As a Medicare Supplement Agent, I understand the stigma faced by insurance agents. Fortunately, I do not fit into the stereotypical, good-natured car salesman prototype, but I know many agents who do that.
As Open Enrollment is almost over and many people are choosing to switch from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement, I thought I could say my two cents about choosing the perfect agent, just in case consumers are interested in separating the good, the bad and the ugly.
One thing that separates the agents is who they work for and their lead generation method. Although cold calling has become illegal, many Medicare Supplement Agents still find people who are not on the “Do Not Call” list and spend their days bothering these unknowingly vulnerable consumers.
If an agent calls you and you have no idea how they got your number, end the call. This agent is violating a federal law, and there is no telling what this agent could do.
Independent agents, that is, agents who work for nobody, are usually the culprits behind cold-calling, in addition to being contracted carriers. This however does not mean that there are no reliable independent agents in the field.
Surprisingly, independent agents can be some of the best in the business so long as they do not resort to pestering or cold calling. Why is that? First of all, most agents work in large call centers or for the carriers themselves. If you work with a large call center, out of thousands, you are just one customer. Agents working for one vendor cannot give you more than one offer. Never talk to an agent who only works for one provider because I can guarantee that you will hear an unbalanced sales pitch – something that every consumer in every market should endure.
Independent agents have none of these problems. They are usually contracted with several carriers for their region, and hold a manageable customer base – making them one of the best ways to get the cheapest rate for a Medicare supplement policy.
Disclaimer: There are some smaller call centers that refrain from becoming too big, and these are good places to shop. In general, you should turn away from anyone who does not help you with shopping, that is, someone who does not understand that you want to hear more than one available option.
Agents who offer only one plan type, especially Plan F, can’t be trusted at all. “But I expected Plan F would be the best plan?!” In terms of coverage, you’re right; plan F is the most comprehensive. However, in terms of commission income, Plan F is the most lucrative plan an agent can sell to you