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Frequently Asked Questions

How much do your services cost?

Our services are FREE so long as you choose our Agent as your Agent of Record (AOR). There are a few things you should know:

 

  • Insurance agents are paid a commission by the insurance company when an enrollment is submitted by the agent on your behalf.

 

  • Agents at Credible Coverage are considered independent agents, meaning we work for ourselves and contract with multiple insurance companies to offer an array of options to our clients. For each insurance company we represent, we have completed an application, background check, and training before they have authorized us to sell policies on their behalf.

  • Our only means of compensation is the commission paid by the insurance company. We do not receive any additional compensation for answering questions, assisting with claims, helping you apply for Extra Help, or offering support. We do this because we have an ethical responsibility to provide you with the best possible service.

  • We don't believe in charging for advice you are entitled to receive. However, if we are not assigned as your AOR, that means we're working for free! This is why we ask in return for our continued service, you assign your Credible Coverage Agent as your representative with your insurance company. If you're enrolling into a new plan, this is done automatically by allowing your Agent to submit your application. If you're already enrolled in a plan, a simple phone call to your insurance company with your new Agent's name and National Producer Number (NPN) is all it takes to change your AOR.

What is an Agent of Record (AOR)?

An agent of record (AOR) is responsible for representing your best interests in dealings with the insurance company. They make sure your policy is appropriate for your needs, make changes to your policy when requested, provide you with advice and guidance when navigating your benefits, and answer any questions you may have about coverage, premiums, deductibles, and other policy details. In a nutshell, your AOR acts as your representative with an insurance company.

Why do I need an agent?

An agent is responsible for looking out for your best interests. At Credible Coverage, your licensed Agent will, at no cost to you:

  • ensure you're educated so that you understand your health care and/or financial options, 

  • conduct a thorough needs assessment, taking into account your unique situation, health status, and budget,

  • research plans to identify those that best meet your needs and preferences,

  • help you manage your policy(ies),

  • provide you with advice and guidance along your health care and/or financial journey,

  • answer any questions you may have about your plan benefits, coverage, premiums, deductibles, and other policy details,

  • check in with you to ensure your policy is meeting your needs, and

  • perform an annual review to reassess your current situation and disclose upcoming changes to your plan in order to ensure you're choosing the best option.

 

Without an agent, you're left to researching technical terms, confusing rules, and complex concepts on your own. In the case of complex scenarios- like chronic illness, complicated medical history, or a long list of medications- there is much industry knowledge not readily available to consumers that an agent can provide to simplify the process.

When should I apply for Medicare?

You can apply for Medicare as early as three months before you turn 65. Whether you should or not depends on your particular situation. It's important to be aware of the different enrollment periods for Medicare, how much it will cost you, and your exposure to any late enrollment penalties. If you have other health insurance when you turn 65, you should verify it is considered creditable coverage and costs you less than Medicare would. We recommend everybody to speak to an advisor to ensure you have a full understanding of your choices and their implications. You can also use this tool on the Medicare.gov site to check your specific situation.

I'm planning on working past 65. Do I need to sign up for Medicare?

In general, it doesn't hurt to sign up for Part A (free for most people), but you might want to hold off on Part B if you have health coverage through your employer.

 

If you have paid Medicare taxes while working for 10 years in the United States, you are entitled to Medicare Part A. Even if you have health coverage through your employer, you can sign up for Part A when you turn 65.

If you have creditable employer health coverage* when you turn 65, you may want to wait to sign up for Part B as it comes with a monthly premium. It is advisable to sign up for Part B as soon as your group health coverage ends to avoid any late enrollment penalties and gaps in coverage.

*If you are on a Marketplace plan, you need to apply for Medicare.

 

For more in-depth information, visit the Medicare.gov page on working past 65 here. You can also get information on how Medicare works with other health coverage here.

What are the different enrollment periods for Medicare?

​There are several different enrollment periods for Medicare that are important to know for both you and your Agent. This will let you know when you are able to make changes and when those changes will take effect. Below is an overview of the different enrollment periods.

  • Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): for those enrolling in Medicare for the first time, this is a seven-month period that begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after the month of your 65th birthday. For example, if your birthday is June 15, IEP runs from March 1 to September 30. Coverage begins on the first day of your birth month if you apply before that date; if you apply on or after the first day of your birth month, coverage begins on the first day of the following month.

