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Difference Between Medicare Broker Medicare Agent

Do you know the difference between Medicare Broker Medicare Agent? Few seniors know the difference. But it matters if you want someone to help you get the best Medicare insurance coverage and the best, or lowest, cost. Here’s a quick explanation of the difference and some valuable tips for consumers.

Insurance agents and insurance brokers can both help you buy an insurance policy. Medicare Supplement (Medigap) are insurance policies. Medicare Advantage plans typically are too. And so are Medicare Prescription Drug coverage (Part D).
But here’s the importance difference:

Medicare Insurance Brokers can represent multiple insurance companies. They represent you and can help you shop for policies from multiple providers.

Medicare Agents represent the insurance provider (company) that employs them. They typically can only sell policies from that single provider.

Is One Better Than The Other?

There’s no simple answer. That’s why we suggest you speak to more than one person.

A Medicare agent selling plans from just one company may be offering you the best coverage available in your area. But that’s rarely the case.

A broker can discuss multiple plans available in your area. He or she will typically have a favorite. Again, that may be your best option. But not always. Brokers can sell plans from any company but they typically will favor just a few. Again, some comparison shopping is going to be your best way to get information and the best options.

Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement

Now you know the difference between brokers and agents. That’s just the first step.

You also have a choice between Original Medicare (Parts A & B) plus Medicare Supplement (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage (Part C). Choosing between the two is important, especially if you have some existing health conditions.

Some Medicare agents and some Medicare brokers can offer both.

But, not all can. Medicare Advantage typically has different requirements for agents. That’s why we specifically share questions to ask.

Find Local Medicare Brokers Medicare Agents


Click Above to Use The Association’s Directory Listing Medicare Brokers In Your Zip Code

Tips For Finding The Best Medicare Broker – Medicare Agent

  • Ask the ‘Appointed With’ question. Details below.
  • Request names of companies they can sell.
  • Do they sell Medicare Supplement (Medigap).
  • Can they offer Medicare Advantage plans.
  • How many years have they been selling Medicare insurance?
  • Test them on Pros and Cons, Rate Increases

The ‘Appointed With‘ question. In order to sell you a particular plan, the person must be ‘appointed’ with the specific company. An agent may only be appointed with one company. A broker will generally be appointed with multiple companies.

Ask the following; “how many Medicare insurance companies are you appointed with?” You’ll likely catch the person off guard. But now you’ll know whether they are agent (selling one company only) or a broker.

For brokers, follow-up with the following question; “which Medicare insurance companies are you appointed with?” Write down the names. If you see any missing, you may want to do some comparison shopping. At least ask why.

Finally, ask if they are able to sell both Medigap and Medicare Advantage. Or, do they only sell one of these options.

Medicare Broker Medicare Agent – A Few Key Questions

There are always Pros and Cons for every Medicare insurance plan option. Medicare Advantage plans may offer free drug benefits and other goodies. But they may impose high charges if you need hospitalization. They may limit your options to see specialists.

A knowledgeable Medicare professional should be willing to discuss the pros and cons of your choices.

With Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans, you should ask the agent or broker about the history of rate increases. We publish lots of information showing the significant pricing differences when you sign up for Medicare Supplement.

The cheapest plan today may not be the cheapest down the road if the company has a history of significant rate increases. It’s important to ask.

How Many People Should I Talk To?

We believe in speaking to more than one person. Until you find someone who you like, who you trust and who provides the level of service you want.

Medicare Insurance Call Centers: Today, many of the television ads promoting different Medicare plans will direct your call to a call center. Some will direct them to agents who are buying your lead. Either way, you should ask the same questions.

Is A Local Medicare Agent Better?

Yes. Here’s the one time the Association has a bias. Medicare is a national program. But your options are local.

Plans vary and are specific to where you live. One plan available in your area may not be available 20 miles away. And costs are based on where you live.

That is why we believe speaking with a local Medicare broker is in your best interest. Someone with knowledge and the ability to compare plans. And, one who knows what plans are working for others who live near you. They will likely know what doctors and other medical providers have to say about the plans.

So, is local better. We like to think so. At the very least, you should connect with one local Medicare insurance broker.

Additional Medicare Information You May Find Of Value

If you found this information helpful, here are additional items worth checking out. Click on any of the links (below).

2023 Illinois Medigap Insurance Costs Released

Best Medigap 2023 Prices Reported By Association

Is the Medicare Grocery Benefit a Scam?

New To Medicare Law Benefits Seniors Turning 65

2023 Texas Medicare Insurance Costs Released

Senate Report Slams Medicare Advantage Marketing Practices

Medicare Advantage Added Benefits Worth $2,000

About the Author

Jesse Slome

Jesse Slome
Medicare Insurance Expert
Director, American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance

Jesse Slome is a leading Medicare insurance expert and the founder and director of the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance (AAMSI). Since 1998 AAMSI has served to educate consumers and support insurance professionals who offer Medicare insurance plans.