Essential Tips to Get Access to The Best Medicare Advantage Plan Available
VENICE, Fla., Dec. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — During the Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare, millions of Medicare-eligible Americans are at risk of being legally misled by some TV telemarketers compelling people to call for Medicare Advantage plan enrollment which can be harmful. For some TV telemarketing companies, it is open season to take advantage of seniors.
“Fortunately, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will strengthen the approval process for all Medicare-related TV advertisements starting January 2023. Until then, many TV telemarketers will continue to legally misinform seniors of benefits related to Medicare Advantage plans,” said Dr. Darwin Hale, CEO & Founder of Advocate Health Advisors.
As a Veteran, author, and licensed insurance agent since 2005, Dr. Darwin Hale’s company, Advocate Health Advisors was founded to help people navigate the complex Medicare landscape and make positive, life-impacting decisions about their healthcare coverage.
“In my opinion, many TV telemarketers are not high-quality licensed insurance brokers. The distinction is incredibly important,” said Dr. Hale.
Medicare beneficiaries, from throughout the nation, have reached out to Advocate Health Advisors and many have shared negative personal experiences of dealing with TV telemarketers. Here are the most commonly received complaints about TV telemarketers and how they can be avoided when working with a high-quality insurance broker.
Intentional abuse by TV telemarketers is targeted, deliberate and malicious. One example of intentional abuse involves a representative circumventing the existing CMS rules through cold calling into a person’s home under the pretense of some other topic not governed by Medicare. They then engineer the conversation into the topic of Medicare, which leads to transferring the call to a third party and potentially a high-pressured sales tactic where seniors are baited into joining a new plan or unintentionally switching out of an old plan. Also, seniors may be misled into providing their Medicare number, social security number, or additional sensitive personal information over the phone, which can lead to folks being enrolled in Medicare plans without permission. This can result in seniors being tricked into making life-changing decisions in a matter of minutes with potentially negative consequences.
Misinformation from TV telemarketers is rampant. People often complain about pricing and availability of their doctors. Even though they are led to make plan adjustments to improve their financial position, in hindsight they are not in an overall improved financial position, sometimes lose their primary care doctor and can’t get in to see the new one. It’s hard to say how much is intentional versus just a lack of experience. Many TV telemarketers work in a very high-pressure sales structure to meet quotas or face being fired. Whether it’s an intentional exaggeration or there just wasn’t enough time to do the job right, consumers end up getting hurt.
The lack of experience from TV telemarketers is profound. Many telemarketers have only weeks of Medicare training and only months of total experience enrolling plan holders. Subsequently, they promote what is easiest to sell as opposed to what is best for the plan holder. The inexperienced telemarketer may not know the plan holder’s local health network, the elaborate benefit structures, or the critical social resources needed to maximize the client’s health and wellness. Some TV telemarketers also provide little if any customer service after the sale, which is problematic because there are known issues like not obtaining ‘proof of coverage’ that can be easily avoided. Once the plan holder hangs up, they will likely never contact or hear from the TV telemarketer ever again.
To protect themselves from issues associated with TV telemarketers, Dr. Hale recommends Medicare- eligible Americans seek the council of a local and licensed high-quality broker.
“It’s important folks arm themselves with the knowledge and wisdom needed to provide protection and find the right coverage,” said Dr. Hale.
Here are three steps Medicare-eligible Americans can take to secure a Medicare Advantage plan in which the true beneficiary is the plan holder.
Choose an experienced local, licensed agent whose focus benefits the plan holder through a deep knowledge of their community. Understanding provider networks in the local area, coordination of healthcare and access to high quality carrier support networks are critical to plan holders staying healthy. A local agent who is active in the community through selfless service builds trust, loyalty and provides a high-level of customer service. Just as important, most local licensed agents have many years of Medicare experience and training, which leads to life-long relationships with plan holders. Oftentimes, it works best for plan holders to seek out local agents who are referred by trusted family members or friends.
Request a personalized Medicare needs analysis that allows both the local agent and plan holder to take the time required to discover the best-suited Medicare plan. Medicare Advantage plans are rich in benefits that almost make them feel personalized and, in most cases, are very affordable. A local licensed insurance agent should always provide a thorough needs analysis to discover the best available Medicare plans tailored to the specific health and financial needs of the plan holder.
Protect private health-related information with an abundance of caution. A local and licensed agent should never ask for sensitive personal information over the phone such as a Medicare or Social Security number. Do not provide sensitive information via phone, even if the caller claims they are an employee from CMS or other government agencies. To receive some additional protection from TV telemarketers, visit the “National Do Not Call Registry” (donotcall.gov) and make sure phone numbers are secure from unwanted telemarketing calls. Medicare has given permission to private companies to market and sell Medicare Advantage plans, but there are clear guidelines that must be followed.
“These tips hold the power to educate Medicare-eligible beneficiaries to protect themselves and give them the tools to access the healthcare they need,” added Dr. Hale.
Those interested can learn more about working with a local licensed agent by visiting www.AdvocateHealthAdvisors.com or calling (800) 709-5513.
About Advocate Health Advisors
Advocate Health Advisors (AHA) is the national industry-leading Field Marketing Organization (FMO) in the Medicare market, licensed in all 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. A values-based, community-focused organization, AHA provides its agents and agencies with an unparalleled level of customized support and appreciation, leveraging a track record of successes, best practices, national partnerships, and infrastructure. The company helps local health insurance agents succeed before, during, and after the sale by providing access to quality products that promote consumer health and well-being. AHA agents are committed to helping folks make informed decisions as they first become eligible for Medicare benefits or change existing Medicare coverage. For more information, visit www.advocatehealthadvisors.com.
SOURCE Advocate Health Advisors