numerous options. Each option can have many choices. And the choices can (and do) change almost every year. Yikes!
Medicare is a national program. But Medicare plan choices are typically local. It’s all based on where you live (by County).
When you call a toll-free number, do you think the person on the other end really knows what’s happening where you live?
Take Medicare Advantage (MA). This may be your best choice. It’s the one you see being advertised so aggressively on TV. Depending on where you live, there could be no available options. Or there could be 30 or 40 different plans to compare and choose from. And, while the ads scream free this and free that, there are costs you need to be told about.
Or Medicare Supplement (Medigap). First, there are typically up to 10 different options. They are lettered A to N. Within each option you may find just a few insurers offering plans. For example, in New York City, only 4 Medigap insurers offer plans. In Chicago or Dallas there can be 30 different insurers competing for your business.
Medicare allows people to change plans. That’s great. Many people don’t (even when they are unhappy with their plan decision).
That’s because they don’t want to start all over.
But when you have a local Medicare agent working for you, you become their client. You can call them with questions. And, if your needs change, they will be there. They’ll know you.
That is something few people think about. It pays to Find A Medicare Agent who’ll work for you – today and tomorrow.
Here are a few questions to ask. They are designed to help you find someone you will be satisfied with.
Absolutely. You are never bound to an agency or an agent.
A new agent will generally NOT be paid on whatever Medicare plan you previously chose. So expect that they will want you to enroll in something different. That may be why you switched in the first place.
When shopping for Medicare, we believe information is power. And you should start by talking to multiple Medicare insurance professionals.
A local agent should be one.
Use the Association’s directory to find one.
You can Email them. Or call.
If you call, please say you found them on the Association’s website.
Find the best Medicare insurance statistics for Medicare Advantage and Medigap