Episode 24: Untangling the World of Medicare for Retirees with Brian McArthur

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this episode of the Build Your Life Podcast with Financial Expert John Browning, John has a powerful conversation with Brian McArthur about untangling the often complicated and messy world of Medicare. Join us for this candid discussion. 

You can reach Brian at Bridlewood Insurance online at www.BridlewoodInsurance.com.

Visit www.GuardianRockWealth.com to learn more about what John can do for you. Or, give us a call at (312) 372-5000.

Welcome to the building your life podcast with John Browning. Building your life as a relaxed and unedited conversation with financial expert John Browning. John's the founder of Guardian Rock Wealth in Lake Forest, Illinois. He's also the author of the Book Build Your Life, not a portfolio, a guide to your financial future based on your personal values. Now you can purchase John's book on Amazon, or you can stay around to the end of today show and I'll tell you how to get a free copy milk right to your door. I'm Michael Lawn, your host for the next few minutes as we chat with financial expert, business owner and author John Brownie. Hey, hello everyone and welcome to another edition of building your life, and we are without again Michael Today. He's on vacation and taking some much deserved time off, but I have with you here here today I've got Brian Macarthur, or Bridlewood insurance. He's the creator of the Medicare execution process in what he does is work alongside several hundred, I believe, financial advisors and annually prepares clients for Medicare. While so financial advisors do what they do best, which is prepare those same clients for retirement and building their life and building a portfolio and a whole plan around building what they want for their life. So, Brian, without you know further Ado, I'll let you talk a little bit about what you do, because I don't know all that well and it's a very complicated process that many people are tempted to take on by themselves, but they can get themselves in real trouble. So you've got a unique business and there's a real need for it, especially as people turn sixty four and sixty five. So can you tell us just a little bit more about what you really do for your clients? Sure, and thanks for having me, John. For last twenty years my natural audience, I suppose you'd say, has been financial advitagers, and about four years ago I just noticed, you know, we're in a kind of exciting time. Where as I look at financial advitasors like you, John Boy, this not a darn thing with a dollar sign you cannot help a client with in your desk these days. What I did notice is that the only thing financial advisors don't help clients on, and wouldn't if they could, for reasons you'll quickly understand, tends to be Medicare. You know, it's it's complicated, it's messy and changes pretty often and it's tough to kind of claim expertise and everything. So, you know, with that observation, you know, anybody can have a theory and then you kind of have to go out and market see if you're right. And I started reach out to financial advisors and, you know, ask some questions and just on that. You know it...

...especially from the position of a financial advisor where you're orchestrating the financial plan, it's important that you're kind of quarterbacking everything and at least have visibility on all parts of the financial plan, which does not require expertise, but at the very least it requires some accountability some oversight. And I built this process called the Medicare execution process, where it basically start with the financial advisor and just educate them a bit on Medicare and teach advisors when to engage their clients at the height of their confusion, which to give away the end things, usually age sixty four, and kind of reach into the clients life and demonstrate some leadership on a topic that that, honestly, the client doesn't really expect from the advisor. They appreciate it. I joke around with financial advisors to say your clients are not stabbing a John Browning Voodoo doll. The JOT hasn't talking about Medicare, but they do really do feel like they're kind of left on their own about it. So, you know, really started by teaching advisors like you to reach out to client at age sixty four, ask them how much mail they're getting about Medicare, and the clients usually laugh, and perhaps some of your clients are laughing now as I hear that, because the amount of mail is just insane, and it is. It's created a great opportunity for the advisor and client to communicate at a confusing time and and to introduce a medicare specialist like me right. So, ultimately what I do is I run alongside the financial advisors practice and work with their clients to show, teach them about Medicare, show them how to win roll, one to enroll, all under the watchful eye of the financial advisor. I joke around with clients and say, you know, it's I don't build for my time because I wind up being the insurance agent on the on whatever Medicare choices they make. But I jokingly point out that I'm not just accountable to them, I'm accountable to you. You know, it's important that everything I do reflects positively on the financial advisor. So it's a bit about the process. Medicare overalls, very, very good news. So, candidly, I kind of feel like all I do is deliver good news all day. But I'll pause for a moment and let you chime in. I I want to make sure I'm being mindful of your agenda. Know that's that's fine. That's exactly what I want. I want folks to understand you know what it is that you do. And one of the questions that I have, and I think a lot of folks will have to that haven't gone through the process. I know my parents went through the process and it was terribly confusing and at that time I didn't I didn't. You know, you aren't, you weren't doing this. You and I go way back to a right different life. But they had just a really tough time figuring it all out and frankly, later on, I...

