Approaching retirement can be a bitter sweet feeling for employees. In one hand, they get to transition out of the workforce and into their golden years. In the other hand, they need to make complex decisions about healthcare, finances and lifestyle that could affect them for the rest of their lives. So who do they usually turn to for advice? Their friendly, neighborhood Human Resource representative, of course. But what if HR doesn’t know the answer or needs more information? Where do they get help?
It would be unreasonable for one to expect their HR representative would have all the answers to all the health insurance and retirement plan questions, especially when you throw government programs like Medicare into the mix. HR reps have massive caches of knowledge about employee benefits, and some about Medicare, but to expect anyone that doesn’t specialize in Medicare to have a deep and complete understanding of it is ludicrous. But back to the question, where do they get help?
First, Medicare.gov has wealth of great information about all parts of Medicare. The issue is, it’s general information that focuses mostly on Parts A and B. The website can definitely help you answer a lot of questions from transitioning employees, but it can also leave a lot unanswered.
Another option is to contact a local Agency on Aging to ask for help. Typically, each agency will have local volunteers, usually retired individuals, trained to help Medicare-eligible people enroll in Medicare Part A and B, as well as provide some information about Medicare Supplement Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans. The drawback here is their knowledge on Supplement Plans and Advantage plans can be very limited.
The final option would be to work with a trusted insurance advisor. They can provide detailed information on Medicare Parts A and B, as well as advice about Medicare Supplement Plans, stand-alone prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans. Most advisors will be happy to conduct presentations to groups of transitioning employees, as well as schedule one-on-one meetings to determine specific needs.
Finding an advisor, agent or broker can be a difficult task, though. Within the Medicare Supplement and Advantage industry, many advisors, agents and brokers are small agencies or individuals that work in the industry to supplement their income. This means they could leave the industry, become too busy, or simply not have the time to stay current on all the regulations. It’s important that you partner with an advisor with a good, long-standing track record and the resources to best serve you and your employees.
As always, the Hartman Group is here to help. We have access to all of the popular plans, both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement, available throughout Western, Central and North-Eastern Pennsylvania. The Hartman Group also has dedicated staff ready to help you and your staff evaluate the Medicare options available.
For further information or to schedule an appointment, please call our State College office at (814) 231-0100 or email Kyle Kunes at firstname.lastname@example.org.