Ask The Expert: Why all the talk about Medicare?

Answers by David Gebhardt, general manager/agent at Patriot Insurance of Waite Park


Q: Why are we getting so many calls, postcards, and seeing so many ads on TV about Medicare? I heard in the fall there is a period to change Medicare plans, is this true?


Great question, fall is an important time of year for Medicare enrollees. This is why you may be receiving marketing from carriers and marketing organizations. This enrollment period is referred to as the Annual Election Period (AEP). During this time, individuals who are on Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Prescription Drug plans can make changes to their plans.

The AEP runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. During this period, those individuals who are on a Medicare Advantage plan can change to a different Medicare Advantage plan to start the next calendar year. This AEP is also the time for someone with a Medicare Supplement plan to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan. This is the time when you want to discuss your current plan with your agent.

If you are on a Medicare Supplement plan you may be interested in a Medicare Advantage plan. If you haven’t discussed Medicare Advantage plans with your agent, this is the time to consider if this type of plan would benefit you.


Speak with your local agent to compare your prescriptions. Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage. If you are on a Medicare Supplement plan you likely have a separate prescription drug plan. It is during AEP you want to connect with your local agent to see if there have been any changes to the prescription formulary.


Having a local agent is important. Choosing a local agent allows you to have someone close to help you with your questions, assist you in finding a plan, and be there for you with any concerns you may have. Also, I recommend that you look for agents who are not captive agents. Captive agents are contracted with a single carrier and will not be able to assist you in signing up for a plan offered by another carrier which may be the best for you. Choosing an agent who is a broker with many carriers is a benefit. Brokers compare many different carriers, so they are licensed to sell and compare all the plans to benefit you. Your agent will be able to help you find a plan that is right for you.


Plan to talk with your agent/broker during AEP. Carriers typically send the Annual Notice of Changes to their clients in September. Look at the changes to understand what will be changing for next year. Plans for next year can be discussed with your agent/broker starting Oct. 1. If you are not happy with your plan or you have had changes in your health and need more or less coverage, changes can be made for the next calendar year starting Oct. 15 and continue to be made through Dec. 7.

Find out more

Patriot Insurance Brokers assists individuals during AEP to find a plan best for their needs. If you are looking for a local agent/broker, we are here for you. With offices in Waite Park and Elk River, we cover central Minnesota and can assist you with your needs. Contact us by calling 320-252-8222 or view our website at www.PatriotInsuranceBrokers.com


“Ask the Expert” is sponsored content (paid advertising) provided by Patriot Insurance, Waite Park. To learn how your business can promote its products and services like this, contact Sr. Perspective at 320-334-3344.

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