Enrolling into Medicare Supplement Plans Without and Agent.
Medicare can be a confusing affair; with all the suggestive articles on what is better; along a growing desire for people to enroll themselves so they do not have to speak to a pushy sales guy. We are going to discuss the Pros and Cons of self-enrollment into Medicare Supplement Plans, so you see if doing it yourself is the best strategy for you.
To use an agent or not to use an agent.
When you are talking about Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap); the only real difference between the companies that offer them is price and quality of the company.
When speaking to an agent, some are captive; this means that they can only offer one plan. When you speak to a captive agent that can only offer 1 or 2 plans; rarely do they provide a true price comparison for you and they will spin the company they are offering to be the best, regardless on if that is actually they case.
When you speak with a broker agent, ones that offer multiple companies; while you are getting more accurate information about the different company’s costs, they still may be compensated better from some companies than others.
The benefits of having a good agent is that you will be educated by someone that has had training and breathes insurance day in and day out. They will be more informed than someone who does not work with these types of coverages every day. Sometimes the company with the lowest rate may not be the best for your situation. For example, if you have diabetes and take insulin, some carriers will decline your coverage where others will provide you with protection.
Most Medigap companies do not allow you to enroll without speaking to an agent, whether a broker or captive agent with them; however, some companies such as Mutual Of Omaha; do have direct enrollment portals that allow you to enroll
If you ultimately decide that speaking to an agent is what is best for you, then make sure you are speaking to an agent that represent many carriers not just 1 or 2.
Self-enrollment do’s and don’ts.
If you decide you know and understand enough about your different options and are comfortable enough with the computer to enroll yourself; there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Since most companies do not allow you to self-enroll, you may pay more than you would by having a broker shop around for the best price.
Unless you are in Open Enrollment or a Guaranteed Issue Situation you may be declined coverage from the company you are enrolling in, and need to speak to a broker to help find a carrier that will allow your medical conditions or histories.
Rate increase will happen every year; a good brokerage will have a check in place to reach out to you yearly to make sure your still happy with your current plan and if not help you find a new one.
By deciding by yourself and enrolling online without an agent you may not have an advocate to assist you if something goes wrong.
Finally, enrolling yourself will not give you additional knowledge of things Medicare does not cover and what holes you may still have in your coverage.
Rate increase and company rating
When deciding on companies you need to bear in mind that they will all go up yearly, sometimes they will stay the same and we have seen them go down from time to time; know that your rate will increase.
Companies that are easier to get coverage with, meaning they do not look as intensively into your medical history, tend to have larger increases than companies that a more selective on what conditions they approve.
There are several rating methods when it comes to Medigap plans but know they all will increase about the same. The industry standard for rating Medicare supplement companies is AM best. AM Best rates the companies in an alphabetical standard. The better the AM best rating the more stable the company is. The more stability a company has means to you that you can expect, on average, lower rate increases.
If you are comfortable with your Medicare knowledge and decent on a computer or smart device, then self-enrollment is an option that you can take advantage of. We do recommend if you have questions or are not 100% sure of your knowledge then the recommendation would be to speak to a licensed broker that specializes in Medicare.
There is not a right or wrong way to get protected from the gaps in Medicare but there are many companies that have their own spin of what that looks like. Always check the AM best rating and price compared to the plan you are looking at to ensure you are doing what is best for your situation.
Most brokers have this information readily available and can help you understand and compare companies that are best for you and your situation.
Still have questions?
Call us today at 866-380-2503 and speak with a licensed broker. Let us take the guess work out of it for you. Or if you would like to enroll yourself you can visit Mutual of Omaha (AM best rated A+)