  • General Enrollment Period (GEP): for those who did not enroll during their IEP and are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). GEP runs from January 1 to March 31 each year, and coverage begins 1st day of the month following enrollment.

  • Special Enrollment Period (SEP): for those who experience certain qualifying events, such as moving to a new area or losing employer-sponsored coverage. SEP allows individuals to enroll or make changes to their Medicare coverage outside of the regular enrollment periods. The window you have for making changes is dependent on your situation- contact us to learn more.

  • Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): for those who are already enrolled in Medicare and want to make changes to their coverage. AEP runs from October 15 to December 7 each year, and any changes made during this period take effect on January 1 of the following year.

  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP): for those who are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and want to switch to a different plan or to Original Medicare. OEP runs from January 1 to March 31 each year, and any changes made during this period take effect on the first day of the following month.

It's important to note that there are special considerations not covered here that should be discussed with your Agent. You may also visit the Medicare.gov site to obtain more information on enrollment periods, or check your specific information to find out when to sign up.

I think I applied for Medicare. How do I know if I have it?

There are two parts to Original Medicare- Part A and Part B. To enroll for either of these, you must go through Social Security. If you can't recall which you have signed up for, the following information may be helpful:

  • If you have a Medicare card (a red, white and blue card), it will indicate which Part(s) you have on the bottom left corner - "HOSPITAL (PART A)" and/or "MEDICAL (PART B)."

  • Typically, if you're 65 or over you would have applied for Part A (this is free for most people). You have the option to sign up for Part B at the same time, or delay/decline Part B.

  • If you began receiving Social Security benefits before the age of 65, you were automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B unless you explicitly declined.

The best way to review your benefits is to create a my Social Security account. While a bit tedious at first, it allows you instant access to your benefits. 

I enrolled in Medicare but I never got my card in the mail.

You should receive a Welcome Packet from Medicare in the mail about two weeks after you sign up. If it has been over two weeks, confirm your contact information is correct on Social Security - Medicare uses the information you have on file with Social Security.

If your address on file at Social Security is correct, you may request another card in the mail via your my Social Security account. Alternatively, you can contact Social Security by phone at 1-800-772-1213.

What do I do if I can't find my Medicare card?

You can request a new card by calling Medicare at 1-800-633-4227. If you have a Medicare account, you can log in and print a copy of your Medicare card.

I need to go to the doctor/pharmacy but my insurance card hasn't arrived yet. What do I do?

If you have received a welcome letter from your carrier, there may be sufficient information on there to provide to your doctor or pharmacist. Contact your insurance company's member services to obtain your member ID. You can give this to your provider or pharmacy so they may verify your benefits.

What card do I show when I go to the doctor?

If you have Original Medicare and a Medicare Advantage plan, show only your Medicare Advantage plan card. Remember, Medicare Advantage plans bundle Original Medicare with added benefits, so your Medicare Advantage plan card will have all the information a provider needs for billing.

If you have Original Medicare and a Medigap plan, show both your Medicare card and your Medigap plan card. Remember, Medigap plans cover the gap in coverage Original Medicare leaves. Your provider will first bill Medicare then use your Medigap benefits to cover any remaining costs, so both cards must be shown.

I have Medicare and Veterans' benefits. What card do I show when I go to the doctor?

This will depend where you are receiving care. Generally, if you are receiving care at a VA facility, you should use your VA benefits.

You can also seek care outside of the VA. If you receive care outside of the VA healthcare system, show your Medicare card.

If you see a doctor outside of the VA healthcare system and they prescribe you medication, you can have that medication sent to the VA pharmacy. There, you may use your VA benefits to cover your prescriptions.

If you have TRICARE, show both your TRICARE and Medicare cards when you go to the doctor. If you're not on active duty, Medicare will pay for covered services first and TRICARE may pay second. If you're receiving care from a military hospital or federal health care provider, TRICARE will pay first.

I have Medicare and CHAMPVA. What card do I show when I go to the doctor?

Show your Medicare card (and Medigap plan card if it applies to you). CHAMPVA is a secondary payer or payer of last resort- it will pay covered services after your other health insurance has paid. 

Still have questions?

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