If you watch TV for more than 20 minutes on a weekday afternoon, youâ€™ll likely see an ad promising exciting benefits for Medicare beneficiaries. Dental! Vision! Money back on your Social Security check! You might even see a handsome TV starâ€‚fromâ€‚theâ€‚â€™70sâ€‚withâ€‚a dashing mustache explaining that you should call and have a review of your entitlements.
Since you already have a Medicare broker, there is no need for these 800-number services. They can answer any questions you might have about your benefits and plan choices.
Hereâ€™s how it works: Medicare costs and benefits vary from insurance carrier to insurance carrier. And, more importantly, they vary from county to county. Yesâ€¦every insurance carrier has different plans for each county in the US. (There are more than 3,000 Medicare Advantage plans in the US for 2021.)
These nationwide ads are speaking to everyone at the same time, from Denver, Colorado to Glens Falls, New Yorkâ€‰â€”â€‰from Walla Walla, Washington to Kissimmee, Florida. But there is no way that the benefits promised in the ad will apply to any of the plans in your county.
Your broker can explain to you the balancing act the insurance carriers have to do when doling out benefits. No plan can offer everything. A $2,000 hearing aid benefit might mean there is no transportation benefit. If you want to have a $0 co-pay at the doctor, you might not get to see the doctor of your choosing.
Many seniors are not informed about all the benefits available in their plan. Maybe you have an over-the-counter (OTC) benefit that you are not aware of. Your OTC benefit is like credit at a drug store (or catalog). With that credit, you can buy drugstore items such as toothpaste, vitamins, and knee braces. But if you donâ€™t use the benefit, you lose it.
So, instead of chasing after promises you see in an advertisement, reach out to your broker or insurance carrier about how you can make the most of the plan you already have.