What You Need to Know
- If you already sell Medicare plans, you know all of this.
- If you don't sell Medicare plans, you still need to be able to talk about them.
- One thing you could tell clients: Try a private health care marketplace.
If you’re in the business of helping seniors make sound financial decisions, and you’re not a health insurance agent, you know that health care can be a big pain point.
It also can be a big opportunity.
At its most basic level, Medicare provides a lifeboat for people who are retiring, offering affordable health insurance to people entering a stage in life when health care is most needed.
Medicare, however, is anything but basic. It’s a complicated system, but, with a little effort, you can help your clients sail into retirement with peace of mind that comes with affordable and efficient health coverage.
Whether your clients are asking you questions about Medicare or you’re researching on their behalf, here are some things worth discussing.
“Which Medicare Program Is Right for Me?”
The federal program known as Original Medicare provides a pretty amazing value for U.S. citizens: If your clients pay Medicare taxes for at least 10 years through employment, then, when they turn 65 years old, they get hospital insurance (Medicare Part A) without paying a monthly premium. And regardless of your clients’ work history, clients also can enroll in insurance for their outpatient medical needs (Medicare Part B) for a reasonable monthly premium.
While it’s worth noting that Part B premiums are rising at historic rates in 2022, the standard monthly premiums for Part A ($0) and Part B ($170.10) still provide a wealth of coverage for the price point. Collectively known as Original Medicare, Parts A and B allow your clients to see any doctor or go to any medical facility that accepts Medicare. And most providers across the nation do accept Medicare.
Medicare Advantage, the private-insurance alternative to Original Medicare, offers the same coverage as Parts A and B but also additional benefits like dental, hearing and vision coverage, and allowances for over-the-counter supplies — sometimes with no additional premium.
How is that possible?
Medicare Advantage plans generally require that policyholders see doctors or visit hospitals that are within a defined local network – and that’s at the heart of why Medicare Advantage plans can add more value without adding costs. Policyholders, in exchange for addressing their health care needs within a managed network of providers, can get more bang for their buck.
That being said, when it comes to Medicare Advantage, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan. Every plan and every person looking for a plan is different, so visiting a private health care marketplace that offers a wide range of plans can be a great place for your clients to start.
“What’s My True Bottom Line?”
Monthly premiums are the most eye-catching costs for people new to Medicare, but they’re not the only costs to consider. And, often, premiums aren’t even the most important costs to consider.
While other Medicare costs aren’t truly hidden — they’re spelled out beyond the fine print — they sometimes aren’t given proper consideration before it’s too late.