1-800 Medicare

‘Medicare is confusing’, one of the most commonly uttered statements from newly eligible seniors (Age 65+).

I am one of the nearly 80% of Americans who are under age 65, or not Medicare eligible. For the almost 20% of citizens age 65 or older the options can be overwhelming. From all angles seniors are bombarded with direct mail, television commercials and phone calls talking about Medicare plans and why they should switch to Plan ‘X’ and switch NOW. If the individual switches to Plan ‘X’ their questions are directed to a 1-800 number, where the hold times are daunting and the answers at times the answers unclear. Each state’s Medicare options are unique. Insurance is regulated at a state level, as per federal guidelines. Working within your state for Medicare related resources is recommended by many professionals.

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment (AEP) is a time of year so many seniors have come to detest.

I am not bashing national Medicare brokers. I am calling attention to their tactics and their misleading marketing portfolios. Leading off with a $0 premium plan is enticing …. Who doesn’t want a monthly premium? Guess what comes on the back side of a $0 premium? Coinsurance, co-pays and out of pocket costs. Seniors who I have worked with live on a very fixed budget and do not have the funds to pay large medical bills and unexpected costs associated with either prescription medications or doctor office visits. Watching late night television will leave you pressing the mute button each time your program goes to commercial.

Medicare does not endorse or sponsor Medicare Part C or D plans, nor do Medicare hire agents to call or solicit enrollees. Reporting deceptive or misleading advertising and sales tactics is and should be encouraged. In Minnesota you can contact the Department of Commerce at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone (651) 539-1600. Most individuals just blow off deceptive marketing, but by reporting it we bring attention to these practices and can put a stop to the deception marketing and sales tactics we have all grown to dislike.

As a broker I feel it is my responsibility to get to know each Medicare beneficiary who walks through my office doors. Each one has specific needs, individual questions and Medicare is not a one size fits all program when we get into Part C and D plans. Brokers sell multiple products from different insurance companies … What does that mean to you, Opportunity. Opportunity to pick the broker’s brain, to review multiple products at one time, and the opportunity to do it all from the comfort of your own home or a broker’s office. In my opinion no one can put a price tag on having a live person siting in front of me, in real time with their attention solely focused on me.

I fully recommend seniors do their research prior to contacting any 1-800 number, broker or company. If you have a loved one who needs assistance understanding their Medicare plan ask your loved one if it is ok that you come along for the appointment. Having a second set of eyes and ears will only lead to a better outcome.

Finally, if I can help you my contact information is listed below.

Catherine Gebhardt, Licensed & Certified Medicare Broker MN & WI

Sherman Insurance Agency Inc

(651) 797-6952 or cat@shermanins.com

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