Although most people are familiar with the concept of Medicare, not many people know what it is. The lack of knowledge on the subject has resulted in increased cases of enrollment blues of senior citizens in the US. Fortunately, educating one’s clients on Medicare can remedy the problem. However, that’s the tricky part. Despite being an essential subject, it is significantly difficult to make seniors comprehend the issue. If you are struggling to instruct your clients about Medicare, this article explains the six effective ways to educate your clients on medicare.
6 Ways to Educate Your Clients on Medicare
Despite the enormous benefits of Medicare, it can be challenging to understand when it comes to the types of Medicare plans and enrollment periods. These effective ways will help you educate your clients about everything regarding Medicare.
Put Yourself in their Shoes
Not everyone has the same understanding of Medicare. Instead of providing a standardized explanation, educate themselves in a way they can easily understand. It is unwise to think that seniors can develop a basic understanding of the subject through online research.
Many seniors are not as well-versed in technology as most millennials are. Their lack of knowledge and grasp of technology and the internet prevents them from availing many resources.
Sometimes seniors under the age of 65 develop a terminal illness that they have just discovered. These people aren’t typically enrolled in Medicare which increases the chances of getting confused when exposed to relevant information all at once.
In such cases, it is necessary to understand their perspective before you start educating them. Prefer starting with absolute basics and moving your way up to the subject’s intricacies.
Recognize their Needs
The primary motive for most people enrolling in Medicare is healthcare coverage in the later part of their life. Nevertheless, everyone has their own needs, so you can’t formulate a generalized way of dealing with that. You must understand their requirements regarding their Medicare plan.
If your client needs additional healthcare facilities related to vision or dental care, introduce them to the Medicare advantage plan. Moreover, if your clients prefer a doctor instead of a network, the Original Government Medicare plan would suit them better.
Regardless of that, it is up to you to develop a suitable solution according to the requirements and needs of the client. Make sure you analyze the ups and downs of every plan and educate your client on how a certain plan would suit them better.
Explain the Importance of Enrollment Dates
Enrollment dates hold key value when applying for a Medicare plan. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is the most important enrollment period that remains open for six months. Every person’s IEP starts three months before they turn 30 and extends to three months after their 65th birthday. Everyone must enroll during their IEP period.
In case your client misses out on the IEP, they can leverage other enrollment periods such as the Special Enrollment Period (SEP), General Enrollment Period (GEP), and Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). However, your clients would still be required to pay a 10% penalty fee every year for missing out on the IEP.
The enrollment period of GEP extends from January 1 to March 31 each year. Nevertheless, there is a higher premium for late enrollment in inpatient hospitals and outpatient medical insurance.
Under particular circumstances, seniors are eligible to enroll during the SEP. These circumstances may include their enrollment in a group health plan or employment. One month after their group enrollment or employment ends, they are offered eight months for enrolling in SEP without being penalized.
Similarly, they can also enroll in AEP that lasts from October 15 to December 7. The enrollment period is primarily geared towards switching between Medicare plants.
Clarify the Intricacies of Medicare Plans
Not all Medicare plans are the same. They differ depending on the facilities included in them. Anyhow, Original Government Medicare and Medicare Advantages remain the popular plan for US citizens.
The Medicare Advantage plan includes hearing, dental, and vision healthcare facilities otherwise missing in the OGM plan. Not to mention, you can even have additional facilities like bathroom safety devices, counseling on life conflicts, and emergency response protocol.
On the contrary, OGM plans offer a relatively lower monthly healthcare professional budget. Almost every healthcare facility accepts OGM plans which explains their wide acceptance. At the same time, those who require additional support for prescriptions can enroll in Medigap plans.
Despite being different on several levels, there are some similarities in Medicare plans. These plans typically comprise inpatient hospital insurance and outpatient medical insurance. The inpatient insurance is free for all Americans because it is deducted in the form of social security.
However, outpatient insurance is more of a premium service. Medicare plans cover the prescription costs or other additional healthcare coverage. Understanding the structure of each plan can be arduous for many. It all depends on you and your capability to simplify the information to an easier level for them to grasp.
Guide them to Apply
Another common issue faced by most clients is applying to a Medicare plan. To prevent any complications and jitters, it’s better to facilitate and guide them throughout the process. This will help you develop better relations with your clients based on trust.
Make sure you let them know that they can shift or replace their Medicare plan if they aren’t satisfied with their previous one. Educate them on AEP and how they leverage it to change their already enrolled plan.
If your client has received Railroad Retirement Benefits (RRB) or Social Security Benefits, chances are they are already enrolled in a Medicare Plan. Moreover, if they have any disability and receive disability benefits under social security or RRB for at least 24 months, they may be automatically enrolled in a Medicare plan.
There are three ways of manually applying to a Medicare plan:
- Visiting the online website of SSA.
- Calling the toll-free number of SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
- Reaching out personally through the social security office in the locality.
Note: Your clients must go through the Social Security Administration (SSA) before enrolling in a Medicare plan. Seniors must be eligible to apply for the program. Ensure that your clients’ documents are legit, including their age, nationality, and employment history. Additionally,
Respond to their Queries
From helping them understand the basics of the Medicare plan to assist them in enrolling in a suitable one. Let your clients know that you are there to offer full support. Encourage them to reach out to you without hesitating if they have any questions.
After every session (online or in-person):
- Ask them if they understood everything completely.
- If your clients have any questions, try being thorough, easy-to-understand, and honest while answering.
- Deal with them as if you are their friend rather than an agent.
A friendly environment will make them feel comfortable enough to reach out to you.
If the clients don’t have any questions to ask on the spot, give them some room because Medicare is not an easy topic to comprehend, especially for an aged person. So, don’t forget to provide them with your contact information. This will allow them to contact you if they face any confusion later on.
You would need to rely on Medicare at some later point in your life. Different Medicare plans‘ complex and intricate structures can confuse young adults, including seniors. Educating them about the different types and enrollment periods of a plan can be trickier at times. To make things easier for you as a counselor, we have sorted and explained some practical ways to educate your clients on medicare.