‘If you are lost, you are not alone’

DBE helps clients understand, enroll in Medicare... and no cost


By Scott Thoma


Medicare enrollment and benefits can be confusing in many ways. That’s why Brent Brekke of Danner, Brekke & Everts (DBE) Insurance of Litchfield and New London recommends that clients contact them to explain the various premiums and assist in selecting the one that best fits their needs.


The best part? There is no cost.


The DBE team of Litchfield and New London, left to right: Chad Thompson, Jaime Liestman, Peyton Aller, Brent Brekke, Cher Becker and Jim Danner. Contributed photo

Because Medicare plan premiums and/or benefits are subject to change each year, it’s often stressful for clients to know if they are getting the best option available.


“If you feel lost, you are not alone in not understanding Medicare,” Brekke said. “That’s why we want to help. We care about our clients and want what’s best for them. We have products that fit 98 percent of the people in the county.”


Medicare’s Annual Election Period falls between Oct. 15 - Dec. 7 each year. Only during that period current Medicare enrollees make changes to their existing coverage (unless there is qualifying event). Often, there are changes to Medicare coverages.


“Depending on your circumstances, this may be the only time during the year that you can enroll or switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare cost plan or prescription plan,” said Brekke. “Or you can drop your plan and return to Original Medicare.”


If you are currently eligible for Medicare or are nearing the age of Medicare eligibility, it’s important that you understand the Medicare enrollment dates. Signing up as soon as you are eligible can help avoid a costly late enrollment penalty.


For some, having a discussion with Brekke, a partner/agent with DBE, or Peyton Aller, a DBE agent, is a simple and no-cost way to understand these ever-changing coverages. For others, it’s a chance to get out of a current plan they were sometimes duped into enrolling.


“I received a letter from a client that she received in the mail detailing their Medicare insurance policy with a number to call,” Brekke explained. “The company, which is located in another state, turned out to be scammers attempting to deceive people by telling them they need to switch their policy.”


If seniors fall into this trap, they end up paying much more than they need to.


Peyton Aller, an agent in the Litchfield office, discusses policies with a client. Photo by Scott Thoma

“The easiest thing for people to do is to get a hold of us and ask questions,” Brekke said. “It costs them nothing to set up an appointment and go over what we feel is the best policy for them. If they’re signed up with the wrong plan, we can’t do anything to help them get out of it until the (Medicare) Open Enrollment period.”


These tips may assist you in understanding Medicare’s Open Enrollment:

Who can get Medicare? Anyone who is 65 years of age in America. People who have qualified for 24 months of Social Security disability also become eligible.


For people aging into Medicare at age 65, it does not matter if you are taking Social Security benefits yet.


You may get important notices from Medicare or Social Security in the mail. If you are currently in a Medicare plan, you should receive an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) informing you of any changes in coverage, costs, or service area.


You may also receive marketing materials in the mail from insurance companies that offer Medicare health and prescription drug plans. Be aware of Medicare fraud and check with DBE Insurance before changing or agreeing to anything. Note: You likely get scores of insurance companies sending you mail every week.


Review your current Medicare coverage and note any upcoming changes to your costs or benefits. Does your current Medicare coverage meet your needs for the upcoming year? If not, check with agents at a reliable company like DBE Insurance.


Medicare itself has parts, not plans.


PART A - is your Hospital Coverage. This coverage pays for your room and board in the hospital or in a skilled nursing facility.


PART B - is your Outpatient Coverage. This includes things such as doctor visits, equipment, lab work, surgeries, durable medical equipment, diagnostic tests, and more.


PART D - is your Drug Coverage. This is a pharmacy card which will allow you to purchase prescriptions at a lower cost than retail. It is insurance you purchase for present and future medication needs.


You are eligible for these three parts of Medicare on the first day of the month in which you turn 65 years old, or sooner if you have qualified for Medicare due to a disability.


Check with DBE Insurance to understand what Medicare pays for regarding each part.


Jim Danner and Bob Everts began the current insurance company in Litchfield in 2002 called Danner & Everts Financial. When they first began their business, they had no clients. With a strong desire to succeed and realizing the importance of having their clients’ best interest in mind, the business soon started to prosper.


Brekke joined the group in 2008 to form DBE Financial and Insurance Solutions. Brekke’s experience in corporate benefits helped the business grow with the clients through insurance. Everts passed away in 2012.


Through the years, DBE Insurance continues to prosper and grow. They now have over 1,500 clients and over 100 groups involving retirement and insurance plans.


“Brent takes care of all of our insurance and makes the process go smoothly,” said Rita O. “He is also there for us to answer questions. I highly recommend him and DBE.”


DBE Insurance also has an office in New London.


“We now serve the counties of Meeker, Stearns, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Wright and Renville,” Brekke noted. “Our main focus is on four things: shop local, good customer service, good follow-thru, and finding the right providers. Since DBE is an independent agency, we can search plans from a variety of carriers/insurance companies.”


Jaime Liestman is the office manager at DBE, while Cher Becker is an office assistant. Chad Thompson is an office agent/personal lines agent at the New London office.


Services offered by DBE Insurance of Litchfield and New London include: Life, Auto, Home, Vision, Health, Dental, Liability, Business, Disability, Animal, Annuities, Long Term Care, 401(k) Rollovers, Debt Free Program, Retirement Planning, Recreational Vehicles, Medicare Supplements, Employer Group Benefits, Group Benefits Administration.


“They are very approachable and knowledgeable at DBE,” said Lee Ann M. “I always feel listened to when I speak to them and that’s important to me. They also give you their time. A lot of places just run through information quickly and then ask you what you want to sign up for.”


Peyton Aller, left, and Brent Brekke are agents with DBE Insurance in Litchfield. Contributed photo

Brekke and Aller recently spoke to a business group about various Medicare option for employees turning 65 and older. One of the employees revealed they had applied for Medicare and had been paying monthly premiums for Part B in addition to being on the group plan. Since the group plan was her primary insurance, it was costing her an additional $1,700 per year in premiums and she was unable to use the benefits.


“During this Medicare Open Enrollment period, we strongly encourage clients to come in and talk things over with us,” said Brekke. “We want them to learn about the different policies that fit their needs. We don’t want anyone overpaying for something they don’t need.”


It is generally better for both employer and employee to use Medicare benefits once they turn 65, however, without the proper education far too many do not realize this.


Aller will represent DBE Insurance when it hosts Medicare informative meetings from 10:30 a.m. to noon on the following days (RSVP is recommended as space is limited):

• Oct. 26 & Nov. 16 at the Litchfield Public Library

• Oct. 27 & Nov. 17 in the United MN Bank basement in New London.


DEB Insurance is located at 32 East Second Street in Litchfield. For information or to make an appointment, call 320-593-4968.


The New London office is located at 105 Central Ave. East in New London. Their phone is 320-354-2900 and website is www.dbeinsurance.com.


This is a paid business profile. If you would like to learn more about promoting your business in the Sr. Perspective with a business profile, call Jim at 320-334-3344.

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