What is a Medicare Open Enrollment Inquiry Card

JRinKC

New member
Great question and I get this often. The short answer is "no." If the person is charging you a fee to enroll you in to a Medicare plan, you need to find someone else to work with.


Here is the long answer if you have a minute...


As brokers, we contract with many of the companies so that we can provide a "one stop" shop for our clients. We typically don't contract with some of the less competitive companies, because there is no reason to have the 29th least expensive company in your bag of offerings. As a broker, it's in my interest to offer you the least expensive plan, with strong benefits, and with a strong financial company. If I don't recommend the least expensive, I better have a reason for why I recommended something different. It's in my interest to educate you on why, because if I signed you up for one of the most expensive plans, the next broker you talk to would be happy to help you find a lower rate with another company. I lose a client and potentially have a client who is not pleased with my service. People tend to share a "bad" experience more so than a "good" experience.


I need to educate you on why we went with a particular company and/or why we didn't go with another company. Here is an example. Say a new company in the market might be really low balling their entry premium, only to blow up in premiums a year or two later. Brokers want to protect you against that possibility. They don't want to expose a client to that. That leads to a client who might not be happy. Happy clients refer people, which is the best and least expensive ways for us to get new clients.


As for how we are paid, we are compensated by the company the client chooses. The amount we are paid is built into the premium the client pays and most companies pay us a similar amount. The company will either pay the broker that portion or simply keep it as part of their profit. The insurance company considers that portion part of their marketing expense.


Here is a situation we face often. Someone take 1-2 hours of time while you run rates, educate them on how Medicare works, even show them how they can save money by using a company the individual did not consider. Individual wants to time to think about it, which is understandable. The broker calls them back only to find out they have already enrolled with somebody from the company the broker recommended. I think this comes from the thought that people believe brokers are like salaried employees of the company. That is not the case, brokers are 1099 contractors. Brokers are only paid when you enroll through them.


The company would LOVE you to get rates from a broker, then call them direct to enroll. The broker is out time and money in educating the individual. The company is happy because they don't have to pay the broker for the work he/she did.


Here are two places you lose out by not using a broker:


1 - Saving you time: Most brokers use some sort of quoting software that will compare all the plans (up to 35 different companies in one place). That saves you time and effort of calling around shopping. It also helps later when you get a rate increase. You can call your broker and they can shop your rate again at no charge.


2 - No one from your direct company will ever call to tell you another company has a better deal. They want you to stay with them and keep paying the higher premiums. A broker will reach out to you. They are trying to protect their business by making sure the client is still getting the lowest cost possible.


2.5 - You have one person to call with questions.


Did I mention it doesn't cost you anything to work with a broker?


Thanks for reading this and I hope it helps you get a better understanding of the benefits of working with a broker. I hope this doesn't sound like I am complaining because I love this type of work. It's rewarding to help someone free up money in their budget, but still maintaining the same coverage they had. Like everyone else, you like the opportunity to share what it's like from your side once in a while.
Rusty
Thanks Rusty. That was a well thought-out post.

It's very frustrating when I speak with someone, spend time explaining Medicare and Medicare Supplements, and help them find the best rate with the best company, only to have them go directly to the company to enroll. It's the customers choice and I respect that. I obviously don't do a good enough job explaining the value that I provide the customer. I also understand that people are hesitant to work with someone that they don't know versus calling a company directly to enroll. However, when a customer does this they lose out on the value that I provide to them. I strongly recommend that anyone looking for Medicare Supplements for themselves or loved ones contact a Medicare Supplement Broker and sign up through them. Quick note: I am an independent agent and work for an insurance brokerage firm. Therefore, you can view my opinion as biased. However, please keep in mind that my job depends on the satisfaction of the people that I help. A good percentage of my monthly sales come directly from referrals of happy customers.

Are there bad brokers out there? Probably. Mine isn't. Sounds like Rusty's isn't either.
 

I am in a discussion on another forum. No. Not a discussion. An argument.

I truly feel sorry for senior citizens in the U.S. having to jump through hoops to get basic health coverage.

Here in Canada. Health care is treated as a basic right as far as prescription drugs and hospital and emergency care is concerned.

The argument is wait times. The Americans tell me they do not want to wait for treatment. They want instant results.

But in Canada it's a trade off. You wait for non essential surgery and the trade off is that Canadians have a life expectancy of 2 1/2 years over their American Bretheen and they don't have to mortgage their house to get it.
 

NancySue

New member
Location
Philadelphia
The cards are not scams. They are approved by the state insurance representative to be passed out. You can't get insurance without an agent. So they are allowed to solicit to find the people who don't have agents or just need help. I would suggest just throwing them in the trash if they don't apply to you. That's what I do with mine. I work for an insurance agency and I get them every single day. Oh and the phones calls...that's another conversation.
 

Cybersleuth58

New member
Can someone explain what this is and if it's legitimate. I am pushing 65 and today, I received in the mail what is called a "Medicare Open Enrollment Inquiry Card". They tell me I have "only one open enrollment period" and then I am suppose to fill it out and mail it back in. They want my Name, date of birth, spouse and his date of birth, and phone number. Plus, I am suppose to check the box that states: YES, Also send me information on prescription discounts. Then I am suppose to mail it back to SD Reply Center PO Box 2528, Rockwall TX 75087-9973. Is this something I really need to do or is it some company trying to get my information to sell me insurance, etc.? I am satisfied with the insurance I have now so I am not going to change. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
I realize this is an old thread. I just received a post card from the SD Reply Center. I would urge anyone who receives anything purporting to be connected to Medicare to read it carefully. Unless these guys have changed their format, if you read everything you will see at the bottom:

“These representatives and/or any company they represent are not connected with or endorsed by the US Government or any State agency.”

And there it is! That’s called boilerplate. It’s also a CYA move by marketers. What I am saying is that if YOU fall for this, they have told you that they are not associated in any way with Medicare. That’s the only thing they need to tell you to avoid being nailed for fraud.

Now go to the address portion with your name on it. Under your name & address it says, in CAPS (in tech-speak, that = shouting at you) :

“IMPORTANT NON-GOVERNMENTAL DOCUMENT ENCLOSED ON SUPPLEMENTAL INSURANCE BENEFITS...”

In this situation, they have done everything BUT tapped you on the shoulder to cue you in that this is a ploy, a marketing scam.

You think this is wrong & unfair? You think that these warnings are not sufficient? The best thing I can tell you is to use your vote more effectively. Anyone looking to privatize Medicare/Medicaid is not working in your best interests. Simple as that.
 

GreenSky

New member
Location
Las Vegas
Good Luck. You might want to go to the federal government site for your Medicare information on open enrollment and open an account there.

https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare/#/?lang=en
Good luck with that. It costs nothing to use an independent agent who can help with that. Doing it yourself is no different than a do it yourself home sale. It might work for some.

BTW, the information in the post just above yours is 100% legal, although I don't market that way. There is no fraud. It's a typical direct mail solicitation for business. The disclaimer is required by law so that people don't think it's coming from Medicare.

Rick
 

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