Yes, I know. Insurance agents only want to sell you insurance! Yes, you are generally correct to assume that, however the agent will also be the most knowledgeable and resourceful ally in your quest for the proper coverage. Make no mistake about it, your health coverage is crucial in retirement and you will want to make the best decision possible medicare plans.
“My neighbor Joe has X coverage from the “ABC” Insurance Company and he is pretty happy with it. He’s a pretty sharp guy so I trust his judgment. I’ll just get what he has.” There is a danger in relying on friends, neighbors and family members for guidance. Of course, the reason you want to do this is trust. I understand that and I don’t blame you. The problem is that you put a great deal of trust is someone who lacks the expertise to help you make the best decision. How do you know they have the best plan? Are you in similar health, on the same medications? Is your financial situation the same? Maybe that person is more of a risk taker then you and is OK with high deductibles and co-pays. Are you?
If you really trust that person’s judgment, have them sit in on your meeting with the agent. Any respectable and honest agent will have no problem with this. If fact, they will welcome the opportunity to build rapport with another set of eyes and ears.
“Independent agent” is the key to all of this. This means that person is not tied to one company. They will usually have contracts with a variety of companies enabling them to be extremely competitive in cost and coverage options. If you speak to Fred Agent at the ABC Insurance Company, which company do you think he might be recommending?
It’s not to say he is a bad agent and won’t do a good job explaining Medicare. He may even have a competitive product. The problem is that Medicare is not one size fits all. You want an agent that can advise on all options with a variety of companies so that she can match you up with the best coverage to suit your individual needs and budget.