How do you identify "independent agents" in your area who represent several different Medicare plan providers? There are some steps you can take to improve the odds.
1. Search. First, consider using the Internet to find some agents and/or consultants.
2. Evaluate. Once you’ve assembled a list of advisers, you’ll need to figure out who to eliminate from your search and who gets to stay on your list of possible advisers. You can also browse the web for Medicare or SNF consulting or Skilled Nursing Facility consulting services.
Most insurance ‘agents’ are licensed in their resident state and offer many different types of insurance coverage, including health insurance, life insurance, hospital indemnity plans, Medicare plans, home insurance, car insurance, and the list goes on.
In other words, most insurance agents are jacks of all trades and masters of none. And what you want is a master, a Medicare specialist, someone who has the knowledge, skills, and integrity to assist you in finding the plan that fits your unique situation.
3. Narrow the search even further. At the best, your Medicare adviser will help you figure out which plan to use and charge only a fee or an hourly rate — not a commission. Commissions could mean the advice is conflicted, rather than unbiased, and in your best interest.
But if you can’t find someone who charges just a fee or by the hour, your next best choice is to work with an independent agent rather than a captive agent.