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Don’t assume your clients know much about Medicare. While it’s true that nearly everyone has heard of Medicare, and most people have a least a vague idea of what it is, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the federal health insurance system.

Misinformation Abounds

According to CNBC, a poll of people over the age of 50 and with a household income of $150,000 or higher revealed some significant misconceptions about Medicare. More than half of the survey respondents didn’t realize that Medicare Part B isn’t free, and close to a third thought that Medicare costs were the same for everyone – two things that are absolutely not true.

What you don’t know can hurt you. For people who underestimate the real cost of Medicare, the truth may come as an unpleasant surprise. It could also upend retirement plans. Fidelity estimates that the average couple will spend $295,000 on healthcare costs during retirement. Retirees who haven’t budgeted for this expense may have to rethink their retirement plans.

Medicare Is a Complex Topic

No one can be an expert in everything, and Medicare is an especially complex topic. At the same time, not knowing about some of the ins and outs can leave Medicare beneficiaries vulnerable. Here are a few more ways a lack of knowledge can lead Medicare enrollees astray:

  • People who assume Original Medicare covers long-term care, hearing, dental and vision may not explore other coverage options.
  • People who don’t know about Medicare’s late enrollment penalties may miss their sign-up period and pay the price later.
  • People who don’t understand how Medicare works with other health insurance plans, such as retiree plans, may make poor coverage decisions.
  • People who don’t know about Medicare’s low-income subsidies might not realize they’re eligible to apply for help.

Educate Your Clients

As a Medicare insurance sales agent, you’re the expert your clients turn to when they need help with Medicare. Make an effort to educate your clients on key Medicare issues.

Keep in mind that we don’t always know what we don’t know. For example, if your clients don’t know that low-income subsidies exist, they won’t know that they should ask if they’re eligible. This means you can’t simply answer the direct questions your asked. You also need to be on the lookout for key issues that might impact your clients.

  • Listen to your clients. The more you know about their financial and healthcare needs, the more you’ll be able to help them.
  • Explain key issues. Don’t assume your clients already know everything.
  • Send your clients educational materials. Some topics may be too dense to explain yourself. Consider sending videos and articles to help your clients.

Looking for great videos on Medicare? The PTT YouTube channel has videos on a wide range of Medicare topics in both English and Spanish.