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Frequently Asked Questions
I’m new to Medicare. When should I talk to you?
You can never call me too early, but you should never call me when it’s too late. I do get calls from people asking for coverage after they had a major diagnosis. The reasonable options are quite limited after that. I like helping people when they are about 63 so that they make healthcare related decisions before they turn 65. If you know you will need a specialist, like a cardiologist, endocrinologist or orthopedic surgeon while on Medicare you will want to talk to me well before you are Medicare eligible.
I’ve been on Medicare for X years. Will you help me review my coverages?
Do you charge for your time? How do you get paid?
As a licensed and certified Medicare agent I can not charge for my time. I will respect your time and I ask you to respect mine. I am paid by the insurance carrier for policies on which that I am the agent of record (that means I enrolled you or submitted your application with you and you were accepted). There is no impact on the premium cost for you. The insurance company either keeps the commission money or shares it with me based on a schedule and how long you keep the policy.
What are your qualifications?
I hold and maintain all necessary licenses, carry product-required certifications, Medicare-required certifications, Fraud, Waste & Abuse Prevention, and Anti-Money Laundering certification.
How do I know you are working in my best interests?
It really comes down to qualifications, fit, and trust. In our first conversions you can assess if you think we are a good fit. Here are two relevant qualifications:
- The thoroughness of my process to understand what you want and need.
- I actually hold a certification entitled, “In Best Interest of the client” for specific products and policies I can help you apply for.
I’m 63. What should I do to plan ahead for Medicare?
What research can I do on my own?
More than you can imagine. The better educated you are, the easier it is to assist you. I focus on your education. That is why I can better explain what is in the 130-page Medicare and You book in seven minutes with two charts I give you. I can provide specific documents and web links that will save you a lot of time once I know the basics of your situation.
What are the biggest differences between “Medigap” (Supplements) and Advantage Plans?
This is best explained in person with the charts and materials I created. “Medigap” or supplements are policies that cover the deductibles and copayments associated with original Medicare Parts A and B. Advantage Plans (Part C) are private insurance plans. They are mostly structured as HMOs or PPOs. They have in-network provider contracts where coverage exists or is better. There are often local/regional networks. Medicare transfers funds to the insurance company for them to take over your health risk with private coverage. 47 percent of all Medicare plans are Advantage plans.
What information do you need from me to get started?
The answer is pretty simple. Basically, we need you to complete our intake form, which we can send to you.
What is the scope of your services and what coverages can you provide?
Everything starts with a conversation so I can listen and understand what is most important for you. Most conversions start based on making Medicare coverage decisions. The fact is there are multiple factors that are important but not obvious to most people when making these decisions.
As an independent agent, I work for you. I shop and compare dozens of available options from several of the best insurance companies to determine your best options. Based on your “Enrollment Status” I can enroll you in either a Medicare Supplement (MediGap) plan, if you qualify, or an Advantage plan.
Can you assist me in helping my parents?
Yes, and it is important that adult children and family members know how Medicare decisions affect their family. I highly encourage family involvement. If you are directly involved in discussions and decision making, you will need to be willing and able to verify your relationship and the right you have to be involved with and/or make decisions for your parent(s).
How do I make an appointment with you?
Please visit my Appointment page to select a date, time, and meeting type. We can also make arrangements by phone or email.
What information do you need during our meeting?
It depends on what you want to accomplish. On the simplest level, if we are going to see what has changed year to year, compare plans or changes in drug coverage, then all I need is your zip code, county, birthdate, Medicare Part A and Part B effective dates, and your current plan information. However, I always recommend a more thorough analysis because there are factors that should be considered other than the basic costs.
There are too many plans. Can you narrow them down to 2 or 3 options so I can enroll myself online?
I am happy to help you DIY your enrollment once we have exchanged enough information to narrow down the options that will meet your needs.
How and where do we meet with you?
Four out of five of our meetings are in-person in your home. If time, distance, or health are an issue, we can meet on a Zoom video call. The key is ensuring we have all the information to do what is in your best interest.
My spouse is 5 years younger than me. Should they be included in our meeting?
Absolutely. These decisions can affect current spouse coverage, as well as future options and costs, when both of you are eligible for Medicare.
I would like my adult child to be included in our meeting. Is that OK?
I highly encourage it. Healthcare and insurance are important decisions that affect multiple generations. In general, we as a culture need to include our adult children in the decisions.
I hear that there can be some gaps in cancer and chemotherapy coverages with some Medicare plans?
This is one of the most important health risks and cost risks we all face. We will discuss this in detail based on your specific situation, health history, and goals. Financial Burden of Cancer Care is a sobering article by the National Institute of Cancer.