Breitenfeldt Group offers guidance, support, reviews at no charge
Are you confused by Medicare? Do you dread calling your insurance company? Do you wish someone could help you through the process? And take care of any issues that come up along the way? Do you wish there was someone who could give you a road map to Medicare?
“We create that road map for you,” said Dennis Breitenfeldlt, owner of Breitenfeldt Group. “About 95 percent of the people we talk to really don’t understand Medicare. And just about every person we meet feels bad about not understanding Medicare. I just simply ask them, ‘Do you fix your own cars? Do you feel bad about that? Then why are you knocking yourself out over this?’ We can provide you with a true road map to Medicare.”
Breitenfeldt Group is an independent insurance brokerage dedicated to educating and providing simple solutions for those who are eligible for Medicare. And they have a team of brokers and customer service representatives covering all of Minnesota.
Dennis Breitenfeldt launched Breitenfeldt Group in Long Prairie in 1990. Today, his brokerage is helping clients across the state. Photo by Jim Palmer
“We are a true brokerage,” said Breitenfeldt. “We work with Blue Cross Blue Shield, UCare, Medica, and about 15 other companies. We do not work for one insurance company. We work for you. We analyze your complete insurance needs and shop for you.”
Choosing a Medicare health plan is sort of like putting together a puzzle, and Breitenfeldt Group aims to help people put the pieces together. Some of the things to consider, said Breitenfeldt, include premium costs, benefits, provider choice, prescription drug plans, pharmacy choice, convenience, travel and quality of care. What will you pay out of pocket? Are extra benefits available, like eye exams or hearing aids? Does your doctor accept the plan? Do you spend a part of each year in another state? What will your prescription drugs cost? What pharmacy can you use? Do you have or are you eligible for other types of coverage? Do you qualify for extra help? These are some of the questions that will be answered as your Medicare “puzzle” is assembled.
When a concern or question comes up, no need to call the insurance companies or make a trip to the Social Security office. Just call Breitenfeldt Group.
“Calling insurance companies can be a painful process,” said Breitenfeldt. “We guarantee that you never need to call the insurance companies again. And instead of waiting for hours at the Social Security office, we can take care of most issues in minutes.”
As the needs of a client change, so can the road map. Each fall, Breitenfeldt does an annual review on every policy to make sure their client is getting the best Medicare and prescription plan possible.
“We run our client’s prescription list every fall against all the companies in the state, and we let them know what their options are,” said Breitenfeldt. “It is one thing that most companies do not do for their clients. It is one of the things that really separates us from others. Prescription plans should be reviewed every year. And if they haven’t been, you should call someone like us. A lot of people will set it and forget it, and that is never a winning strategy. It is critical to have their plan reviewed every year by an independent source… not someone who sells for only one company. We focus exclusively on the products and extra services so people don’t have anything to worry about. If the cost and coverage is exactly the same, doesn’t it make sense to have over 50 specialists on your side?”
For the initial consultation, the enrollment, the yearly review and all the help in between, one might expect a hefty bill for these services. But there won’t be one. All services by Breitenfeldt Group are given to the clients at no charge.
“We will never send you a bill,” said Breitenfeldt. “With medical insurance, it costs exactly the same and does exactly the same thing whether you buy it from the company or a group of specialists like us. We receive a small compensation from the insurance company for signing you up, but we do not charge for our services. It costs the same, and it does the same for the client, so who do you want on your side? We have the plans, we have the people, and there is no charge or fee for our services. People almost always think that we must charge extra, but we don’t.”
To know how Breitenfeldt Group works, it is important to learn how the company was started and how it got to where it is today. In 1990, after selling insurance for a number of years, Dennis felt there was a better way to help his clients. He become independent and started his own brokerage business, based out of his home.
“I learned that you can’t serve everyone properly if you are captive to one company,” he said. “One size does not fit all.”
He grew up on a dairy farm and wasn’t afraid of hard work. He began with just a handful of customers. During the first year, Dennis said he had “more time than money.” He used that extra time to dig deeper, and learn more about Medicare plans, prescription plans, subsidies anything else relating to Medicare. He then would meet with the client, either at their home or in his office, and provide them with all the knowledge he could on Medicare to help them get the best plan possible to fit their individual needs. Going the extra mile became the foundation of Breitenfeldt Group.
“And the recipe hasn’t changed,” he said.
In 2005, he hired his first full-time employee and moved the business into a small rental space in Long Prairie. Around this same time, the Medicare Modernization Act was being enacted. People were confused about Medicare Part D, advantage plans and low-cost premium plans and were looking for help to sort it all out. Breitenfeldt Group started offering seminars throughout the state, not to sell insurance, but to educate the public on the changes. These seminars were effective in educating people, and they also resulted in more people calling for assistance in their Medicare needs. Dennis said people really appreciated these seminars, as most were getting education in a field where they had no knowledge at all.
When clients called back with more questions or to sign up for Medicare benefits, they would make a face-to-face visit with the potential client and again offer free services and advice. The more people they helped, the more signed up, and the business really started to grow. Over the last 10 years, Breitenfeldt Group has grown by leaps and bounds as more and more people have learned about their services.
“We are really the only agency of this size in the state that specializes in Medicare,” said Breitenfeldt. “We are big enough now to have people with specialties in all these areas, and yet, we are small enough to individualize each person when they call in. ”
Breitenfeldt Group, lead by Dennis Breitenfeldt (middle front), is made up of about 50 specialists. Contributed photo
One of those specialists is Jon Halvorson, a financial advisor, who can help with 401(k) distribution, Social Security issues, and more.
“Jon’s services are available when requested, and they really resonate with people. His addition to the team has been invaluable,” said Breitenfeldt. “And again, there is no charge for his consultation.”
Breitenfeldt Group has offices in Long Prairie, Waite Park, Maple Grove, Edina, Woodbury and Roseville. And agents continue to offer the educational meetings (more than 100 held statewide each year) and meet face-to-face with their clients.
A growing part of Breitenfeldt Group’s service is providing assistance relating to the Affordable Care Act.
“The Affordable Care Act can be very confusing and difficult to navigate on the state web site, MnSure. We know it well.” said Breitenfeldt.
Breitenfeldt Group recently revamped and launched its web page (www.mnmedicareplans.com). The site was designed to be educational and easy to navigate. It has added relevant content, including videos with up-to-date information. Dennis encourages people to check out the site to learn more about their services.
Technology continues to change rapidly, and Breitenfeldt Group has worked hard to utilize the latest technology to make the customer’s experience the best possible.
“We continue to stay at the forefront in technology to better serve our customer,” said Breitenfeldt.
When a client calls Breitenfeldt Group, customer service specialists have all the client’s information, along all pertinent information relating to their plans. This allows the customer service reps to answer questions quickly and confidently.
It all comes back to customer service. In fact, more than half of Breitenfeldt’s team are customer service specialists, and many have been with the company for several years.
“We have gotten this big and this successful just by taking care of the details. We want to make sure people get a good night’s sleep with one less thing to worry about,” said Dennis.
Those who are eligible for Medicare for the first time, are within a year or two of Medicare age, would like to change plans or need help understanding the Medicare benefits, contact Breitenfeldt Group toll free at 1-877-732-9800. For more information, visit mnmedicareplans.com.