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Be Empowered – Retire With Confidence – Fast‐Track Your Decision­‐Making

Fast‐track your decision‐making. Your 65th birthday is an important milestone, especially when it comes to making decisions about Medicare. In the months and weeks prior to your birthday, you’ll be inundated with offers from companies wanting you to buy Medicare Supplement insurance from them. But knowing where to start can be difficult. Here are two things you can do to help fast‐track your decision‐making process:

  • Get recommendations from trusted family members or friends who have retired successfully.
  • If you don’t know anyone who can make recommendations, you’ll need to find an expert educator — an agent — who can help guide you through the process. Since the decisions you make now can affect you for the rest of your life, it’s important to work with an experienced professional you can trust.

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Be Empowered – Retire With Confidence – Know What to Look for in an Agent

Know what to look for in an agent. A good insurance agent is there to listen and educate — not just sell you something. Here are three key indicators that will help you determine if an agent is working in your best interest:

  • Are they listening to you? A good agent will ask you questions, taking care to fully understand your specific needs and concerns before making any recommendations.
  • Are they good at explaining the details of your coverage options? An agent who is knowledgeable about the company’s products will be able to explain everything you need to know — in a way that’s easy to understand.
  • Are they willing to address all your questions and concerns? An agent who is genuinely interested in helping you will welcome your questions and spend as much time as needed to answer and address your concerns — so you can make your insurance decisions with confidence.

Remember: If an agent immediately or continually pushes to make a sale, they may not have your best interest in mind. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to walk away.

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Be Empowered – Retire With Confidence – Understand Your Choices for Medicare Coverage

Understand your choices for Medicare coverage. There are two ways to get your Medicare coverage. You can go with Original Medicare Parts A & B. Or, you can opt out of Original Medicare and go with Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage.

If you go with Original Medicare, you can also get a Medicare Supplement insurance plan to help cover what Medicare doesn’t, like deductibles and co‐pays. These plans are available through private insurance companies.

Medicare Supplement plans have a six-­month Open Enrollment Period when you’re guaranteed coverage no matter what. If you miss your Open Enrollment Period, you may have to answer health questions if you want to make a change – and you may lose your chance to get a supplement plan in the future.

Source: “Medicare & You 2017,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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Be Empowered – Retire With Confidence – Be Aware of Fraud Scams

Be aware of fraud scams. If you’re already on Medicare, keep in mind that Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 through December 7, is a prime time for scammers. Open Enrollment is the only time during the year when you can change your prescription drug plan (Part D), or switch from a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) to Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement plan.

To avoid being scammed or having your identity stolen, remember:

  • Never give your Medicare number to anyone over the phone or through email. Phone calls and emails from scammers pretending to be from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are common. They even have ways to make it appear as if their call is coming from Medicare on your caller ID. Their goal is to convince you to give them your Medicare number. In reality, Medicare will never call or email and ask for your number.
  • If you decide to go with a Medicare Supplement plan, make sure you have a trusted insurance professional who can help you find the best option for you. Unfortunately, some scammers take advantage of the fact that Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period overlaps with open enrollment for the state-­based health insurance marketplaces that are part of the Affordable Care Act. They try to convince Medicare recipients to enroll in purported supplemental plans through these exchanges.

The fact is, if you’re already covered by Medicare, it is illegal for someone to try to sell you coverage through the health insurance marketplaces.

Source: “How to spot, avoid Medicare open-­enrollment scams,” by Steve Weisman,, November 5, 2016

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Be Empowered – Retire With Confidence – Take Advantage of Preventive Care Services

Take advantage of preventive care services. You may be eligible for a variety of preventive care services when you’re on Medicare. Taking advantage of these services can help keep your health care costs lower — and more importantly, help you enjoy a healthier retirement.

Source: “Medicare & You 2017,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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