What Is a Medicare Insurance Broker?
- A Medicare insurance broker is typically an independent insurance agent who’s licensed to sell Medicare plans on behalf of multiple insurance companies. The types of Medicare plans they can help you sign up for depends on the states in which they’re licensed and the types of Medicare insurance they’re certified to sell.
Many people who are nearing Medicare eligibility age may wonder if they should seek out the services of a Medicare insurance broker or a licensed agent for help choosing the coverage that’s best for them.
A Medicare insurance broker can be extremely helpful for a new beneficiary, because they are an independent insurance agent who is licensed to sell Medicare plans on behalf of a number of different insurance companies. This means that they can help you compare plans from multiple insurance carriers so that you can more easily consider what each plan covers, how much it costs and how well it fits your needs.
Because an independent Medicare insurance agent gets paid by the insurance company you eventually choose for your plan, there’s no charge to you for working with the independent broker. You also won’t pay any extra fee or pay higher plan premiums because you choose to work with an independent licensed agent.
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The Benefits of using a Medicare Insurance Broker
Some of the advantages of using a broker or agent for help with your Medicare enrollment can include:
Cleanly Collecting and Displaying Your Options
Medicare beneficiaries typically have a lot of coverage options available to them. In fact, the average Medicare beneficiary has access to 33 different Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans in 2021.1 And that’s not to mention all the Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (also called Medigap) plans that may available where you live.
If you were to go policy shopping by yourself, you might have to find and contact every individual insurance company selling policies in your area, request a quote and wait for them to get back to you. That can be a daunting task, and you could miss out on some plan options that would be a really great fit for you. Missing out on the right coverage could also cost you money.
A Medicare insurance broker or agent can round up a range of coverage options for you, and they can help you compare details of each plan including the monthly premium you would pay, what benefits each plan covers, whether your drugs are covered by the plan and more. This makes shopping for coverage faster, easier and more thorough and efficient.
Sharing Inside Info
Licensed Medicare insurance agents often have access to information that many common consumers do not. This can include rate trends, customer reviews, market demographics and more. Because brokers and agents work with these insurance carriers on a regular basis, they generally have some inside industry knowledge that may prove valuable in your decision.
Explaining the Details
One thing we can probably all agree on is that Medicare insurance can be complex and confusing. There’s a lot of terminology to understand and terms and conditions to know, not to mention trying to digest the different parts of Medicare and what they all cover.
A good Medicare insurance broker or agent will serve as a customer support representative, and they’ll walk you through the details of each plan and answer the many questions you’re sure to have along the way.
Help With Enrolling
Medicare enrollment can be tricky, as there are strict eligibility requirements to sign up for Medicare and various forms to complete and submit. If you make a mistake and don’t enroll by a certain deadline, you may be on the hook for late enrollment penalties later on.
A Medicare insurance broker or agent can guide you through the enrollment process to make sure you are signed up correctly and on time.
Providing Policy Support
Some Medicare insurance brokers and agents will stick by your side even after you’ve signed up for a pln. That means they might provide backup support for how to file Medicare claims, resolving billing issues, making Medicare appeals and more. Medicare beneficiaries have plenty of rights and responsibilities, and a good broker or agent will not leave you out in the cold.
Assistance With Additional Products
It’s not uncommon for a Medicare insurance broker to sell additional policies that may be of benefit to you, such as long-term care insurance, life insurance or various other insurance products.
Retirement is a big transition, and Medicare is only one piece of the puzzle. The same broker or agent who helps with your Medicare enrollment can also help put some of those other pieces together as well, depending on what insurance licenses they have.
No Extra Cost to You
In most cases, enrolling in a Medicare insurance plan through a licensed agent will not cost anything extra to you or increase your premium rates. Brokers and agents receive commissions through the insurance companies they do business with, so using their assistance is free to you.
Fugelsten Biniek, J. et al. (Oct. 29, 2020). Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-2021-spotlight-first-look.