Call us now: Toll Free: 866-670-3432 ~ Main Office: 724-603-3403
There is no question today because I want to address some very serious concerns myself and all the agents here at The Health Insurance Store have about the trends we’re seeing with the 2024 Medicare Annual Election Period in full swing. Before I get into that, I want to make clear that in no way is my agency anti-Advantage Plans. We have thousands of clients who choose them and understand what an important role they play for tens of millions of Americans.
However, we’re very upset how seniors are being looked upon as an opportunity for a commission only and not as humans whose future health and financial wellbeing could be affected by the Medicare plan decisions they make and the advice they’re given. This column is not just for our regular readers. It’s for anyone who has a loved one on Medicare. Your moms, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles are being cold called and solicited constantly with bad intentions. Every single day we meet people who were enrolled in plans without their permission or full understanding of the new benefits.
They’re also being misled and misinformed about Advantage Plans, too often talked out of their current Supplements and not having the differences explained at all. In addition, those who are going on Medicare Part B for the first time, which is normally their one and only opportunity to get a Supplement without having one’s current or previous health considered, aren’t being given that option, this important choice literally being taken from them due to ignorance or greed.
Here is an excerpt from an email I received from an agent who recently got his Pennsylvania health insurance license and certified to sell Medicare.
“I just got my insurance license with the intent of selling Medicare policies. I started work for a local insurance firm specializing in Medicare, Life insurance, and annuities, but found the training wasn’t adequate for me to recommend anything to potential clients. Somehow, I was immediately an expert in all these areas without any additional training. I was then directed to call leads for several hours a week to set up appointments to sell the products offered. I resigned my position with this company today. I spoke to the owner, and we agreed that my leaving would be the proper move. I have just reentered the job market. I would like to discuss with you further the possibility of me coming to work for the Health Insurance Store.”
This sums up the root of the problem in my industry. At too many agencies it’s commission above anything else. The client’s needs don’t matter. Agents are being encouraged to tell the prospect whatever is necessary to generate commissions. I find the owner’s response extremely disturbing. His answer to this new agent’s concern that he wasn’t qualified to advise clients correctly was not to get him trained properly, but to tell him to find another agency.
Sadly, very few Medicare and health insurance agents are both fully knowledgeable and ethical. Rarely do I meet someone already on Medicare who got their plan somewhere other than The Health Insurance Store who had been given sound advice. I estimate less than 10% in fact. And every year the behavior of those in my field gets worse.
Please, if you have loved ones on Medicare, find out now what their 2023 plan is. Ask them to show you the card or cards they present at their doctor and pharmacy. Let them know that absolutely no one, not from Medicare, not from Social Security, not from their current insurance company, will ask for their Medicare claim number. Anyone who does is up to no good and should be hung up on immediately. Then check back with them in December and January to make sure they didn’t move to a new company. Ask them again to see their medical cards. If they got a new one, call us immediately to find out what exactly they gave up. Those who were misled can reverse a bad decision, but it needs to be done asap.
Again, we are fans of Advantage Plans. There are many people they work very well for and others that should leave their Supplements in 2024 because their premiums are becoming burdensome, or they need expensive dental work that’s only covered by Advantage Plans. But not everyone should do so because Original Medicare and Supplements pay 100% of virtually all covered medical services while those on Advantages can be responsible for thousands of dollars in bills for chemo or other infusions, injection therapy, Skilled Nursing, and radiation. Many people are making the move to Advantage Plans only for the dental, vision, hearing, gym membership, debit cards that can be used to buy food or for co-pays, and OTC allowances. There’s now even a fitness reimbursement benefit on select plans that will literally pay for golf green fees, tennis shoes, yoga or other classes, and more. We know how valuable these can be, especially with the recent inflation seniors are enduring. However, one of the risks of Advantage Plans that’s not being explained is all these free benefits and services aren’t set in stone. Medicare in serious financial trouble, which is not a secret, and the Part A Hospital Trust fund is set to be insolvent in 2031. I believe the reimbursement rate to Advantage Plan companies will be lowered from its current average of $12,000 per year. If that occurs, my prediction is one or all of the following will happen: Much of the free stuff will be dramatically reduced to pre 2018 levels when almost none of what we see today was provided. Premiums will increase. Co-pays will go up. We explain this possibility to our clients and every other risk and reward of Supplements and Advantage Plans, both short and long term so an educated choice can be made.
If you would like to ensure you’re making the right decision during this year’s Annual Election Period, give us a call for a no-cost consultation which can be done in person, via an internet meeting, or over the phone. Also feel free to email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make An Appointment
If you would like to make an appointment for a no cost consultation to go over Medicare options, individual ACA marketplace plans, you’re an employer and would like a second opinion on your group policy, or are interested in life insurance, give us a call or email me personally at email@example.com. And keep the great column questions coming! Also, I am now licensed in over 20 states and able to help people choose and enroll in Advantage, Supplement, and Part D plans throughout the country.
Introducing New Facebook Group
Don’t forget to join our new Facebook group, “Ask the Medicare Specialist”, which has the same name as the column, where we post exclusive content and information. Go to our website, getyourbestplan.com, and click on the banner on the homepage to become a member. Thanks for reading everyone!
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this column topic, or would like to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation, please feel free to give us a call – we would be happy to help. I’d like to remind everyone that I do a live call-in talk show called Medicare A to Z every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month on WMBS Uniontown, 590AM and 101.1FM, from 1 to 3 PM. You can listen in on their website, wmbs590.com.
Erie County Area
1105 West 12th Street, Suite – A
Erie, PA 16501
Fayette/Westmoreland County Area
121 North Pittsburgh Street
Connellsville, PA. 15425
21 Yost Blvd., Forest Hills, PA 15221
Mailing Address: 128 Forest Hills Plaza, Pittsburgh, PA 15221
We proudly serve the health insurance and Medicare needs of the following Pennsylvania areas: Connellsville, Uniontown, Greensburg, Mt. Pleasant, Scottdale, Irwin, N. Huntingdon, Murrysville, Monroeville, Plum, Lower Burrell, New Kensington, Pittsburgh, Plum, Oakmont, Penn Hills, Forest Hills, Wilkinsburg, East Liberty, Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Natrona Heights, Leechburg, Washington, Morgantown WV, Latrobe, Monnessen, Jeanette, Erie, Edinboro, Northeast, Girard, Fairview, Union City, Harborcreek, Corey, Meadville, Waterford, Ligonier, Kittaning, Somerset, Waynesburg, Fayette County, Westmoreland County, Armstrong County, Butler County, Somerset County, Erie County, Crawford County, Venango County, Allegheny Valley, Pennsylvania
We proudly serve the following New Mexico areas: Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Sante Fe, Bernalillo, Belen, Los Lunas, Espanola, Moriarty, Corales, Tijeras, Cedar Crest, Edgewood, Soccoro, Sandoval County, Sante Fe County, Bernalillo County, Rio Arriba County, Valencia County, Soccoro County, New Mexico Not affiliated with the U. S. government or federal Medicare program.
We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.