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Should I be doing anything for Medicare’s Annual Enrollment?

The simple answer? A big resounding YES! But nothing is ever really that simple is it…

You go to the mailbox and find it stuffed full of postcards and letters, MEDICARE!! FINAL NOTICE!! YOU COULD BE ELIGIBLE!! As you walk inside your phone is ringing for the 20th time today, “Do you have Medicare A & B?” A voice on the other end quickly asks. While you set down the letters and try to makeout what the person on the line is asking, Joe Namath pops up on the TV screen letting you know that you can get a FLEX Card and $$$$$ back if you call right now. You “politely” let the person on the phone know you aren’t interested, push the mailers into the garbage bin, and attempt to find a tv channel that isn’t showing a Medicare commercial… “every year it’s the same old stuff” you think out loud.

But what if it didn’t have to be? What if there was a simpler way to handle all of this? Good news, there is. Working with a local agent can help drown out the noise of the Annual Enrollment Period marketing. A local, available, easy to reach agent who stays on top of your coverage options can be a life saver, sometimes literally. How do I know? Because I am one. Let me tell you what Annual Enrollment looks like from my end.

I took my 28th call for the day, “thank you for calling; I am a licensed agent. How can I help you?”
“I don’t even know why I’m bothering with this… I’ve got a great plan,” the man replied. “Well let’s just take a look; it only takes a few minutes to review your coverage and make sure you have everything you need.”

After some back and forth joking, he agreed. While we were talking about the weather, and I was 
entering his medical information he mentioned WHY his plan was so great. Dentures. He needed 
dentures, and this plan was going to pay for them. Except it wasn’t. I knew already that the carrier he 
told me he was with didn’t cover dentures. But he was SO excited for his $4,000 in dental coverage that came with his new plan, and next month he was heading to the dentist. Glad he called. It took a little bit of convincing and discussion, but finally I got through to him that even though dental was covered dentures, specifically, were not. We found a different plan that had $3,000 in dental specifically for dentures.

That call, more than most, made me realize two things. Number one, not everyone who answers the 
phone on the other end of Medicare mailer is always looking out for the client’s best interest. Number two, people need someone who cares enough to go through the details of their plan.

Second story. “Thank you for calling; I am a licensed agent. How can I help you?” 20th time saying that today and it’s only noon. “I need help”, the woman on the other end answered, almost in tears. I could hear it in her voice. After some discussion I learned she had a Medicare Advantage Plan and was also on Medicaid. What she DIDN’T know is that qualified her for a special set of plans. As we talked more, I could just feel how much she was struggling to make ends meet. By the end of the call, we had her set up with a Dual-Eligible Plan (something available for beneficiaries who receive both Medicare and Medicaid). What made that so special to her? The $400 in groceries that it provided each month, along with increased dental and vision coverage. “Thank you, lord… thank you…” she said over and over, literally crying now, as we finished her enrollment.

What’s the point? The point is, find someone who cares. Find someone who has access to more than one carrier. Calling a carrier directly to find out their options limits you to just that carrier. Not calling 
an agent means you might miss out on better benefits from your current carrier. I know that Medicare 
is confusing. I know that it can feel time consuming or even overwhelming. That’s what these agents 
are there for. So, if you want to take a few minutes to call a local, licensed agent just to make sure 
you’ve got everything you’re entitled to, I HIGHLY recommend it. It takes 20 minutes to review 
coverage, and another 20 to change if you decide to. You don’t have to call me, but, please, call 
someone. Every year the carriers come out with new plans; check with your agent to make sure you’re in the most updated coverage possible. And, hey, if you do want to call me… my number is below. I hope you have a great end of the year!

Elliot Andrews, 
Synergy Insurance

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