Baby Boomers are creating major changes in the way insurance companies are offering Medicare

190925 Maricella Hlth Mkt 4383
With 10,000 Baby Boomers joining the retirement ranks each day, insurance companies are scrambling to capture their Medicare business. Find out why HealthMarkets says this shakeup can benefit everyone over the age of 65. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Beth Newcomb

According to Forbes magazine, baby boomers are permanently clocking out of the workforce at a rate of 10,000 each day. That’s a huge number of fresh retirees not only lining up for Social Security benefits, but also Medicare.

And with Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) representing nearly 20 percent of the population in America, more people than ever before will be considering their options during Medicare’s annual enrollment period—Tuesday, October 15, until Saturday, December 7.

“This is a very exciting time for new and existing Medicare participants,” says George Halle, a licensed insurance agent with HealthMarkets Insurance Agency in Parma. “Because of the large number of people who will be or have been taking advantage of Medicare benefits this year, insurance companies have stepped up their game.”

“They recognize the opportunity to capitalize on a ton of new business,” says Laura Weible, who, along with her mom, Marisella Rios-Weible, rounds out the HealthMarkets team. “What this means to people on Medicare, or those considering their options for the first time, is the influx of Baby Boomers into the system has created a competitive insurance arena the likes of which we haven’t seen before.”

The HealthMarkets Insurance Agency team in Parma includes licensed insurance agents (L-R) Laura Weible, George Halle and Marisella Rios-Weible. Although their guidance is priceless, it’s offered free of charge.

“This competitive environment means insurance companies have revamped their programs, or created new ones with more enhancements,” Marisella inserts. “So, for example, where previously there was no fitness component, that component may have been added back in.”

“If you haven’t had a review of your Medicare plan in the last year or two, this is absolutely the time to do it,” George stresses.

The team says a review could not only net you the opportunity to participate in a better plan, it could also mean your options include plans that cost less while giving you more. And if you turned 65 prior to the annual enrollment period, this is a good time to make a change if you don’t like the plan you’re in, or you’d like to find out if something better is being introduced.

Customize Your Medicare Coverage
“Some people believe they simply choose a Medicare plan and that’s it,” Marisella says. “But Medicare isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Everyone is different, and what’s important to one person may not be important to another.”

“Others might think they don’t have a lot of options when it comes to Medicare,” George says. “They assume there are a handful of plans from which to choose, but that isn’t the case.”

Because HealthMarkets represents major carriers, agents have reviewed and can provide their clients with access to hundreds of different options, all with varying degrees of coverage and different nuances to meet the different needs of participants.

“Medicare is very individualized,” explains Laura. “That’s why a free review with one of us is key. We’re going to take the time to sit down with you and go over what’s important to you, find out about your medication needs and doctor needs, discuss the things you want to have included in your coverage, then put together a plan that not only provides you with options, but also one that suits your budget and requirements.”

Marisella says she has a special interest in helping low income Medicare participants gain access to the coverage that best meets their needs, sometimes paving the way to free prescription access and Medicaid. She can even help people who qualify apply to get their Medicare card right on-site, so they don’t have to go to the Social Security office.

Part A, Part B, and Then Some
“Because they’ve accumulated enough credits during their working years, most people get Medicare Part A at no cost to them,” explains George. “Medicare Part B has a standard premium cost of $135.50 or higher depending on your income. Some plans include the cost of prescriptions, dental and vision, while others do not.”

“This is an area where the influx of Baby Boomers into the Medicare system is creating advantages to all participants,” he adds. “Insurance carriers are creating hybrid supplemental plans that include key components like dental, vision and hearing. The beauty of Medicare is you can choose the items that matter to you most, and pay for those separately as your budget allows.”

“Every insurance policy has some gaps, or areas of coverage that don’t meet a particular person’s needs,” notes Laura.

“That’s where supplemental coverage plays such an important role. Maybe you’re interested in a transportation option to help get you to and from doctor visits, but you’re not motivated by, say, cancer coverage. You can choose a plan that includes what you care about most, or purchase those extra items separately to fill in the gaps.”

You don’t have to go it alone. Scheduling a free review of your Medicare status with a member of the HealthMarkets team can take the stress out of choosing the right plan. George, Marisella and Laura work out of the Parma office (L) and Marisella and Laura work from the North Royalton office as well.

Plan F Fades Away
Plan F, also called the Cadillac of Medicare plans by some insurance agents, will no longer be offered to new participants after this year. Its cost is on the higher side, but its coverage is among the most comprehensive. Existing participants can continue to enjoy the benefits of Plan F, but many are opting to go with its successor, Plan G.

“Plan G offers many of the same exceptional benefits Plan F offers but at a lower cost,” George supplies.

HealthMarkets is located 5925 Ridge Road, Suite 2, in Parma.

Their Guidance is Free
Because HealthMarkets agents aren’t captive, meaning they don’t work for a particular insurance carrier, they direct their efforts toward clients, helping them to navigate the sometimes-baffling waters of Medicare. And the cost for their one-on-one review and guidance? Nothing. All time spent with the HealthMarkets agent of your choice is absolutely free.

HealthMarkets is located 5925 Ridge Road, Suite 2, in Parma. A second office is in North Royalton, at 5740 Royalwood. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or by appointment. To get started with your free review, call one of the agents listed in the box accompanying this story.

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. is licensed as an insurance agency in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Not all agents are licensed to sell all products. Service and product availability varies by state. There is no obligation to enroll. Agents may be compensated based on enrollment. Medicare has neither reviewed nor approved this information. HMIA007424 10/2019