A blog about Medicare. What you and your employees need to know
For the Win – Put in a CMP!
Author: Lora Drummond
Medicare Transition Specialist
Reviewing your benefits game plan at work?
Medicare and a transition team should be on your roster. A Medicare transition team can help enhance your wellness strategy for employees approaching age 65.
Sometimes Medicare is an option that makes good sense but often overlooked. A transition team of Certified Medicare Planners™ partners with HR to ensure Medicare is a benefit option with solid support like your group health plan.
The Certified Medicare Planner™ Experience
When you have Medicare-eligible employees and need a transition team to help, make sure you have Certified Medicare Planners™ on your roster. A qualified team will offer to lead Medicare educational workshops and provide independent employee plan reviews for Medicare benefit transition. Medicare transition support creates a compliment to your wellness strategy.
Certified Medicare Planners™ should have a primary goal in mind: Identifying a Medicare-eligible’s needs and guiding them to a plan to satisfy those specific needs. They should provide education and choice. That way members can make confident, and fact-based decisions.
There are thousands of “agents” out there offering to help… but are they CMPs or Certified Medicare Planners™? A CPM will compare the costs of employee group health to Medicare costs. If it makes sense to stay on a group plan, employees will be coached on staying where they are until it makes sense to transition. If the analysis indicates it makes cost sense to go to Medicare, a CPM will provide education on Medicare options and provide all the plans available for consideration. Common questions employees may ask about meeting with a CMP:
Is there a cost to meet with a Certified Medicare Planner™?
Many clients ask if there is a fee for the meeting. Our Certified Medicare Planners™ provide complimentary research and advice to help members make the most appropriate choices for their healthcare needs. There is never a fee. Also, premiums quoted are the same as if plans were bought directly from the insurance company. Did you know there are actually savings in working with a Certified Medicare Planner™? That’s because they save time in navigating the hundreds of plans available in the marketplace and can compare costs to help find zero-premium costs too.
I am confused with Medicare and all the options out there, should I just stay on my group plan because its easier?
Certified Medicare Planners™ want individuals to understand Medicare so it becomes a solid benefit option, like thier group plan. A transition team should offer educational workshops to support employees. The more employees understand their benefits, the more likely they are to select plans with coverage specific to their needs. Group plans are not created for an individual. There are many options under Medicare that individuals can select from, specific to their needs.
What questions will be asked?
A Certified Medicare Planner™ will ask important questions about an individual’s needs to customize the plan search. They will ask for a residential zip code, favorite doctors, medications taken regularly, favorite pharmacy, and hospital preference. Sometimes the discussion includes qualifying some medical conditions that can impact decisions to go on a Medicare Supplement, Advantage plan, or a Special Needs Plan.
How does the Certified Medicare Planner™ find a plan for me?
CPMs should have solid resources and technology to access all insurance carrier drug lists, pharmacies, and participating provider lists. By providing all plans available in a particular area, a Certified Medicare Planner™ can match a member’s needs without bias. Sometime the plan even picks the member based on their lifestyle or needs!
Why can’t I just take a friend’s recommendation or select a brand I saw on TV?
Your transition team should advocate for the individual. A member’s needs may not be the same as their neighbor’s. Their doctor may not be a provider on all plans seen on TV and drug costs can differ on each drug plan available. Individual needs should be the first consideration when reviewing plans. Certified Medicare Planners™ are trained to guide individuals so they can make confident decisions on a plan choice.
How do CPMs make money if their guidance is free?
Insurance companies pay us when a member is enrolled. Medicare is a regulated industry so it makes no difference which licensed firm enrolls them. However, a plan that meets your needs does matter. Members should choose a service that acts as a Medicare fiduciary offering unbiased options. We are carrier agnostic – which means we represent all the Medicare plans that are available. Not just a select few.
If I decide to enroll, what happens after our meeting?
Our team will submit the plan applications for you. You can contact us anytime following your enrollment period if you have questions. Our relationship with you is ongoing.
Do I need a meeting to re-enroll every year?
Not necessarily. Technically your plan will automatically renew each year unless you elect a change. However, reviews are recommended in case your health, doctor, or medications change. The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from Oct 15- Dec 7, is a good time to review your plans. Prior to AEP each year our firm actively reviews the plans of all our clients. We contact members if we identify an opportunity for savings or if an insurance company plan change might negatively impact medications you are currently taking. Occasionally doctors will change network contracts also. We would contact you to meet with your CMP if changes to plans impact you. But clients can call us anytime. Our relationship is ongoing.
Ways to Start Supporting Medicare in Your Benefits Strategy Now-
- Schedule a Free Online Medicare educational workshop for your HR team (SHRM accredited) or employees
- Refer an individual considering Medicare to attend a free monthly online workshop (CMS-approved)
- Refer employees inquiring about Medicare to a Certified Medicare Planner™ for free one-on-one guidance online from the safety of their home.
Your employees look to you for benefit guidance. With CPMs on your roster, you have a full-service Medicare partner to resource for answers when employee Medicare questions come up.
That’s like hitting a Medicare homerun!
Ready to get started?
Check out our blog weekly for new resources, and helpful tips and tricks to build your Medicare transition strategy.
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