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Medicare resources can be easily found online. But consumers tell us that they find some of them confusing. To help, the Association has created this page listing resources we believe can be most helpful.
Your best Medicare Resource can be just a phone call away.
Medicare is a national program. But Medicare plan options can be very local. And local plans can vary quite dramatically. Both in terms of costs and quality of coverage.
Here’s why a local Medicare insurance agent can be worth talking with. How to find a good one. And how they get paid.
First, click the link to access the Association’s directory of local Medicare insurance agents near me.
Not all Medicare plan options are the same. And not all Medicare insurance agents are the same.
Some can sell both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans. Others may only sell one (or the other). You need to know that so you’ll understand why they are pointing you in one direction or another.
Agents can be relatively new. Or they can have years of experience. That can matter in terms of what they know. Does a plan that looks good today have a history of problems?
Calls to toll-free numbers will connect you with an agent. Typically they will be in a call center. That’s not necessarily bad. But below we have some questions we suggest asking to make sure they are really working for you (not a particular insurance company or a particular Medicare plan).
State Health Insurance assistance Programs (SHIPs). These are state-run programs generally staffed by volunteers. As a result, feedback from seniors we have spoken to, reveal spotty information. Link to SHIP.
Medicare.gov is the official U.S. government website for people with Medicare. You won’t find more information anywhere else. However, it can all be overwhelming. And, there can be issues. We have a webpage that discusses what Medicare.gov misses.
AARP. AARP exists to support issues that matter to consumers. They make most of their money from insurance. So, as we always say, an educated consumer compares.
Medicare insurance statistics. The Association compiles information that we believe is of most value to consumers and agents.
General Medicare data and statistics. The Kaiser Family Foundation publishes a compendium of great data. Do a search online and you’ll likely find much of their information.
You can not buy a new car directly from Ford, General Motors or Toyota. It takes a car salesman at a dealership. Or, more recently, using one of the online services like Caravan.
The same is true for Medicare insurance. It may seem like you are talking directly to the insurance company. But, in reality, you are talking to an agent (a salesman or saleswoman).
One difference between cars and insurance is that car dealers can negotiate prices. Insurance salespeople can not. Unlike cars, insurance premiums are set.
And, you understand that a Toyota car salesman will not tell you the many virtues of a Honda. Because an insurance agent may represent only one company’s plan, be a smarter buyer. He or she may be given an incentive to promote a particular insurance company’s product.
It is up to you to do your due diligence. Because it’s complicated, you should know about BOTH the agent you speak with as well as the Medicare plan they are suggesting.
Sine we want to help, here are some simple questions to ask.
Are you able to sell both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policies?
How many different companies are you appointed with (actually able to sell me)?
Because experience matters, how many years have you been selling Medicare insurance?
Finally, will you be available to service me as a client after I purchase coverage through you.