A blog about Medicare. What you and your employees need to know
Personalize – They Don’t Even Know You!
Author: Lora Drummond
Medicare Transition Specialist
40 of 52 Solution Series – Personalized – They Don’t Even Know You!
Endless Medicare Ads, Phone Calls, and Mail… OH MY!
Fall is a sure sign for Medicare ads to begin inundating TV, phones, and mail too! These ads primarily target folks already enrolled in a Medicare plan. To insurance companies, this is a prime time to sell. But they don’t even know who they are selling to! They don’t even know you.
- Why? Because every year, Medicare beneficiaries can change their Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D (drug) plans.
- Why? Because premiums, doctors, coverage benefits, and drug formularies can change for those types of Medicare plans.
- Why? Insurance companies are advertising heavily to get beneficiaries to change plans, even if they don’t have a viable reason to change. They are just selling plans.
- Medicare Annual Election Period begins Oct 15 and runs until Dec 7, 2021. Folks on Medicare can make certain changes to their Medicare.
With a high volume of information going out through various media streams, advertising can undoubtedly confuse people with what they need to do, and IF they need to do anything at all. Employees enrolled in Medicare need to be cautious in responding to any solicitations they receive without first talking to experts who don’t represent any particular Medicare plan.
In case an employee or someone you know feels pressured to doing something based on these numerous outreaches, we wanted you to understand why an increase in Medicare marketing occurs at this time of year so you can confidently direct your employees for guidance.
Real problems that these marketing tactics can cause:
Ads can be misleading. Some people will feel pressured by the phone calls they receive. We receive panicky calls every year from clients who said their insurance company called them to make changes to their plans and did they make a mistake changing? Very often, the answer is “yes,” and often, it was not even the insurance company calling them, but a random agent trying to ‘switch’ plans on them when it was not necessary.
Insurance company initiated calls. Insurance company agents call beneficiaries to sell them a different Medicare plan with the same insurance company. The agent will push the ‘freebies’ to entice the switch. Later the member tries to use the new plan and finds out their doctor is not in the network, and their prescriptions cost more.
Advertising enticing freebies. Beneficiaries are enticed to change plans entirely on their own based on the benefits they hear on TV they can get for free. Again, they switch to a plan to get the promised benefits, but then their doctor is not in-network, and drugs are either not covered or cost more.
Insurance agents do not know a beneficiary personally. Agents use call lists to contact Medicare members and don’t actually have any information on their coverage. This tactic can lead to many fraud cases where folks give out information to people they shouldn’t.
Random insurance agent calls. Agents pretend to represent the insurance company the member is enrolled in and convinces them to change to another plan.
Certified Medicare Planners® are Medicare fiduciaries. This means they are Medicare experts trained to guide by putting YOUR needs first. They don’t sell Medicare. They educate, inform, guide, present all plan options and listen to your needs to help YOU pick plans that are appropriate. They get to know their clients.
A Certified Medicare Planner® will explain all plan differences and options and let YOU make an educated decision rather than trying to sell you something!
What should Medicare beneficiaries do with these calls and ads:
In most cases, do NOTHING!
-If an employee is already a Medicare client of ours, any response to those ads or calls is unnecessary. We look after our clients every year, proactively reviewing their plans, doctors, and drug utilization to ensure their coverage meets their needs for the coming year. If any changes could impact them, we contact them to meet with our Certified Medicare Planners® to discuss changes and confirm opportunities. We create partnerships so they know we are looking out for them. Those ads they are receiving can go in the trash. The phone calls also can be ignored.
-If a Medicare beneficiary needs guidance or is concerned about any communications they are receiving, we suggest contacting a Certified Medicare Planner® before committing to ANY changes to their current plans.
– Medicare beneficiaries are not required to make any changes during the Annual Election Period unless their plan is not offered.
When changing plans might make sense:
- When plan premiums increase or when their current Medicare Advantage plan won’t be available for coverage next year
- When a beneficiary’s primary care doctor is leaving their Medicare plan network
- When prescription costs will be going up or when a plan will no longer cover a particular medication.
- When a Certified Medicare Planner®, they consult, and trust guides them on why a change makes sense for them.
A Certified Planner® will not recommend a change unless it benefits a member toward their costs, coverage, and preferred doctor and pharmacy.
Need guidance on how to support your employees with other possible scenarios and helpful solutions?
Our Certified Medicare Planners® have more than 20 years of experience helping employees create Medicare transition plans BEFORE they need to enroll. We are ready to help!
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