Last week we began discussing ways that agents and companies market Medicare plans to people turning 65. We discussed the phone calls you may receive and the possibility of someone showing up unannounced at your door. This week we will look at online marketing and direct mail.
Direct mail – This is the most common way companies market their plans. When you are within 6 months of turning 65 a company will purchase a mailing list with your name and address on it. Most companies will start sending mail 6 months prior to the month you turn 65. This is because you are eligible to purchase a Medicare supplement any time during that 6 month period. In most cases direct mail is designed to initiate a response on your part. That response is to call a toll free number. You may be calling to get information, but usually are connected to a sales person. If you do respond to direct mail, our advice is to never give the agent on the line your social security number until you are ready to buy. This should protect you against unknowingly signing up for a plan.
Online marketing – Occasionally we will have someone stop by our office that has gone online to research Medicare plans. Most online marketing companies will ask you to provide your phone number and/or email address to get pricing information. Once you enter this information, you will immediately begin getting phone calls. This is because, when you hit “send,” that information goes out to 10 or more agents who have bought that lead. All the agents will begin reaching out to you within minutes.
Phone calls, direct mail, door knocking and online marketing are perfectly legal and compliant under Medicare guidelines for some plans, but not others. If you have any questions concerning any of these, you can contact our office for more information.