Medicare Black Senior Couple webMedicare Annual Enrollment is coming. It officially begins on October 15th, but like Christmas ads, promos for annual enrollment seem to start earlier each year. You will likely see the usual suspects: Joe Namath, JJ Walker, and even good ol’ Bill Shatner. They are pushing the Medicare Advantage program. It’s not that Advantage plans are bad—it’s the fact that the ads can be misleading, and the salespeople can be pushy, urging people to switch plans when switching plans may not be appropriate.

There have been many complaints about these tactics, causing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to enact new compliance regulations related to phone sales.

What can you do to avoid being targeted? Do not call or answer calls from 800 numbers. The people on the other end of the line are there for one reason, and one reason only: to sell you a plan! These are high-pressure sales tactics, and you are simply a number. Do NOT respond to tear-off mailers! Your response is sold to multiple agents as a lead. You are inviting solicitations from many agents and it’s difficult to sort the good from the bad. Be wary of submitting your personal information to online brokers with no physical address. Again, your info is often sold as a lead, and you’ll get more calls and mail offers.

Your best course is to work with a local, independently-owned agency with a solid reputation. Why? Some Medicare plans are sold by just one company, so for example, ABC Insurance will only offer you ABC Insurance plans. You will also have to shop around on your own or just settle for their brand. But if you go to a firm like Silver Crest, their trained, independent agents will assess all your needs and place you in a plan with ABC Insurance, Capital Blue Cross, Aetna, Geisinger Gold, or whichever plan best fits your needs. Independent agents will review your circumstances and current plans and make sure you are in the best plan for your needs and budget. Silver Crest Insurance, Inc., is a locally-owned, independent insurance agency that works with many different plans and plan options. We are not under any obligation to sell you a plan from a particular provider. Our obligation is to you! Ethics, Communication, and Service are three of our company’s core values. We encourage you to work with an agency that puts these values first, not a solicitor on the phone or TV or Google ad who you will likely never meet or hear from again!

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