Choosing a Medicare Plan: Who to Turn to for Help

Choosing a Medicare Plan: Who to Turn to for Help

As you near retirement, choosing the right Medicare plan can be a challenge, especially if you’re not sure where to turn for help. With so many plans and options, it can be hard to know which one is best for you.

Luckily, there are several resources available that can guide you in selecting the perfect Medicare plan that meets your needs. Here are 5 different ways to get help choosing a Medicare plan.

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Understanding Medicare Options

When you turn 65, you can choose to enroll in Original Medicare (known as Medicare Parts A and B) with or without a Medicare Supplement and Part D prescription drug plan.

The other option is to can select a Medicare Advantage plan from a private company (known as Medicare Part C).

Let's take a brief look at those options:

  • Medicare Part A helps cover hospital expenses and is $0 premium for most people.
  • Medicare Part B is an optional part of Original Medicare, and it helps cover medically necessary services and supplies, such as doctor visits, outpatient care, preventive services, and durable medical equipment. You have a monthly premium for Part B, as well as a deductible and coinsurance for the services and supplies you receive.
  • Medicare Supplement plans cover almost all of those out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare does not cover. These plans have a monthly premium and are optional.
  • Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage (MA), is an alternative to Original Medicare offered by private insurance companies. These plans offer all the same benefits as Original Medicare but can also offer extra benefits like no-cost dental exams or fitness benefits. MA plans have provider networks and they are managed care plans, which means you may need prior approval for certain prescriptions or treatments.
  • Medicare Part D is also offered through private insurance companies. Part D is designed to help beneficiaries pay for the cost of prescription drugs.

Learn more about the parts of Medicare here.

There is a lot to consider when choosing how to pay for your medical bills as you get older. Should you go with Original Medicare, should you add Medicare Part D, should you delay signing up for Medicare altogether?

Let's take a look at the different ways you can learn about Medicare and explore all your options.  

Option #1: Medicare Insurance Brokerage

Medicare Insurance Brokerages, like the experts here at Sams Hockaday, are independent companies that are here to help you navigate the complex world of Medicare.

We're well-versed in all aspects of Medicare and offer customized advice. We help you compare, select, and enroll in the best plan based on your budget, provider networks, and current prescriptions.

We stay on top of all the constantly changing rules and regulations and know when all of the open enrollment periods are so you can be sure to never miss a deadline.

Additionally, when it comes to selecting a plan, we represent dozens of insurance companies and can price shop the market for you.

That means we will be able to sift through all the plans available in your area, go over all the details and prices with you, and then you can make an informed decision about which one suits you best. This will help ensure that you get the most comprehensive benefits at the lowest price.

The best part is that working with an insurance brokerage agent does not come at any extra cost to you.

Read More: How Agents Get Paid

Plus, our agents are always looking out for increasing premiums. So, if your premium is on the verge of an increase, we'll shop the market again and find you a better plan. Not only will we save you time, but we will also save you money!

Option #2: A Specific Insurance Company

While you can reach out to a specific insurance company to get a Medicare plan, keep in mind that they will not be able to offer price comparisons for different plans, because they only sell their own.

This may limit your ability to get the best possible deal.

To give an example between a brokerage and a specific insurance company, it would be the equivalent of going directly to a Nike store to buy a pair of shoes vs going shoe shopping at a department store.

The Nike store, like a specific insurance company, will only have one thing to sell: Nike shoes. They might be more expensive than the other brands, but you won't know, because that's all you will have looked at.

The department store on the other hand, like a Medicare Insurance Brokerage, would allow you to look at all the different shoes, compare all the options, decide which ones you like best, and then buy a pair.

Wouldn't you rather see all your options first?

Option #3: Do the Research Yourself

You may think navigating Medicare on your own can save you money, but the truth is, it won't. In fact, as in the case of our friend at the Nike store above, it can actually end up costing you more money by not selecting the most cost-effective plan for your medical needs.

Not to mention, the constantly changing options and rules can be overwhelming. If you're not fully educated on the best plans out there, researching them on your own can take a lot of time.

It is best to rely on an expert to make sure that you don’t miss any important deadlines that can be costly in terms of penalties and having no insurance coverage.

Option #4: Fill Out a Form Online

When browsing the internet for questions about Medicare, you may come across a form that asks you to put in your email address or your phone number, with the promise of sending you a quote or a list of the best Medicare plans for you.

The downside is these forms usually result in you getting hounded by phone calls from different insurance agents or call centers.  

That's because when you fill out those kinds of forms, the information typically goes straight to someone who sells your information to other people who want to sell you things. And that's when the phone calls start rolling in.

Additionally, those agents who are calling you could be located anywhere and may not be specifically knowledgeable about the plans that are offered in your area. It's better to work with local experts near you. Our agents are located right here in downtown Decatur – we know the plans here and specialize in this area.

Option #5: State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a free resource that provides counseling and assistance to people with Medicare.

SHIP counselors provide one-on-one counseling to help understand the different coverage options available under Medicare including monthly premiums, out-of-pocket costs for certain services, and prescription drug coverage.

They offer unbiased information and can also assist you in comparing Medicare plans from private insurance companies to determine which plan best fits your needs.

However, Sams/Hockaday's services are also free! Plus, we go above and beyond just helping you choose a plan.

We will be there for you when you have rate increases and need to shop the market again. We can help with claims issues. We also offer a variety of other products like life insurance, annuities, dental coverage, and more.

We can be your one-stop shop for retirement and Medicare coverage.


Working with our team is a great choice when it comes to understanding all of your Medicare options.

We work with you to understand your unique healthcare needs and financial situation to find the Medicare plan that best fits you. We can then also help you enroll and stay up on any updates after enrollment.  

And if you just want to learn a bit about how Medicare works, we even offer monthly educational workshops to teach you about Medicare, Social Security, and retirement planning. These workshops are completely free and don't require you to buy or sign up for anything.

Don't navigate the complex world of Medicare alone. Schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable team today and get the support you need.

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Disclaimer: We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 4 organizations which offer 41 products in your area. Please contact, 1‑800‑MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program to get information on all of your options. Not connected with or endorsed by the United States government or the federal Medicare program.