San Diego, CA: With 44 million Americans currently enrolled in Medicare, it’s no surprise that some of the nation’s largest brokers are experiencing their busiest days of the year right now. That’s because the country is in the middle of what’s known as “Medicare Open Enrollment” period. With health insurance companies frequently adjusting existing plans and often introducing new ones, seniors (and those about to turn 65) complain of increasingly complex and confusing options. As it turns out, past years may not even come close to the realities of 2020.
Bridlewood Medicare Insurance is a San Diego-based company with a national network of over 500 authorized agents providing Medicare guidance to seniors, free of charge. Each year, their independent agents must go through rigorous training to ensure they understand and can advise on smart choices that will minimize costs while yielding top benefits for aging adults. According to Bridlewood CEO Jeff Wetzel, it’s both a rewarding and challenging time.
“10-hour days are not uncommon for our agents between now and December 7,” says Wetzel. “Open enrollment from October 15 to December 7 is always hectic but 2020 is off the charts. Every year, we have more people entering the Medicare system. New plans and options this year have increased the complexity. In addition to that, we’re in the middle of a pandemic – where the highest health risk is to the very demographic group we work with every year – those 65 and older. Helping seniors negotiate these options is what we do.”
Wetzel’s company has adapted to the new reality – offering frequent website updates, mailed newsletters, seminars for seniors, explainer videos plus telephone and zoom video conferencing designed to assist seniors.
“Our goal has always been to make Medicare easy,” adds Wetzel. “It’s a year-round effort that involves continuous agent training, helping our current clients and assisting those who are starting on Medicare for the first time. We are here to get you through ‘the Medicare Maze.’”
Jeffry Wetzel began the journey in forming Bridlewood Insurance 12 years ago when his mom called for help with Medicare during an open-enrollment period. She told him how the plans change every year and she wanted to make sure she was still on the right plan. When Mr. Wetzel called the agent who signed up his mom multiple times with no answer, he decided to do his own research and got in touch with UnitedHealthcare in San Diego. He sat through a training class to gather information, and after a discussion with the rep who did the training, he was told he should consider becoming a Medicare agent. Mr. Wetzel explained how eye-opening it was to realize just how many people need help with this complicated topic. He founded Bridlewood Insurance six years ago, bringing his wife and daughter into the business as well. Bridlewood’s primary objective is that the agent should do what is right for the customer every time. He saw first-hand how many agents focus on just signing people up, making their commission and then disappear.