Are you turning 65 soon? Let the phone calls begin

Linda Tobias
Redwood Falls Gazette

Turning 65 comes with many emotions for me.

I am excited to begin thinking about the next phase of my life. Is retirement a reality for me, or am I going to continue to do the job I love with the Senior LinkAge Line and the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging?

I will turn 65 at the end of October.

Over the last month, I have been inundated with phone calls from people trying to sell me a Medicare insurance plan.

The calls usually come across as “potential spam.” I typically don’t answer, but yesterday I decided to see what they had to say. The caller on the other end of the line told me they were with Medicare (not true).

I questioned her further, and she said, “medicare benefits.”

Then she said she wanted to make me aware of what options Medicare had for me.

Since my job with the Senior LinkAge Line is to know Medicare inside and out and provide free, unbiased information, I was skeptical.

I proceeded to ask, “Are you selling insurance?” and she said, “No, we advocate for you, so you can get the coverage you need when you turn 65.”

She then told me she wanted to transfer me to someone who would be able to talk to me about plans available in my area.

I asked again whether she was trying to sell me something and was told no.

I agreed to the transfer, and then someone else came on the line. She gave me her name and proceeded to tell me she was a licensed insurance agent in 38 states.

Not selling anything, huh?

The agent tried to make small talk. She asked my zip code and my date of birth. 

I told her she must know my date of birth since she was calling because she knew I was turning 65 (silence on the other end of the phone).

She never asked me if I was planning to retire or keep working, she proceeded to attempt to sell me a specific type of plan (without reviewing all the other options).

When I asked about what other options are available, she skipped right over my question and proceeded to go back to selling me the same type of plan.

She told me about two companies that sold this type of plan in Minnesota but skipped by all the others. She told me she was unbiased and wanted what was best for me.

She never asked me questions about my health, my lifestyle or what I could afford to pay in premium.

These are all things that should be considered when choosing a Medicare plan. When talking about my options under Medicare Part D, she never asked about the medications I take or the pharmacy I use.

Without this information, you have no way of knowing your best Medicare Part D plan.

You are probably wondering why I am telling you all this.

Well, quite simply, if you are getting ready to turn age 65 and live in Minnesota, you should hang up on these types of calls, or don’t answer in the first place. Instead, you can call the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433 to get true non-biased help.

We are a service of the State of Minnesota and provide services free of charge. We don’t sell insurance and won’t steer you to any particular company or type of policy. We are there to provide you the information you need so you can make an informed decision yourself.

We pride ourselves on being advocates for Minnesotans and really do want to help you find what works best for you. If you are turning 65 and getting the same type of phone calls and mailings I am, remember “buyer beware.”

Start paying attention to those television and magazine ads targeting people nearing retirement. These callers are looking for your dollars, as opposed to trying to help you save money.

The decisions you make about your Medicare plan will help make your retirement enjoyable, especially should you need medical care.

The Senior LinkAge Line is there for you. We believe in what we do, and we have experts across the state ready to help you.

If you are confused and are getting calls like I am, before you make any decisions, please give the Senior LinkAge Line a call at 1-800-333-2433.

Retirement should be an exciting time for us. Let the Senior LinkAge Line give you the information you need so you can make the best choice about your future healthcare needs for you.

– Linda Tobias is a client service center supervisor for the Senior LinkAge Line and Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging