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If you are turning 65 soon, you will need to make some decisions about Medicare. You may receive a daily reminder of this from the barrage of mail and phone calls from insurance companies and agents, all of whom are targeting you because you are turning 65.
Like most people, you probably find Medicare confusing and have a lot of questions. How do I know which insurer or plan is best? What are Parts A, B, C, and D? Do I need all of them? What do they cost? When should I enroll? What if I am still working?
The good news is you don’t have to navigate Medicare alone: a licensed independent agent can answer all your questions. Your agent will help you evaluate your options and help you choose the right coverage based on your needs. Having an experienced professional in your corner will give you peace of mind – you can be confident in making a well-informed decision about your Medicare coverage.
Independent agents need to be licensed in the state where they sell insurance. They must maintain their license through continuing education. Every year, agents complete an annual certification to ensure they comply with Medicare rules. In addition, they must receive certification from each of the individual insurance carriers whose products they sell – this means they are experts in the Medicare plans they offer. You will never pay anything for their services.
How an Agent Can Help
A trained independent agent can be a valuable ally when you’re making crucial decisions about your Medicare coverage. Your agent will:
- Help you understand how Medicare works and educate you on the different types of coverage.
- Explain the enrollment timelines and potential late penalties based on your individual situation.
- Do a thorough needs assessment to help you find the right coverage. Your agent will ask about your doctors, medications, health conditions, budget, and lifestyle.
- Help you streamline your options by comparing and evaluating the plans that fit your specific needs. An agent can assist you in enrolling in the plan of your choice.
- Help you determine if you qualify for a Medicare Special Needs Plan based on chronic health conditions or eligibility for Medicaid or if you qualify for any income-based assistance, such as Medicare Savings Programs, which pay some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare.
- Provide year-round customer service to answer your questions and address your issues and concerns. They will check in with you several times a year to see if you are happy with your plan and if your circumstances have changed at all.
Beware of Scams
If you are new to Medicare, you may be unaware that there has been an increase in Medicare fraud. It’s important to remain vigilant and always protect your personal information.
- CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) is the federal agency that administers Medicare. It does not allow unsolicited phone calls or visits to your home. CMS will only call you if you call first, asking for assistance. If CMS needs to reach you, you will receive a letter. You must give Medicare agents permission before they may contact you.
- Do not open unsolicited emails or text messages or click on any links contained in the messages.
- Although CMS has taken steps to reduce fraudulent advertising, you still need to exercise caution. Otherwise, you may end up with coverage that does not meet your needs from a national insurance carrier. For instance, never call an 800 number from a Medicare ad. When you work with a local agent, you minimize the risk of becoming a victim of Medicare fraud.