Clients come to you for peace of mind about their financial future. For many clients, the greatest threat to that peace of mind is healthcare. Without the right coverage, a single hospital stay can put all they’ve worked and saved for at risk. But Medicare can go a long way toward protecting their wealth — if they make the most of it. That’s where Healthpilot comes in.
Choosing and enrolling in a Medicare plan is often a frustrating, time-consuming process. As a result, it can prevent your clients from making the best Medicare choices. Healthpilot is a free website that makes Medicare easier for your clients by recommending the best Medicare plans for their specific needs and letting them enroll in minutes, with no sales push for any plan, ever.
With Healthpilot, you can protect your clients from the potential healthcare costs that keep them up at night. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period starts October 15. So the time to talk to your clients about Medicare and Healthpilot is now.
First, Some Medicare Basics.
You don’t have to be an expert in Medicare to take advantage of your Healthpilot partnership. But here’s a quick overview to help you discuss Medicare with your clients.
Medicare is the health insurance program run by the federal government for adults aged 65 and older and for people with disabilities or certain health conditions. Medicare helps people pay for hospital care, doctor visits, and prescription drugs.
Medicare consists of various “Parts”:
Medicare Part A covers hospital care and services. This includes coverage for in-patient hospital stays, care received in a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation center and more.
Medicare Part B covers physician services and other outpatient treatments such as x-rays, lab tests, and medical equipment like wheelchairs and walkers. Part B also covers preventive services.
Note: Together, Medicare Part A and Part B are often referred to as “Original Medicare.”
Medicare Part C, also called Medicare Advantage, is an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. This includes coverage from Medicare-approved private insurance companies. When your clients enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, they still have Medicare. These bundled plans include all the services covered under Part A and Part B, and may also include Medicare Part D coverage. Some Medicare Advantage Plans include extra benefits — such as routine dental, vision, and hearing exams that Original Medicare does not cover.
Medicare Part D helps pay for prescription drugs. Even if your clients don’t take prescription drugs now, they should consider getting Medicare drug coverage. It is optional and offered to everyone with Medicare. Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is available through a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or through a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, helps people pay their portion of medical expenses like copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. These policies are offered by private insurance companies to supplement Original Medicare coverage. Some Medigap policies also cover medical care when traveling outside the U.S.
Still with us? Great. Medicare covers a great deal of healthcare costs and offers multiple ways to supplement that coverage. But how you talk about Medicare to each client will depend on where they are in their Medicare journey.
Different Clients, Different Situations.
A client’s age is key to what Medicare deadlines they have to meet and how you can help them.
Clients who are 64 and 65.
Most of your clients will become eligible for Medicare on the first day of the month they turn 65. For a seamless transition from their employer plan to Medicare, they must sign up during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which starts three months before they turn 65 and ends three months after. (If a client is collecting Social Security, they will already be enrolled.)
Clients who are over 65.
For clients who are over 65, there is a good chance they will already have a Medicare plan. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right plan. Their health needs, or the plan itself, may have changed. Or they may not have done enough comparison shopping before choosing a plan. So, we recommend an annual conversation with these clients — a “Medicare check-up” — that ends with a referral to Healthpilot.
Clients who want to work past 65.
For who want to keep working and stay on their employer’s health plan after 65 can delay signing up for Original Medicare with no penalty. When they are ready to leave their employer’s plan, they must sign up for Medicare during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This period starts the month after their employer coverage ends and lasts for eight months.
There is usually no premium for Medicare Part A, so clients over 65 who still have coverage from an employer may want to sign up for it anyway. However, doing so will make them ineligible to save pre-tax dollars in a health savings account (HSA). In this case, you may want to advise your client to stop contributing to an HSA a few months before they enroll in Medicare. After they switch to Medicare, they can still use what’s left in their HSA for qualified medical expenses.
Clients in their early 60s.
