Nearly 78% of future retirees wish they understood their Medicare coverage better according to the 2020 Nationwide Health Care Consumer Survey conducted by the Nationwide Retirement Institute.
Some of it has to do with the huge differences in procedures and paperwork between private healthcare insurance and Medicare. In the latter case, assessing eligibility, searching for the right plan, and enrolling in it can be confusing for some.
If that’s the case with you, you might consider consulting a Medicare broker. More than half of all respondents in the 2021 MedicareGuide survey (52%) reported using the services of a broker or agent to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Supplement plan. Medicare brokers can provide guidance on the plans available, explain eligibility requirements, and help you understand your options.
That being said, brokers aren’t your only option when seeking help and guidance.
Finding Medicare Brokers Near Me
It is worth noting that Medicare brokers typically work with a limited number of insurance carriers. That means they may not always offer access to the entire market of available plans. All the more reason why you should consider your options before picking a Medicare broker!
Here are the best methods and resources to locate the right Medicare broker near you:
Use Online Search Tools and Directories
Often, the easiest way to find a Medicare broker near you is to get online. Here’s what you can do:
- Use search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Enter relevant keywords such as “Medicare brokers near me.” The search results should include websites or directories listing Medicare brokers in your area.
- Medicare.gov provides a search tool specifically designed to help you find licensed agents and brokers. Log on to the website, navigate to the ‘Find Care Providers’ page, and enter your location details. The tool will get back with a list of available Medicare providers in your area.
For some, Medicare.gov can be challenging to navigate due to jargon and a less-than-perfect interface. In fact, in a survey conducted by the Government Accountability Office, 73% of State Health Insurance Assistance (SHIP) directors reported that beneficiaries experience difficulty finding information on Medicare.gov.
In contrast, insurance technology providers like CoverRight are a much more convenient option. The online concierge solution acts as a helpful alternative to traditional Medicare brokers offering independent insights, a comprehensive library of learning material and videos, and access to a dedicated agent who will assist you with everything from advice to enrollment.
Ask for Recommendations From Friends and Family
Reach out to your friends, family members, or colleagues who are already enrolled in Medicare or have engaged with Medicare brokers. Often, they can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on personal experiences.
Check with Local Senior Centers and Community Organizations
Local senior centers and community organizations often have resources and information about Medicare-related services. Contact a few of these establishments and inquire about reliable Medicare brokers in your area. They may have a list of recommended brokers or point you toward someone else who does.
Contact Medicare Directly for Referrals
You can get in touch with Medicare to ask for referrals to Medicare brokers. Reach out to the Medicare helpline or visit the official Medicare website to inquire about brokers in your area. You can also try your local Social Security office for the same purpose.
Opening up several lines of inquiry at once increases your chances of finding a qualified and reliable Medicare broker.
Evaluating Medicare Brokers
Locating a Medicare broker near you is only half the challenge. The other half involves evaluating whether they are the right broker for your specific needs.
Consider the following factors to ensure you choose the right Medicare broker:
Determine If They Work with a Broad Range of Insurers
Many brokers only work with a few insurance companies because of the administrative burden of working with multiple insurance companies to quote customers. Check if the broker you are working with represents a broad range of insurance companies (we typically recommend at least 10-15 or more).
A report by The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research institution, found that traditional Medicare brokers are not required to search a minimum number of plans, disclose the number they do search, or minimize financial incentives to favor particular plans. In addition, they found that tools used by these brokers suffered from similar issues, with these tools typically represent fewer than half of Medicare Advantage options.
CoverRight shows rates from 16 of the nation’s leading carriers.
Determine Their Areas of Expertise
Medicare brokers may specialize in specific aspects of Medicare, such as Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement or Medigap plans, or Part D prescription drug plans. Determine whether their expertise aligns with your specific needs to ensure they can provide the guidance and support you require.
Verify Their Experience and Credentials
Check the broker’s experience in the Medicare industry. Insist on having a broker with a solid track record and a good understanding of the Medicare system. Verify their credentials, such as licenses, certifications, and affiliations with professional organizations.
Check Their Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Look for customer reviews and testimonials about the broker’s services. Check online review platforms and their website, or ask for references. Positive reviews and feedback indicate professionalism, knowledge, and customer satisfaction.
Assess Their Communication Skills and Responsiveness
Effective communication is crucial when working with a Medicare broker. Assess their communication style, whether they listen attentively, provide clear explanations, and respond to your inquiries. A responsive broker who is available to address your concerns is invaluable.
Understand Their Compensation Structure and Fees
Brokers are typically compensated by insurance carriers. That makes it important for you to understand how they are compensated, and whether that compensation structure aligns with your interests. Ask about their fees, if any, and make sure they disclose any potential conflicts of interest.
To review how CoverRight makes money, click here.
FAQs About Medicare Brokers
Here are some frequently asked questions related to finding a Medicare broker:
What is a Medicare broker?
A Medicare broker is a licensed professional who specializes in Medicare insurance. They provide guidance and assistance to individuals who are eligible for Medicare or nearing retirement age.
Medicare brokers have in-depth knowledge of the Medicare system and can help navigate the various coverage options available, provide personalized advice, and help individuals make informed decisions about their healthcare coverage.
Can a Medicare broker help me enroll in Medicare?
Yes, Medicare brokers can assist you with the enrollment process. They can explain the various parts of Medicare, help you understand the eligibility requirements for each, and guide you through the application process. They can also provide support in selecting the most suitable Medicare plan for your needs, whether it’s Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Supplement plans.
Is it better to work with a Medicare broker who is physically located near me?
The location of a Medicare broker is not necessarily a determining factor in their ability to provide effective assistance.
Many Medicare brokers assist individuals remotely through phone calls, emails, and online meetings. However, some individuals may prefer face-to-face interactions. Your preferences and comfort level are all that matter in deciding whether physical proximity with the Medicare broker is important.
Are there any online tools or resources that can help me find Medicare brokers in my area?
Yes, there are online tools and resources available to help you find Medicare brokers in your area. You can use search engines to find directories or websites that list Medicare brokers. Additionally, platforms like CoverRight can serve as digital concierge solutions, providing access to educational materials, plan comparisons, and assigning dedicated agents to assist you throughout the process.
What alternatives are there to using a broker?
The alternative to a traditional local Medicare broker is utilizing digital concierge solutions like CoverRight.
CoverRight, for instance, provides an extensive library of videos and educational material, instant plan comparisons, and ongoing support during enrollment and plan activation.