In addition, the Medicare Rights Center (medicarerights.org) staffs a hotline at 800-333-4114 to help answer your Medicare questions.
And your State Health Insurance Assistance Program provides free Medicare counseling in person or over the phone. To find a local SHIP counselor, visit shiptalk.org or call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116.
And, for tips on choosing a top Medicare Advantage plan, read the HealthMetrix Research Cost Share Report at medicarenewswatch.com. This resource lists the best Advantage plans by area based on your health status.
Fee-based services: If the free services don’t cut the mustard and you need some additional help in making your Medicare decisions, there are a handful of fee-based companies that are helpful.
One of the best is Allsup Inc. (ama.allsup.com, 866-521-7655), which offers a Medicare Advisor service that takes your personal information online or over the phone — such as the prescription drugs you take and the doctors you use — and provides you customized advice on the best Medicare plans that match your needs and budget.
They’ll even help you enroll in the plan(s) you select. Fees for their services range between $200 and $495, depending on how much help you need.
Another option is Healthcare Navigation (healthcarenavigation.com, 877-811-8211), which charges $750 for a 90-minute comprehensive Medicare consultation.
Commission-based: Another way to get help with your Medicare enrollment is to consult an independent insurance agent. Agents typically get paid a commission to sell you a policy, although they offer plans from a number of providers.
The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America have a directory on their website, independentagent.com/contactus, that lets you search for agents in your area. Keep in mind that agents typically specialize in the Medicare plans they represent, rather than all the plans in your market.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
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