Outsmart Nuisance Agents and Find the Agent You Deserve!
The joys of buying health insurance – something you look forward to every year….
Between the confusing jargon, pushy agents, and hard to understand plans, who would look forward to reviewing their health insurance plan?
You will, soon enough. You’re going to be equipped with secrets industry insiders won’t tell you. (Why won’t they tell you these tips? Because educated clients means more difficult sales and less commissions.)
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably entered your name and phone number on a few Medicare sites by now. The phone is ringing off the hook, and you’re just plain tired of the junk mail piling up. I used to work with agents like the ones you’re dealing with: pushy, sometimes confusing, don’t seem to give you straight answers, or only offering you one plan to review.
You’re tired and annoyed. I get it. It’s OK that you’re not looking forward to finding a Medicare plan that works for you.
That’s why I want to tell you the secrets the others won’t tell you. No need to procrastinate anymore!
You are entitled to Medicare assistance at no cost, while you sit back and relax. A licensed, transparent, experienced Agent should be doing all the hard work for you, while you focus on other priorities.
#1: Make sure they work for YOU, not for the insurance carriers
At first, this may sound silly. You pay the agent nothing for their services (really! Agents cost you $0), and the insurance company is responsible for writing them their paychecks. You’re likely thinking, “Obviously, the agent works for the insurance company they are representing. What is this crazy person talking about?”
Let me explain. Some agents (and agencies) may have preferences of which insurance companies they promote. Preference may be based on the relationship that the agent has with the company or in many cases, how much an agent is compensated by a particular company for a particular insurance product.
You want – and deserve – an agent who disregards any prejudgments they have about various insurance companies. You deserve an agent who is willing to speak with you, learn your individual needs, and present you with the plans that would be the most affordable and offer you the best features.
The agent’s potential kickbacks from the insurance carrier should never be a thought in their mind. Your needs should be front and center; not their own selfishness.
#2: Find out how they are paid
I know, your mom told you never to discuss money, politics, or religion. It’s rude. I’m not telling you to ask someone how much they make (you won’t get an honest answer anyways).
I’m suggesting you ask them how they get paid: do they get paid based on commission, or based on a set salary?
We’ve all encountered a salesperson who you can just tell is trying to make the sale so they get their commission. They see the dollar signs floating over your head like a halo. I don’t know about you, but these types of people leave me feeling unappreciated. To be honest, they probably forget I exist immediately after they take their commission check to the bank!
Unfortunately, I’ve seen this kind of sleaze in the Medicare world as well. And that’s why I need your help to change it.
An Agent should not recommend certain plans based on their commission from one policy versus another. Your best interests should be the main motivator in deciding on a plan, not the agent’s pay.
Unfortunately, the norm in the industry is for agents to be paid based on commission. Since some insurance plans earn an agent more money than others, those plans tend to be the ones agents sell more of.
(Why do you think Medicare Plan F is so popular? Higher premium = higher commission. Ask our Agents why Plan F isn’t always your best option)
Paying agents based on salary rather than commission is an easy fix to ensure agents’ pay never factors into their recommendations. Salaried agents can give you extra peace of mind, knowing they won’t push you into a plan that won’t work well for you.
#3: Don’t just shop one insurance company
A lot of folks start shopping around for Medicare plans by first going to the insurance companies’ websites. While this may seem like the common sense place to begin, it’s not!
Insurance companies, also known as carriers, only show you their prices. They won’t show you their competitors’ plans. They won’t divulge that another company may have lower prices. Going directly to the carriers greatly limits your options.
Plus, when you need to get a hold of the person who you spoke to the first time, it’s impossible! You get routed to a noisy call center outside of the US and speak to whichever agent happened to pick up your call. No prior knowledge of you or your needs!
Also, believe it or not, but some insurance carriers restrict agents from selling other insurance companies’ products. If an agent sells Company A’s products, that Agent is not allowed to discuss plans Company B and Company C offer, even if those companies offer you a better solution.
On the other hand, I’ve had potential clients say, “I’ve been with Company X for 20 years and they’ve been great to me! I only want to see plans they offer.” To that, I ask, what does that even mean, how have they been great? They’ve covered the benefits they promised to…and that sadly impresses us as consumers?
You paid them a premium to cover your costs. They did what they were supposed to do. That should not impress us; that should be what we expect!
