Is a Medicare Broker a Good Option for You?

A woman discussing plan options with a Medicare broker.


Medicare is vital to your health care and retirement planning. But its sheer size can be overwhelming. As of 2023, there are nearly 4,000 Medicare Advantage plans nationwide. And the average person will choose from 43 different plans, notes the Kaiser Family Foundation. Alternatively, you can enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A and B). But you’ll still need to figure out a Part D prescription drug plan and perhaps a Medigap supplement plan.

If you find this process daunting, you’re not alone. A Medicare broker may be able to help.

Much like a tour guide, a Medicare broker can help you navigate the maze of information to find a plan that works for you. You may want to use a Medicare broker when you first enroll or are switching plans due to changing health or financial situations. The best brokers will listen to your wants and needs, consider your health and financial well-being, and present suitable options.

But not all brokers are equal, and it’s important to watch for signs that someone isn’t following Medicare regulations.

Let’s examine the advantages of working with a Medicare broker, the potential warning signs and how to find a broker who fits your needs.

Advantages of working with a Medicare broker

Brokers have a thorough understanding of the Medicare program. That includes Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

Brokers must complete state-specific training and licensing requirements each year to demonstrate their knowledge, stay on top of trends, and adhere to Medicare marketing and compliance regulations.

Medicare brokers also have access to insurance carrier information you may not be privy to, such as rate trends. Many Medicare brokers work for multiple insurance carriers. This means they aren’t tied to one plan, product or company. It allows them to provide unbiased information that fits your needs instead of those of a plan or carrier they represent.

Brokers also consider your health conditions, medications and finances. And they can confirm whether a plan includes your current doctors and prescription drugs. In addition, they can help you explore supplemental plans such as dental, vision and fitness benefits.

Once you decide on a plan, a broker can help you enroll. And if you qualify for financial assistance, they can connect you to the appropriate state and federal programs.

Brokers can also provide ongoing assistance. For example, they can update you on changes to Medicare plans for the upcoming year. If necessary, they can propose new plan options that offer cost savings or a better fit for your health needs.

It’s important to note there is not a separate cost for working with a broker. In fact, it’s illegal for a Medicare broker to ask you for credit card information, bank accounts or any form of payment. Medicare brokers get paid by insurance companies, and their compensation is built into plan premiums. For more information on broker compensation, visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website.

Potential warning signs

Brokers should never pressure you into signing up for a Medicare plan. If a plan is declared “the best,” it’s a warning sign. If they appear to be biased toward or promoting a particular plan or carrier, decline their help and look for a new broker.

According to, agents must follow specific rules of engagement and marketing. For example, they cannot:

  • Come to your house without your invitation to talk about Medicare plans
  • Promote Medicare plans you haven’t asked about
  • Attempt to sell unrelated products such as life insurance, disability insurance or auto insurance
  • Provide gifts, meals or any item worth more than $15
  • Ask for contact information for friends, family or other potential sales leads

As noted above, they cannot charge you a fee for discussing, reviewing or enrolling in a plan. Report any broker who doesn’t follow these rules. They can have their license revoked and lose contracts with health and drug plans.

Before agreeing to work with a broker, ask the following questions:

  • Which company or companies do you work for?
  • Do you have financial incentives to sign people with certain plans or carriers?
  • Will you provide information on all Medicare options?
  • What is your experience with Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans?
  • Can you provide referrals?

Once you decide to work with a broker, check their credentials with your state department of insurance.

How to find a Medicare broker

Word-of-mouth is a safe way to find a Medicare broker. Ask your friends, family and colleagues for recommendations.

Online searches can also help you locate a Medicare broker. The National Council on Aging offers a search option for Medicare brokers who meet their “Standards of Excellence.” also provides information on broker expectations.

Be sure to vet your findings and check brokers’ credentials. With the right fit, a broker can save you time and money by researching Medicare plans and finding the coverage to meet your needs.

Jamie Aune, CPIA
Senior Health Insurance Advisor
New Richmond, WI