Many senior citizens admit that getting a grasp on the new changes in store for Medicare is confusing and frustrating.

But Medicare Insurance Advisors, of Sartell, can ease that stress by explaining all the upcoming changes and the various options and plans a customer can choose from.

Paul and Patricia Hamilton, who operate Medicare Insurance Advisors in Sartell, can help customers understand the new Medicare changes in store for 2019 free of charge. Contributed photo

And if it’s not convenient for a customer to travel to their office for a sit-down meeting, that’s not a problem either; they make house calls.

“I called them about six months ago, and I’m so glad that I did,” said Dana Nelson of St. Cloud. “I couldn’t get to their office so they came to my home to help me understand everything.”

“We travel around a lot, and they helped us find insurance that would cover us no matter where we are,” said Connie and Robert Koch, of Grey Eagle. “They are very professional and friendly. And they listen to whatever questions we have. I had a glitch on my Social Security, and they helped me with that, too. I really appreciate their services.”

Nelson and the Kochs are just a few of many clients who have benefited from using Medicare Insurance Advisors, a local independent Medicare-focused insurance agency founded by Paul Hamilton 15 years ago. Paul’s wife, Patricia, is the vice president of the business.

And the good news is …. the advice and assistance are free of charge.

“There is no cost, and there is no obligation to use our services,” said Paul. “We shop the market for you. There is no upcharge to work with us.”

It’s a win-win situation all around.

“We want to help seniors understand this complicated situation and sort through things based on their needs,” said Patricia.

Medicare Insurance Advisors has five locations in Minnesota with the home office located in Sartell.

A federal law implemented recently will eliminate certain health insurance options across the state. As a result, over 300,000 Minnesotans who currently have a Medicare Cost plan will be required to switch to another plan for 2019.

“They are required to convert to a new Medicare plan for this annual enrollment period (AEP) from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7,” said Paul. “There are no changes to coverage in 2018.”

Minnesota is one of the few states where these changes are being implemented for 2019. Over 630,000 people in the United States are currently enrolled in Medicare Cost plans. Of those, Minnesota accounts for nearly two-thirds of that number; or around 400,000 people.

“We’re here to help in any way we can,” said Paul. “The changes are coming soon, and there are so many people that don’t even know what type of a plan they now have. Some of them think they have a Medicare Supplement plan. We know Medicare is confusing for most people.”

Anyone receiving a notification this summer in the mail from their insurance company explaining that the Cost plan is being eliminated will be affected by the new Medicare changes. And seeking an independent insurance agent/broker like Medicare Insurance Advisors is advantageous is gaining a better understanding of these changes.

The Medicare Insurance Advisors office is located at 2107 Troop Drive in Sartell. Contributed photo

Insurance companies are projecting that Cost plans will be eliminated in 66 Minnesota counties.

“We work with all major carriers,” said Paul.

When Nelson chose a date for a consultation with Medicare Insurance Advisors, she admits to being unsure what to expect or if all her questions would be answered.

“My husband kept telling me to ask them all these questions, but I couldn’t remember all of them,” Nelson laughed. “It turns out that all those questions were answered anyway because they explained everything so well to us.”

The agents at Medicare Insurance Advisors stress to its clients, “There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

“They were very good listeners and very understanding,” said Nelson. “If you don’t know something, they will help. And before they left, they made sure to ask us if we needed anything else.”

Throughout the country, Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap) and MA-PD plans (Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage included) have been very effective forms of health insurance coverage. Whether someone currently in a Cost plan should choose Medicare Supplement with a separate Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) or a MA-PD depends on several variables.

With so many variables and so much confusion, that’s where a visit with the agents/brokers at Medicare Insurance Advisors comes into play.

“They were very thorough with how they explained things for me,” said Eileen Decker, of Richmond, about her visit with an agent from Medicare Insurance Advisors. “They’re not pushy, and they give you options to choose from. I was very comfortable with how they showed me what’s out there.”

A Medicare Insurance Advisor agent/broker will listen to your specific situation and go through all the coverages available to you, while guiding you through the decision-making process.

“We will help a client enroll in a coverage plan and also help if there is ever a problem, like billing or something else,” said Paul. “And we will be here to service the policy in the future, too.”

The key dates for the Cost plan transition are:
August: Impacted member notifications begin.
September 4: Special member hotline opens.
October 1: Medicare Advantage plans available for shopping.
October 15: Annual election period (AEP) begins.
Dec. 7: AEP ends
Dec. 8-Feb. 28: Cost plan SEP.
Dec. 31: Cost plan coverage ends in 66 counties; Part D coverage ends.

“Plans are good through the end of the year,” said Paul, “but people need to begin looking now for a new plan. The AEP runs for 53 days, and we will help explain that process to you and help you choose a plan that fits your needs.”

The following are some of the benefits of using Medicare Insurance Advisors:
Offer a wider range of Medicare plans.
Compare plans, benefits and prices from various health insurance companies in one visit.
Experienced licensed insurance agents will locate a customized health plan to fit your needs.
You won’t be charged any fees.
Provide unbiased, clear information on your Medicare options.

Clients speak with Medicare Insurance Advisors about the various options and what plan best fits their needs. Contributed photo

Instead of surfing websites looking for the best option, Medicare Insurance Advisors offers a one-stop experience where you can compare plans, benefits and prices from different companies. This makes it much more convenient for the customer.

“We do office or in-home visits,” said Paul. “We know that sometimes it can be difficult for seniors to travel, so we are happy to oblige them by going to their home.”

Medicare Insurance Advisors won’t pressure their customers into purchasing a Medicare plan, nor will they recommend a particular plan. What they offer is unbiased, easy to understand information about various Medicare options, enabling a customer to choose the plan they feel suits them best.

Medicare Insurance Advisors is located at 2107 Troop Drive in Sartell.

For more information or to set up an appointment, call Medicare Insurance Advisors at 320-654-6100 or toll free at 888-611-2200, or visit their website at www.MedicareInsAdvisors.com.