...just didn't find this out until recently, is they made a decision, and I don't let you talk about this. They need a decision early on that affected things well into their future. Actually still affects the Noun in there in their eight so what might like an example of that be? If you're if you make a decision at one point, kind of when you're starting, and you can affect things later on. Yeah, so I could only speculate on what that was, but it's probably one of small amount of scenarios. You know, not to be Mr Rainbows and UNICORNS, but generally speaking, for people who live anywhere remotely close to a major metropolitan area, all of the options on Medicare are good to create. There's really no no, no bad option. So I try to steer and not participated in full on fear tactics. But that being said, there are consequences to not, you know, making the right decision. So you know, when people I always break down Medicare into four parts. I call it a, B, C and D. cheating a little bit, but a in that explanation. But I can't rise, I cannot resistant temptation alphabetizins. To keep it simple, you know, a and be comes from the government and the government gives you eighty percent of your health insurance, and then parts C and d come from insurance companies. Is Two different ways to take care of parts C and the one is a medicare supplement plan and one's medicure advantage. If I were to speculate, I might guess that perhaps your parents chose Medicare advantage plans and and down the road, if they wanted to move to a medicare supplement plan, they found they needed to answer health questions. And if you get answering health questions, of course insurance companies have the ability to accept you or decline you. rewinding back to the moment where or they first enrolled, everybody who's brand new to Medicare actually gets a onetime opportunity to bypass answering health questions. If they want a medicure supplement plan, you could actually have the worst health imaginable. And if you're choosing a Medicare supplement plan immediately, which you know there's certain benefits of doing that, they cannot decline you, they cannot drop you. So if I were to guess, I would say one of two things happen. Perhaps your parents got a medicure advantage plan, which is still really great coverage, but it might have, you know, some limitations that presented themselves in your parents lives later and they maybe had a tough time or I have not been able to get to a medicure supplement option. And then the only other thing that might happen is perhaps they got exposed to late rollman penalties, which do happen from time to time, of course I those are my two guesses, but you know, all the more reason I I tell people I cannot claim to be a a full fledged I I douchary. I don't build for...

...my time. My whatever option that the clients choose has a couple dollars and monthly commission that you know, the compensates me, but so one that keeps me from going for my time. Number two, all the options are pretty you know. All the pricing is very standardized. The industry is structured in a way that, despite me trying to convince clients of yours of how terrific and honest I am, which hopefully you think I am, the the whole industry is one that really promotes that. So it really is about removing confusion or turning a complicated topic into something simpler at the height of the clients confusion. So they usually appreciate that and then just explaining the options and letting the clients, you know, ask questions and and, you know, decide on their own what's the best for them. I actually try not to give too much advice. I try to explain it to the point that the client volunteers, Oh, I think this is the best option for me, and then, you know, most of the time I will agree with them and say, you know, that's what I thought too, but I wanted to hear it come out of your mouth first instead of mind, because of course that's kind of validation you know I've done my job and that they do kind of understand the options. Yeah, we we spend a lot of time doing that with with our clients as well because, again, as I wrote in my book, building a life, not a portfolio. That's really what it's all about. And we spend we've talked about this on earlier podcasts. We spend a lot of time asking questions, but not just listening then to the answers, but then sort of repeating back and making sure that we understand exactly what it is that the client really really wants and then asking that further question. possibly. I don't know whether you do some of this either, but we'll ask in a in a proper way. Will say why, why is that? That? Why is it that you think you want that particular goal in the future? And it's really telling and they begin to know themselves a little bit better when they really think about that question and well, why do I want that yacht or then rading home or whatever? What? What joy is it going to bring me? And I imagine the same type of things in a way coming to effect when they're talking about, you know, how they handle this section of their of their life, with the complications and confusion surrounding Medicare and signing up for it. And if they're like like me, it just becomes a jumbled mess of a lot of different papers, and you can simplify that for them. So that's that's great enough. There's there's one thing...

