When Ignorance Is Not Bliss
November 9, 2023
Specialist Shmuel Zaidman aids and enlightens Medicare customers
Health insurance of any kind often has the unique ability to confuse and confound even the sharpest of minds, constantly sowing seeds of doubt. Am I paying too much? Does everyone pay such a big premium? How does anyone afford this?
Medicare only further befuddles the average layman, leaving some of the most vulnerable or susceptible people with piles of papers, oodles of options, and a marked dearth of clarity.
Enter Mr. Shmuel Zaidman, Medicare insurance specialist. A health insurance broker specializing in Medicare, Mr. Zaidman has an impressive repertoire of insurance knowledge. Licensed in most states, he sells Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans for over 40 different companies.
With 17 years of experience in the Medicare insurance field, Mr. Zaidman helps his customers navigate the winding pathways of Medicare, including the enrollment process and switching plans when necessary. For those seeking prescription drug coverage, he assesses the medications they are currently using and compares companies to find the prescription drug plan that will most benefit the customer. In addition, he often helps acquire prescription drug assistance when warranted.
The specialist’s specialty
Reaching your 64th birthday in the United States often marks the beginning of a deluge of advertisements, brochures, flyers, and phone calls, each vying for the privilege of serving you through Medicare.
Medicare is infamous as a labyrinth of confusing policies and terms. Plan F? Plan G? High deductible? There seem to be myriads of options. Which one is optimal for you? How are you supposed to know?
Because Mr. Zaidman has years of experience deciphering it all.
“I get many different types of phone calls.” Mr. Zaidman shares with a grin. “Some callers get straight to the point, and I have to ask questions to get enough information to make an educated choice. Others launch into a detailed medical history before they even reveal their names; I listen carefully to all of it because although I am not a doctor and cannot give any medical advice, sometimes hearing which procedure they need helps me understand which coverage is best for them.”
He also gets calls from many local organizations such as Bikur Cholim and the LRRC and is instrumental in aiding doctors and patient advocates who are trying to help their clients in difficult medical situations.
Are you nearing 65 and don’t know what Medicare is, let alone what your options are? Are you comfortably ensconced in a workplace-based insurance plan, unaware that Medicare may be able to give you more for less? Do you already have Medicare and want simply to ascertain that you chose well? Call Shmuel Zaidman.
“With today’s technology, you may never have to come to my office,” Mr. Zaidman assures. Enrollments can be done over the phone and through email and fax.
Why a broker?
Do you need a broker?
Only if you want to save time and money.
Naturally, you may choose to do your own research.
You may choose to spend hours on the phone listening to cheerful repetitions of “Your call is important to us…”
Brokers, however, have all the necessary knowledge at their fingertips. They can help you sift the method from the madness, giving you twice the amount of information in half the time.
Brokers give you personal service you will not find should you embark on this journey alone.
Brokers receive remuneration from the insurance companies, not the consumers. You will not need to pay a fee for the broker’s expertise.
Brokers are not restricted or beholden to any specific insurance company. On the other hand, an agent employed by Humana (a large insurance company), for example, can only sell Humana’s products. Speaking to a broker can help you find the best price point and benefits for your needs, as they can compare the different companies to give you the best possible coverage.
After using the services of a broker over the years, you will find you’ve developed a relationship with them. Their knowledge of your needs will enhance the service they provide.
What is the annual enrollment period?
Are you already enrolled in a Medicare plan?
Would you like a better or cheaper option? Perhaps both?
You will need to do so during the annual enrollment period (AEP), which takes place yearly from October 15 until December 7. That’s when one can switch Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans.
Did you miss the AEP? There may be a special circumstance you overlooked. The weeks preceding this period are an excellent time to review your options. Many insurance companies take this opportunity to inundate your mailbox with a deluge of flyers.
However, an exception to this rule, Medicare Supplements, also known as Medigap plans, can be purchased or changed at any time throughout the year.
Medicare Insurance Specialists can help you explore all possibilities.
“I get this all the time,” Mr. Zaidman says, shaking his head. “People tell me they want a specific Medicare plan. They heard it’s the best, all their doctors take it, all their friends and neighbors use it… Please understand that if a doctor takes Medicare, he takes all Medicare Supplemental plans. The plan I’m recommending may not be what your friends have, but it will offer precisely the same coverage—for less money.”
Naturally, clients are welcome to pay more for the plan they recognize. However, one must understand that all Medicare plans are standardized by the federal government. Each plan of the same letter, designated A through N, must offer the same basic benefits, regardless of which insurance company sells it. For example, Plan F with AARP offers the same basic benefits as Plan F with Aetna or Blue Cross. The difference lies only in the price.
How to handle all that mail
When you turn 65 (and likely many months before), you will get a ton of Medicare related mail. However, the majority of the Medicare mail coming from insurance companies will arrive around October/November during the annual open enrollment period. Most of the mail will entice you to sign up for a specific insurance policy, but Mr. Zaidman strongly cautions you to think twice before doing so.
Why? You won’t have the opportunity to compare it against other plans, and by the time you realize your mistake, it will be too late.
If you sign up directly with the insurance carrier, you aren’t giving yourself the chance to compare that plan against all the others in the market.
Insurance agencies offer the exact same price as the insurance carriers, so you don’t save money by buying directly.
Let’s be honest, can you trust the Medicare telemarketers? Do they have your best interest in mind?
Unfortunately, seniors are a big market for telemarketers and scammers. Be wary of solicitation calls and calls asking for your personal information. According to the FCC, Medicare will not call you directly and ask for your personal information. You will likely get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a government agency.
Bottom line: Never join a Medicare health or drug plan over the phone unless you called Medicare.
Trust must be a major factor when choosing your Medicare health insurance broker. Consider reputation, experience, and referrals a priority when choosing the best health coverage.
Important changes for 2024
- The catastrophic phase in Part D prescription drug plans has been eliminated.
- There are many new PPO Medicare Advantage Plans; you no longer need to be stuck in an HMO.
- There will be a $0 premium Part D plan available in 2024. Remember that any change in your Part D plan must be done prior to December 7 for 2024.
Consulting Mr. Zaidman doesn’t cost money. It only saves.
Contact Mr. Shmuel Zaidman at 732-497-CARE (2273) or firstname.lastname@example.org.