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Are you looking for a Medicare Insurance Agency? Here are some tips and questions to ask. They will help make you a smarter consumer whether you are just looking for Medicare information or seeking to select a plan.
Medicare is a national program. But Medicare plan options are local. They can vary based on where you live. And, the differences can be really important. What you’ll end up paying can vary (by a lot). Sometimes you can switch plans. And importantly, that’s not always.
Because Medicare plan options are local, we believe it’s smart to speak with at least one local Medicare insurance agent. Below we explain why. And, what questions to ask them.
If you want to find a local Medicare agent, simply enter your Zip Code in the banner on the right. Instantly, you’ll see a listing along with the agent’s photo and pertinent information. It’s completely private. You can call them. Or, email them.
The Medicare process can be overwhelming. That’s why you want someone who will listen to you and give you information. Your best option will be based on your specific needs, preferences and budget.
And, as we said, Medicare plan options are local. They can vary based on your Zip Code.
An insurance agency is simply a business. An agency can specialize in Medicare solutions. But most will actually offer all types of insurance such as health insurance, life insurance, long-term care and some financial insurance products like annuities.
You don’t need a “Medicare insurance agency”.
What you need is someone whop can help you find the right plan. That will either be a Medicare agent OR a Medicare broker.
What if we told you that the person you are speaking with could ONLY sell you Medicare insurance from ONE company? Do you think he or she will tell you about better options? Or a plan that costs less?
Wouldn’t you prefer to speak with someone who can sell you Medicare plans from multiple companies? Will their advice be less partial? Hopefully!
And that’s the big difference that few seniors are aware of.
An insurance agent (generally) ONLY can sell plans from one company. On the other hand, an insurance broker can represent and sell plans from multiple insurers.
Is one always better? Nope!
An insurance agent may represent the best option for you. Maybe the insurance company chooses to only offer their plans through agents.
And, someone who says “I’m a broker” may be selling more different plan options. But, typically, not all of them. That’s very important.
We don’t want to overwhelm you with many questions. Certainly there are more than four. But these are good ones to start with. Because when you get answers you’ll have a better idea of who you are speaking with.
QUESTION 1. Are you an insurance agent or broker – and can you tell me how many different insurance companies you are appointed to sell? The second part of the question is the giveaway.
The word appointed is insurance industry jargon. Simply it is the word used to indicate that the person has been appointed by the particular insurance company. They need to be appointed in order to sell the company’s particular plan. And, most important, they need to be appointed in order to be paid a commission when you buy.
Again, some insurance folks have decided to be agents for just one company. For example, UnitedHealthcare (AARP) has some people who are agents. They only sell this insurance. Others are brokers. They sell UnitedHealthcare along with other companies. Same plan typically.
Number 2. Do you sell BOTH Medicare Advantage AND Medicare Supplement (Medigap)? Today more people select Medicare Advantage plan coverage. But that doesn’t mean it was their best option. And, if the agent (or broker) you are speaking with only sells one of the options, guess which one they’ll try to convince you to buy.
Do all agents sell both? No. Their choice can be based on what plans are available locally. Remember, Medicare plan choices are local. Or, they may have strong beliefs that one option is better than the other. But today many insurance pros sell both.
The Association’s Find A Local Insurance Broker directory allows the person to add a description. They’ll say ‘I offer Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement (aka Medigap), etc.’
Question #3. Can you tell me the top 3 or 4 Medicare plans you sell to seniors in my area? Why are we suggesting you get names of insurance companies right at the get-go. First, it will tell you if the person is really willing to share info without making you feel obliged to buy something.
But here’s the more important reason. Because you are looking to hear which companies may be missing. As an example, if they don’t mention UnitedHealthcare then you know you should also find someone who can discuss that option. Or maybe they didn’t mention Blue Cross / Blue Shield. Then, again, you may want to find a second person so you can do a fair comparison.
The Last Question to ask. How many years have you been selling Medicare insurance plans. Does experience matter? We think it does. When you need surgery, don’t you want a surgeon with experience.
A new agent or broker will be trained. And he or she will likely want to work hard for you. That’s a good thing. So don’t automatically discard them. But someone who has been selling for a number of years will just know more.
Here’s an example. In 2022 several new insurance companies started offering Medigap plans. Big names. And in many markets they are cheaper than others. Now these are big insurance companies. We won’t say who but you’d know the names. Are they the cheapest in order to capture sales? Will they increase your premium in the years to come.
A broker with years of experience will know which insurance companies have raised premiums. So, does experience matter?
When it comes to finding the best Medicare plans, everything matters.
Thanks for reading.
The Association strives to provide seniors with valuable information and insights. Or goal, make you a better educated buyer. Because, we don’t sell insurance, we don’t favor one option over another. And if you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
The Association’s website works to provide the best Medicare insurance information. There is a lot of information. And, we know some gets dated. Please accept our apologies for that.
For the most recent Medicare insurance information go to our Information Center. Click the tab at the top.
Or for more tips on finding the top Medicare insurance plans, click the highlighted link.
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Find the best Medicare insurance plan information from the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance.
Do you have questions that aren’t answered here? Call the Association at 818-597-3227. Our goal is providing valuable information that will help seniors make better decisions. We look forward to hearing from you.