...that's on everyone's mind at this point in time. It's all about this pandemic, which we've never seen in our lifetimes. There might be somebody listening to this that maybe saw, you know, the Spanish flu of a man there in their area there. That was back in one thousand nine hundred twenty, so probably not. So nothing like this is really happened in our lifetime. And so how for you, just really quickly, as we wrap up, how are things changing or what things might people want to think about in the light of the fact that we're in kind of the midst of this pandemic and life is somewhat changed as we know it, right? So I break that down into two observations, John. Number one, down to the actual health insurance benefits level, if you will, pretty much every insurance company is stepping up and waving code pays and removing any reason that somebody should hesitate to seek, you know, healthcare guidance around covid nineteen or threats of covid nineteen. So most Medicare plans have very limited a pocket exposure. So hopefully that wasn't a big issue anyway. Now it's a little bit of a catch twenty two, the COPAZER wave, but everybody's afraid to go to the doctor. So so it's you know, yeah, you have no free you've have no copays, but you know now you have to go to the doctor where everybody else is sick is. But Anyway, obviously from an administrative and billing level, that that's been addressed across the board by the industry and I think a positive way. Of course, the telehealth thing has is really been helpful. There's a lot that doctors can accomplished by speaking to you digitally and you know, you can hold your cell phone up to your you know, Spring knee and and you know the doctor can't touch it, but they might be able to observe some swelling. So I think there's a lot of things that we could have done. But you know, we used to not assign risk to just going out in public and now that that is kind of a calculated risk. So that's one thing. From a client behavior standpoint, what I have noticed is a lot of you know, this event has altered some client behavior. I wouldn't say in a positive or negative way. I would say that a lot of decisions are being accelerated. So, for example, in the first week, once it's really became serious, two different clients of financial advisors who called me up and said, hey, Brian, I know we talked about medicaret age sixty four, I thought I was going to work till sixty seven. I've one client who just decided, you know what, we're probably going to close up the business sooner and later. We were going to it was.

It was not a business that they were that they thought they'd be value and selling. So at some point they imagine just shutting it down and they said, you know what, we just lost our biggest client. They were print media company and I think they had their biggest client. Brought in a million dollars in revenue a year and they had like fifty employees, so, you know, pretty big payroll and they, you know, the woman said that I'm just passed the time in my life where I'm going to hunker on down and keep making payroll without the revenue from a biggest client and just tell everybody it's going to be okay. So that was one thing where that's his kind of forced the closure of the business. It's, you know, it's it's not good or bad, it just accelerated that decision. And then I have another client who was an anesthesiologist and he just retired and he thought he was going to work until the end of two thousand and twenty, but he called me up and he said, you know, Brian, he said I my hospital is not doing a whole lot to make me feel comfortably. So I think they're waiting for the feds to kick in money. So it's difficult for the hospitals to want to spend their own money on on, you know, a coronavirus protocol, because for a while we didn't even know what that was. But he said, above and beyond that, he said, I'm ansiologists that I work with people's Airways all day long. I'm right the cross hairs, a catch in this and he had, or still has, his motherin law is in our S and and she lives in the same house as his wife and him and he had two adult children with some you know, immune compromise, I think goes Ms. and he said, you know, the risk is just so high, Brian, and he said I can't risk and he said and if I catch this, I'm not going to sit at home enjoying family time like I need to be away from everybody. So I think that, you know, it prompted him to retire about six months early. I don't know that was super consequential, but it definitely impacted, you know, his previous timeline pre coronavirus. Right. Well, you know, we talked about this a lot within financial planning and it's the reason why we really insist on bea some clients don't like to, you know, they don't like to set up that meeting and come talk to us. But or and they don't have to come and talk to us. Now, thanks to we do a lot of zoom meetings, like you and I are doing right now and right. And so it's really we it's become a lot easier and people become a lot more familiar with how to do this. But it's that's the reason things happen in your life and you might not think about the things that you focus on, for instance, or that I focus on, but in hearing that and talking with people, we can help them and guide them and making the right adjustments for for their lives and and what matters to them. So all of that, you know this, this coronavirus and the in the...

