When you are first eligible for Medicare, you have some important decisions to make:
- Should you delay enrollment in Medicare Part B?
- Should you select a Medigap plan or a Medicare Advantage plan?
- How can you be sure to avoid penalties and make the right plan choices?
However, the most important decision you can make is finding a Medicare advisor who will help you navigate the Medicare maze and make sure you make the best possible choices.
The Tie Test
It’s a good idea to educate yourself but also look for guidance. Most people look to friends and trusted advisors for advice and recommendations. I recommend using the “TIE” test to find the right Medicare advisor.
- Trustworthy (Reputation): Talk to trusted advisors such as your financial advisor or CPA and ask who they recommend. Check out testimonials (make sure they’re legitimate) and see what others have to say. You can also ask your friends. Find out who has been a reliable agent over the years and has a solid reputation for dependability and servicing the ongoing needs of their clients.
- Independent: Make sure your advisor doesn’t work with just one or two carriers. It’s important to have a choice among many of the top carriers, not just an agent’s favorite one or two. Many agents are incentivized to steer people to just one company, even if they appear to be independent.
- Experienced: It takes many years to really know the ins and outs of Medicare. That’s why you should look for an advisor with a minimum of 10 years of experience. You want someone who knows their stuff. Do they have a blog? See if they are committed to ongoing learning, as well as sharing their expertise. There is a very low barrier of entry to become a Medicare agent, so there are thousands of agents who are just “trying out” this job.
You can navigate the Medicare maze with the right map and an experienced guide. Start early, ask lots of questions, and find the help you need to choose wisely.
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