To this point, I recommend always getting quotes from several insurance carriers. Ask if your agent works with several of the top-rated carriers across the nation. If they are “captive” or only work with one insurance carrier, it could cost you lots!
#4: Ensure their assistance goes the distance
Some folks just want to sign up, quickly end the conversation, and never speak to their agent again. The only time they speak to their agent is to give them lots of personal information and to make a payment.
But what happens when those people have questions? Do they know how to get a hold of their agent? Are they stuck waiting on hold and getting transferred to the wrong department? Do they even have an assigned agent, or do they just talk to whoever happens to answer that call?
And the opposite is true, too. Some agents just want to hurry up and take your application, your money, and move on to the next one. They don’t keep in touch with you and they sure as heck don’t want to know you! When you do call with questions, they either don’t know the answer or just pass off the responsibility to someone else.
Your agent should get to know you first, by educating you on the basics of Medicare and the enrollment process, in easy to understand terminology. Don’t let them skip over any questions you have or rush you off the phone!
Once you’re enrolled in a plan, your agent should continue to nurture your relationship with them. They should be available year-round to assist you. They should be easy to contact by phone.
Sometimes claims are denied, and it’s important your Agent be there to assist you with the appeals process. They should ensure your Supplement or Advantage plan covers the services it’s supposed to. And if a claim is denied, your Agent should provide assistance filing an appeal.
A good agent should also be assessing your Medicare plan and prescription drug plan annually. Your health and your prescriptions may change over the course of a year, and making sure your plans continues to meet your needs is critical.
#5: Talk about their mother
The plan that is best for your spouse or friend may not be the plan that is best for you. Even the plan you had last year may not be the best fit for you this year.
Medical needs, health concerns, the frequency of travel, and much more vary from person to person – don’t assume the same Medicare plan works for everyone, all the time.
So why am I telling you to ask the agent which plan their mother is on? If a plan is good enough for her, it’s good enough for you!
Now, of course, the agent’s mother may be on a plan that would never work for you. But, is the plan the agent is suggesting to you (hypothetically) good enough for their mother? Would they trust that the proposed plan would provide her with the convenience she needs to see her preferred doctors? Could they sleep at night, knowing their mother was enrolled in that plan?
Ask them flat out, “If your mother was in my situation, would you recommend her to sign up for this plan?”
Ensure the agent helping you is confident in the plan(s) they recommend. Are there any restrictions in the plan that you should know about? What are alternative options, and why is this plan the leading option for you?
If their tune changes once you ask these questions, you might want to think again.
#6: Change is inevitable
Life is full of changes, expected and unexpected. We age, we get sick, we move, our finances change, insurance plans change. What happens to your Medicare plan if your life circumstances change? Or if your premium increases from year to year?
Will your agent be able to serve you continuously as your need and circumstances change?
A great Agent will assist you in the process of changing plans, regardless of the reason. To best assist you, it’s important an Agent be licensed and contracted in more than one area or state.
A great Agent makes you aware of changes in the plan’s benefits and keeps in touch with you, even outside of open enrollment times. You agent should be available to alert you of any premium rate increases, as well as changes in a plan’s deductible, co-pays, and drug formulary.
Now you’re equipped with the secrets the other agents won’t tell you. They’re mad I let the cat out of the bag, but I’m here for you – not for them. Give it a try; ask the next agent you talk to these questions and note their responses.
Once you’re empowered with the right questions to ask, you’ll be well on your way to finding a licensed, transparent, experienced Agent who will do all the hard work for you.
If you would like us to help just give my team a call. I promise you’ll be impressed. There’s no need for you to keep shopping around for a Medicare plan. Call us now and see what our Concierge Member Services have to offer:
Competitive Rates from dozens of top Insurance Carriers ✔
Premium Price Check and rate shopping ✔
Annual Rx Checkups of more than 800 plans ✔
Your own personal, licensed Medicare Agent ✔
Claims Support ✔
Appeal Writing ✔
Deadline Reminders ✔
Member Newsletter ✔
P.S. I am super excited for you to meet our Team and get on your way to finding a great plan. If at any time our Medicare Agents are not providing you with excellent service, or if they are unable to answer your questions satisfactorily, I want to know about it! Email me at Curt@MyMedicarePartners.com