We've been doing a series called Avoiding Medicare Mistakes. Now, none of us wants to make a mistake in life, much less one surrounding our Medicare coverage. However, many people end up make Medicare mistakes simply because they don’t know any better. That’s why today, we’re diving into the topic of working with an agent vs a broker. 

We’ll first explain the differences and similarities between agents and brokers, then show you why we believe it’s always better to work with a broker rather than an agent.  

DIY Doesn’t Work For Medicare

No doubt many of you think of yourselves as “Do It Yourself-ers.” You might change your own oil, do your own home repairs, and handle your own taxes. If that’s you, you probably DIY these things because you enjoy it and/or because you want to save some money. 

When it comes to Medicare, however, being a DIY-er isn’t too enjoyable, nor does it save you any money. This is why most people get Medicare assistance. 

There are only two options for getting help with Medicare. You can either use an agent or a broker. Now, contrary to what some people may think, agents and brokers are not the same things. Brokers and agents are very different and using one over the other is one of the biggest mistakes people often make when going on Medicare. 

What is the Difference Between an Agent and a Broker? 

Let’s dive into the three main differences between using an agent vs. a broker.

Limited Experience

First, agents typically have limited knowledge while brokers usually have much more knowledge and experience. Now, we’re not saying all brokers are walking Medicare textbooks, but typically, they have much more experience and understanding about Medicare than insurance agents. 

Why? Agents work for one insurance company, meaning they only represent that one company. And their job is to do one thing: sell the plans their specific company writes. 

Brokers, on the other hand, do not sell for one single insurance company. Instead, they have a vast amount of products available to them. And if they've been at it for a while, they're going to understand the ins and outs of those different plans, making them better able to help you get on a plan that’s right for you. 

Limited Plan Options

Second, if you work with an agent, you’ll have limited plan options. In fact, most agents can only offer you one or two different Advantage plans, two or three different Drug plans, and possibly a few different Supplemental plans. This means with an agent, you only have access to about 10 percent of the available plans on the market. 

If you work with a broker, however, they’ll be able to offer you unlimited plan options. Why? Since they have a contract with all the carriers in their given market, they can write all the Supplemental, Prescription, and Advantage plans available in that market.

And here’s the thing, Medicare is not one-size-fits-all. Unfortunately, when you work with an agent, you’re forced to pick a Medicare plan simply because the agent’s company sells that plan, not necessarily because it is the best choice for your needs. 

That’s why we and many others like us have chosen to be brokers instead of agents. As brokers, we are able to offer our clients unlimited plan options instead of forcing them to pick from a very limited supply that may not be best for their needs. 

Limited Services

Thirdly, when you work with an agent, they have one goal--to sell. Their mission is to write plans quickly, get off the phone, and move on to the next caller. Not so when you work with a broker. 

In fact, we help people do everything from setting up their SSA.gov accounts to helping them get enrolled in Medicare and start Social Security. In short, there is a lot that goes into Medicare decisions and a well-trained broker understands that and is able to provide multiple services for you, not just sell you a plan. 

Working with an Agent VS. a Broker

Now that we’ve looked at the differences between agents and brokers, it’s important to understand that there are some similarities between the two. 

Same Premiums

First, whether you use an agent or a broker, you’ll pay the same amount of premiums for the same plans. In other words, if you pick XYZ Drug plan, your monthly premiums will be the same, whether you use an agent or a broker. So you won’t be saving money by choosing an agent over a broker or vice versa. 

Same Coverage

Second, the plan coverage will be identical, whether you write with an agent or a broker. This means if you choose a certain plan with an agent, that plan would be exactly the same if you had chosen it with a broker simply because it’s the same exact plan. 

Same Fees

Third and lastly, there are no fees for working with an agent or a broker, because their fees are both the same--zero. It's actually illegal for agents and brokers to charge any fees for their planning services, so whether you decide to go with an agent or a broker, you won’t have to worry about paying any fees. 

Conclusion

Agents work with one single insurance company selling their specific products. This means they can offer only a limited number of plan options to their clients. Brokers, on the other hand, are licensed to write plans with numerous carriers, meaning they have access to unlimited plan options. Since brokers work with numerous carriers and have access to so many plans, they often have much more experience and knowledge about Medicare. Further, since they work with large companies and have one job--to sell--agents don’t offer the services and friendly experience that brokers typically offer their clients. 

If you want access to unlimited plan options and would like to work with someone who has years of experience and will help you every step of the way (instead of just trying to sell you), you may want to consider working with a broker. 

Here at MedicareSchool.com, our team of brokers represents numerous insurance carriers and has years of experience helping people through Medicare. This means we can give you access to unlimited plans, help compare your options, and give you all the information you need to make a well-informed Medicare decision. 

To take the next step, watch our full course here or schedule a free one-on-one call with a certified Medicare School Guide who can answer your questions, compare plans options, and even help you enroll. Click here to get started.

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MedicareSchool.com started in 2009 to provide an unbiased and education-focused service to individuals approaching Medicare enrollment. Since then, MedicareSchool.com has helped over 100,000 people find and enroll in the best Medicare plans that fit their budget.