...pandemic. It does have a have an effect on you when people retire, how they retire, what their plans are in retirement, and that's something that you can help with. Right, right, right. And then everything I do is designed to reflect positively on the financial advisor. I with the clients permission, I report everything back and then other things that do come up is, you know, this is I claim expertise in this very narrow little skill set, John, of Medicare. But you know it is the narrow parts of a financial plan or part of the broader financial plan. And you know, what I try to do is also prepare clients towards the end of Medicare envolment for just what I have observed. The next conversations that typically come up with you are so you know, for example, and it's just one example, but you know, I find that if long term care planning is yet to be addressed by age sixty four sixty five, that right around the time of the Medicare envolvement, you know, people are both financial advised. The financial advisor typically finds out to be a high priority topic and clients are, or tend to be, kind of, you know, open to it as well. I what I actually do find it's a lot of sixty five year olds think that they've kind of missed a window. But you know, as you get older there are fewer and fewer long term care planning options. But there I always like to point out, and you know, if you'll let me point it out in this podcast, that there's still a good abundance of options for long Term Care Planning prior to age seventy. So it get it gets a little bit thinner. That still options at age seventy, but sixty five to seventy there's it's a worthwhile conversation that I try to encourage the client to ask the financial advantager to have with them following medicare enrollment. Yeah, that's a really good point about the long term care, insure and sentence. Again part of the financial planning process that we go through with them as well, and you're part of the Guardian rock team, Brian, so we would bring you in on that because again, it's not our focus, but we work as a team and bring together the legal, the the insurance, the tax planning and everything together. We quarterback them with really trusted partners like yourself. And that long term care is something near and dear to my heart because you know, my my wife, Christine, ran a random business for many, many years and she's still the nurse and she deals with seniors all the time and we've seen firsthand how expensive that long term care or can get and it's you know, it gives people their dignity, it gives them their freedom in when they're when they're not able to do everything on their own and they just need a little bit of help and to have that is so important for...

...the quality of life that they want and that's that's something that we work with you on, as well as a long term care aspect of a lot of people were scared of it. It's, you know, is it just too expensive? But I ever use it and there's some really interesting plans out there right now that can adjust for some of those things. If folks want to get in touch with you, they can of course contact us through Guardian Rock wealthcom or at three one, two, three, seven, two five thousand, which is directly to Guardian Rock. But how can they get in touch with you directly, Brian, if they wanted to do that without without coming through Guardian Rock? So you know, I always joke around John and say never tell people what to do. I just tell them what works best. I I will give my phone number. I actually suggest people email me first and and I reply almost immediately with some instructions on how to schedule some time to speak. It goes right into my calendar and I treat it like a sport to call people the exact minute they request. So it's important to me to people have the Audi tout of me, you know, to decide when and how to engage me. My email address is Brian with an eye at design my mediccarecom. So again I would encourage people to just send me an email at Brian at design my medicarecom. I'm not above playing phone tag. My phone number is six, one, nine, eight hundred and eight five zero, five, five six. But again, if they're open to a little bit of guidance, I always suggest emailing me first. All right. Well, thanks a lot for for being on the podcast today. It's been informative and I hope some folks got some great information and, of course, as always, well, you can reach out to us here at Guardian rock wealth or the and for you use the information that Brian just gave you to get in touch with him directly and we're happy to quarterback things for you and and act as a go between and we certainly want to work directly with Brian as a team and make sure that your whole plan as you build your life, not just your portfolio, works for you. So, Brian, thanks for being on the call and we'll talk to you soon. All right, thank you for having me. John All right, thanks for listening to the building your life podcast with John Browning. Be Sure to subscribe to this podcast so each new episode will be sent to you automatically when it is released. Have a terrific day.

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