Medicare insurance is a process, not a product. For many people, how much does it cost is the only question they ask. It's a logical query considering the many television commercials talking about no-cost Medicare options.
But, when it comes to picking the best Medicare insurance option for your needs, cost should be one of the last questions, not the first. Getting the right coverage and cost will result from gathering the right information. That involves asking the right questions whether you are working with an agent over the phone, via a screen sharing session, or in person. Here are five questions shared by top professionals that will get you started.
Do you offer both Medicare Advantage as well as Medicare Supplement options?
While both options have Medicare in their name, the two options can be as different as night and day. More importantly, they can vary significantly based on where you live.
According to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance in some counties as many as 70 percent of eligible residents are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. In other countries, it's as low as one percent. While the insurance professional you speak with doesn't need to offer both options, they should at the very least be well versed in the advantages and limitations of both.
Which Medicare plan option best fits my needs over the next few years?
Finding a plan that suits both current and future needs can be very important. Predicting health is difficult, but anticipating lifestyle changes is something retirees are typically more familiar with.
Do you currently spend all year in one place? Do you or are you planning to have a second home? Will the plan you buy today offer the ability to receive medical care in both locations? Is international travel something you enjoy and plan to do more of in the years to come?
Some decisions you make regarding your Medicare insurance can be irreversible. There are times where your health doesn't impact your plan choices or costs. But that's not always true. Should you ever want to change your Medicare insurance plan, your health can significantly impact options and costs.
What do your other clients like about the plan you are recommending?
Positive stories and testimonials about client experience can be essential and more important than costs. Hearing what others like about a particular plan can help you decide if the recommended option is indeed right for you. Don't overlook the importance of medical provider satisfaction. Knowing that claims are processed and paid in a timely manner generally is a good indication of what you can anticipate experiencing.
Today many plans offer ancillary benefits that can be of significant value. For example, free membership at your local gym or fitness center can be worth hundreds of dollars in added benefits that are included at no extra charge.
How long have you been selling Medicare insurance?
Choosing the best Medicare Advantage or best Medicare Supplement plan is your goal. The benefits can not be just better coverage but significant savings that can amount to thousands of dollars.
While all licensed insurance agents undergo state-required training, there is much to be said about the experience. An agent working in the business for a period of years will know which insurance companies have raised rates. He or she will know which insurance plans local medical professionals prefer. Likewise, they'll know which have been dropped by providers.
Asking questions is an important part of choosing the best Medicare insurance agent to work with. A good way to start is to seek referrals from your friends and neighbors who are eligible for Medicare.
Another good place to start is the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance's online directory listing agents nationwide. The no-cost resource can help you connect with experts in your Zip Code available to answer questions and explain options. Information can help you make a more informed decision. It's well worth the effort and time.
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