Don’t ignore the youngsters. You both have a great opportunity to plan ahead, so take advantage of it.
A couple of “watch outs.”
Medigap policies are widely popular. So, it’s important to know that the best time to get a Medigap policy is when a Medicare beneficiary is newly eligible for Part B. Eligibility for Part B triggers the Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which lasts for 6 months from the date their Part B coverage goes into effect. If your client misses the deadline, they can still enroll at any time, but their premiums may go up, or they may be denied Medigap coverage completely due to their health status. It’s important to reach out to clients in their OEP and let them know what’s at stake. Your Healthpilot advisor portal makes it easy to see which clients are entering their OEP.
Clients who do not enroll in Original Medicare on time may face a penalty resulting in higher monthly premiums. Watch out, especially for Part B — the penalty adds 10% to the monthly premium for every 12 months of delay.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.
AEP occurs annually from October 15 to December 7. During this time, your clients can join a Medicare Advantage Plan or leave a Medicare Advantage Plan and get Original Medicare or switch to a new Part D prescription drug plan.
Remember, clients who want to enroll in a Medigap policy can do so any time of year.
Medicare Plans Have Costs, Healthpilot Doesn't.
There is no premium for Medicare Part A if your client has paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. If not, they will have to pay a monthly premium. Medicare Parts B and D and Medigap policies require monthly premiums. Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans have costs, but these may or may not take the form of a monthly premium.
Clients who have a high income may be subject to IRMAA (income-related monthly adjustment amount) surcharges. These are determined by their filing status and modified adjusted growth income from two years prior. Clients who have to pay IRMAA will be notified directly by Social Security.
Healthpilot is free to use. When your client enrolls in a Medicare plan through Healthpilot, we receive a commission from the plan provider and share part of it with you as a referral bonus.
Talking About Healthpilot
That’s enough about Medicare for now. Here’s what your clients need to know about Healthpilot.
Healthpilot is a trusted partner that makes Medicare easier.
Healthpilot is a free website that uses smart technology to assess your client’s healthcare needs, then recommends the most optimal Medicare plans. It’s easy to use. In fact, clients can compare and enroll in a plan in about 15 minutes. Plus, help is available at any time by phone or chat.
Most Medicare brokers rely on their “intuition” for plan suggestions. Healthpilot recommends plans based on facts about how your clients and others use — and pay for —healthcare. While Medicare brokers often represent a single company and one or two plans, Healthpilot has no sales agents and no bias towards any plan, ever.
Free service with no additional plan cost.
Healthpilot is free. Your clients pay the exact same price for their Medicare plan whether they enroll through Healthpilot, another broker or the insurance company.
The right plan this year and every year.
Healthpilot evaluates plans each year to confirm your client is always in the right Medicare plan—not just this year but every year. Healthpilot will alert your client if their coverage changes or if a better plan becomes available.
There’s no need for you to be a Medicare expert or walk your clients through the Healthpilot process. We’ll take care of that.
How You and Healthpilot Work Together
Healthpilot makes it easy for your clients to find the right plan and enroll. To help with your financial planning, Healthpilot keeps your advisor portal up to date with your client’s estimated yearly savings and out-of-pocket costs with their current plan.
The most important thing is to refer your clients to Healthpilot using your unique referral link. Beyond that, you can be as engaged as you want to be. You can inform your clients about Medicare deadlines, advise them on how to avoid fees and higher premiums, and remind them to evaluate their coverage every year.
For more about Medicare, check out the educational resources in your Healthpilot advisor portal. And remember, Medicare Annual Enrollment starts October 15th, so start talking to your clients about how Healthpilot can make Medicare easier today.
This article was brought to you by Healthpilot Technologies LLC. Healthpilot is not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. Healthpilot.com is operated by Healthpilot Technologies LLC, a licensed health insurance agency, also doing business as Healthpilot Insurance Services in the state of California. The purpose of this article is the solicitation of insurance.