Agents – Share This With Your Clients
The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) starts on October 15. For Medicare enrollees, this means several weeks of being bombarded with calls, mail, and commercials. You may be tempted to tune all of it out – but that could mean you miss out on your one-time opportunity to enroll in Medicare plan that will best meet your needs in the coming year.
You need to cut through the noise and to do so, you need a local advisor you can trust.
Work with An Agent Who Understands Your Area
Some national call centers spend a lot of money on expensive commercials. If you call the number on the screen, you’ll reach someone who will sell you a plan. But how much does this person really know about your needs and the options in your area?
For plan year 2022, KFF says there were 3,834 Medicare Advantage plans to choose from. However, these plans aren’t available to everyone. On average, Medicare enrollees had about 39 plans to choose from.
Location matters. A local agent who’s familiar with the plans available in your area can help you find one that actually meets your needs with doctors and medical facilities near you and the prescriptions you require. You may not receive this local advantage if you select your policy over the phone with an agent in another state.
Beware of Scams
Many scammers target Medicare enrollees – and these scams can increase during the Annual Election Period.
Scammers and other bad actors may try to pressure you into deciding before you’re ready. They may insist that you’ll lose your benefits if you don’t work with them or they may offer you benefits that don’t exist. They may even try to convince you that they’re affiliated with Medicare. Don’t fall for it.
By working with a local agent you trust, you can ignore these fraudulent offers – no matter how tempting or urgent they sound. Your agent will give you the information you need to pick a plan that’s in your best interests.
Watch for Call Recording
If you work with an agent remotely, over the phone or through a video call, they are required to use a call recording service. This may seem intrusive, but the new requirement was put in place to protect consumers from predatory practices.
If you talk to anyone over the phone, pay attention and make sure they are recording the call. If they do not tell you that they are recording the call, consider it a red flag that you are talking to someone who is unprofessional and non-compliant.
On the other hand, if you feel uncomfortable with having your conversation recorded, there’s an easy solution. Schedule an in-person visit with a local agent. In-person visits do not have to be recorded.
Set Yourself Up for Easy Year-Round Service
The Annual Election Period is an important chance to pick a plan for the next year – but what happens if you don’t like your plan? Or if you move? Or if you get sick and want to enroll in a Special Needs Plan?
Your agent should be there for you all year round, but you might not receive that kind of service from a call center number you saw in a commercial. If you buy a plan through a national hotline, who do you call when you have questions or need to make changes? What are the odds of speaking with someone who knows you? Will you be placed on hold when you call? These are risks you take if you don’t work with a local partner.
This Medicare Annual Election Period, make sure your Medicare enrollment is in good hands. Tune out the noise of national commercials and choose a trusted local agent. You’ll be glad you did.