How to Get Ready for a Meeting with Your Health Insurance Agent
Wednesday November 25th, 2020
If you’re new to Medicare, check out our Medicare 101, Understanding your Medicare Options and Finding the Right Medicare Plan for You articles. If you need to find an insurance agent, you can get some pointers in this article and understand why an Agent matters. For example, an Agent can help you figure out what coverage works best for your situation, how to get the most out of your plan and even help you find in-network doctors for a specific plan.
Meetings, especially when they involve big decisions like selecting a health plan, can be nerve wracking. But this article can help take the guesswork out of preparing to meet with a Medicare insurance agent. Here’s what to do before, during and after you meet with an agent.
What to do before the meeting
1. Take stock of your current plan and health situation
Before meeting with an agent, you’ll want to figure what kind of health plan you currently have and how it’s working for you. Figure out what type of health coverage you have—medical prescription, dental and/or vision—and what kind of coverage you need. Take into account any upcoming procedures or recent health changes.
List out what you pay each month for premiums and copays and write out your deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket costs. Are you able to afford these costs? If not, figure out what would be more affordable for your budget.
Ask yourself what you like most about your current coverage? What benefits do you like best? Do you prefer any specific providers or hospitals? Make a list of the things you like and want to have included in your plan.
Is there anything you would add or change about your current coverage to make it better? What are you hoping to gain by switching plans? Is travel or living elsewhere a part of your lifestyle? Write out your answers.
2. Ask for materials to be sent to you in advance
Ask for the agent to mail or email materials to you in advance so you have time to review them. Make a list of questions or concerns about the materials. Refer back to your likes and dislikes, needs and goals in step one.
3. Determine if a regular phone call or a video call would work best for you
If you’re confident using technology, you can opt for a video call which will let you and your agent see each other. They can also share their computer screen with you so you can follow along with the materials. Virtual appointments are more similar to a face-to-face meeting. If you go the virtual route, set up your account and download any software or apps ahead of time. Practice using the platform to get familiar with it. Read any tutorials or FAQs to troubleshoot.
If you are not as confident using technology, if you don’t have a device like a computer or tablet or if you don’t have an Internet connection, you might want to opt for a standard phone call.
During the appointment
1. Create a focused environment
Make sure you have a quiet space and can hear the agent well. Turn off any other distractions like the TV, radio or apps.
2. Ask the agent to speak clearly and slowly
3. Listen carefully and ask questions
If you’re unsure or confused by anything the agent says, be sure to ask a question to clarify. Repeat what the agent said back in your own words to confirm you understand correctly.
4. Follow along with the materials
Ask the agent to tell you page numbers and describe the materials you can follow along with them.
5. Determine if you want to enroll in a plan or have more time to review options
If you’re ready to enroll in a plan during the appointment, you can do so by signing either with your voice over the phone or electronically. If you want more time to review plans, you can ask for the agent to email you the options discussed or mail you the enrollment forms so you can enroll yourself.
After the appointment
1. Enroll in a plan if you didn’t during the appointment
Follow up with the agent if you have any other questions or concerns. Enroll in the right plan that works for you.
2. Watch for your enrollment materials
Be on the lookout for your enrollment materials including your summary of benefits and your membership ID. Once you get your materials, set up any accounts like the MyHumana app, SilverSneakers and Go365. Make sure to activate any supplemental benefits like an OTC or grocery allowance. If you need assistance or have any questions, reach out to your agent or carrier for help.
3. Set up a doctor’s visit
Read the How to Prepare for a Doctor’s Visit article and checklist to learn how to get ready for your next doctor’s visit.
Do you need to find a new primary care provider in addition to a new health plan? Learn how to find the right value-based care provider for you. Read the article.