Springer feels that this new, consumer-friendly approach can be of great benefit to caregivers and their elderly loved ones. “These retail stores will make it easy for seniors and their caregivers to go to a store and get their questions answered—instead of just spending hours on the phone and getting approval to help make decisions about Medicare coverage for a patient,” she says.
Know what you need and where to get it
Despite the attractive bells and whistles of these new stores, Springer urges caregivers to do their homework before deciding on a new health insurance plan.
“Just because a retail store is more convenient doesn’t mean that consumers should think about their coverage options any less,” she says.
A store operated by a specific provider will likely only be able to offer health insurance plans from their particular company. Thus, their selection will be more limited than if you went to an agent or a website that represents multiple companies.
According to Springer, the key to finding a plan that meets a senior’s needs is identifying those needs beforehand. Does an elderly loved one need extensive dental care? Will they need in-home care services for an extended period of time? These situations are not covered by traditional Medicare, so the purchase of a supplemental insurance plan would be advisable.
Once you’ve hammered out the requirements for a new plan, you need to figure out which insurer is best capable of filling those needs. Comparing plans and providers is an essential step in the process.
You should never go into a health insurance store cold-turkey. Springer suggests taking a hard look at your options to see which companies and plans you prefer. Once you’ve narrowed your selection down to a few options, then it’s ok to visit a retail outlet and discuss those options with a representative.
Health Insurance From a Store, Who Knew? originally appeared on AgingCare.com