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Frequently Asked Questions

For any additional questions, please reach out to support@sparkadvisors.com. We can also be reached by phone at (855) 244-5998.

About Spark

Can you help me with more than just Medicare?

Yes! Our goal is to be your trusted advisor for all things retirement, whether that’s navigating your health benefits, planning your retirement income, developing a plan for aging in place, or more. 

Our agents are experts in much more than just Medicare, and in areas where they don’t have expertise, we can refer you to another specialist in our network. Have more mundane questions about a medical bill, how to pick up your prescription, or even what volunteering opportunities are available in your community? Our Spark Navigators are on call to handle any question you might have.

What is Spark’s mission?

Our mission is to democratize access to trusted advice. Your health and financial options at retirement are too complex to navigate alone, but most of the players who’re supposed to help retirees instead have bad incentives that lead them to offer bad or misleading advice to increase their own profits. 

We believe there is a better way. We’re creating the trusted platform that powers top licensed independent agents who actually work for their clients, not themselves. Our technology helps agents better serve clients like you, and through powering these interactions, we will achieve our vision of creating the category-defining retirement brand that stands for trusted, expert advice and world-class client support.

What sort of agents partner with Spark?

We only work with experienced independent agents with a track record of delivering excellent client service. Agent independence is key. When employed by an insurance carrier or an online brokerage, agents are incentivized to push sales as quickly as possible without regard for the client’s long-term needs. 

Independent agents keep their own commissions and make the vast majority of their income through renewal income, which means they’re primarily incentivized to maintain lasting relationships with their clients through ongoing service.

Why is Spark free for me?

The licensed agents we work with earn a commission paid by insurance companies whenever they help you enroll in a plan. Since our partner agents represent many insurance companies and earn the majority of their income through renewal commissions earned from retaining their clients, they’re incentivized to give you the best advice they can and continue to serve you over time.

Why work with Spark?

Medicare is confusing. The market is rapidly changing, with thousands of coverage options available, and your personal health and financial needs are regularly changing too. At Spark, we recognize the importance of pairing local, human expertise with modern technology to give you peace of mind. We match you with experienced licensed agents who use our technology to make recommendations personalized to you. 

And we’re here for you over the long haul. Even after you’ve enrolled, your licensed agent and our Spark Navigator support team are always available to the inevitable questions that’ll come up down the road. With Spark you’re getting lifelong support through technology and a human touch.

Enrolling in Medicare

How do I enroll in Medicare?

Some people get enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically, while others have to sign up. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll automatically get Part A and B the first day of the month you turn 65. You’ll also receive a red, white and blue Medicare card by mail 3 months before your 65th birthday. 

If you’d like to sign up for a Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and/or Prescription Drug Plan, you’ll have to proactively enroll within specific enrollment periods. Speaking with an advisor can help you figure out where you stand and what actions you need to take to make sure you’re covered.

How should I evaluate all of my plan options?

Determining which Medicare option is right for you requires careful consideration of a variety of personal factors. Cost, accessibility, convenience, and health history all play an important role in your decision. Before selecting a Medicare plan, you may want to ask yourself some questions, like, “what do I like about my current healthcare coverage?” and “what am I prepared to spend on health services and medications?” It’s important to carefully think about how you’ll pay for premiums, deductibles, and copays, and to decide on a maximum amount you’re able to afford for out-of-pocket expenses. You’ll also want to spend time thinking about whether it’s crucial for you to stick with your current healthcare providers, and if so, whether they would be considered in-network under whichever option you choose.

If I'm still working, do I get Medicare?

You’re still eligible for Part A even if you’re still working, and it generally pays to enroll given that Part A is premium-free for most people. If you have health insurance through your or your spouse's employer, and your company employs 20 or more individuals, you can postpone Medicare Part B enrollment. When your employer coverage ends or you leave your job (whichever comes first), you’ll have 8 months to enroll in Part B without a late penalty. If your company has fewer than 20 employees, you should sign up for Part A and B when you’re first eligible.

What are the different parts of Medicare and which ones should I sign up for?

There are four parts to Medicare (parts A, B, C, and D). Part A, or hospital insurance, covers costs for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care. Part B, or medical insurance, covers costs for things like doctor’s appointments, outpatient care, and many preventative services. Skipping ahead, Part D, or prescription drug coverage, covers the cost of common vaccines, recommended shots, and necessary medications. 

Lastly, Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is an all-in-one plan that bundles the benefits of Part A and Part B and often includes additional benefits and services like prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing. There are many considerations when selecting your Medicare Advantage coverage options, such as cost, benefits, doctor choice, and health history.

When can I start receiving Medicare benefits?

If you sign up for Parts A and/or B in the first 3 months before your 65th birthday, you’ll start receiving benefits on the first day of the month you turn 65. If your birthday happens to be on the first day of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the prior month. If you continue working past age 65, speak with an advisor to understand how your group health plan works with Medicare.

About your Medicare benefits

Can I continue to see my doctor on a Medicare Advantage plan?

It depends! Many Medicare Advantage plans are Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), which means that you must get care and services from doctors and other health care providers within the plan’s network. In some cases you may go out of network, but will pay a higher cost. Speak with an advisor to understand all of the implications on your doctor and hospital choice.

How can I get vision, dental and hearing services covered?

Medicare Parts A and B do not cover vision, dental and hearing care. However, some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans offer extra benefits - like vision, hearing, or dental - and you should speak to an advisor and/or contact the plan for more information.

What does Medicare cover, and not cover?

Part A (hospital insurance) covers costs for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care. Part B (medical insurance) covers costs for things like doctor’s appointments, outpatient care, and many preventative services. Note that Medicare does not cover the full costs of these services. Copayments, coinsurance, and/or deductibles might apply. Parts A and B do NOT cover services such as dental, hearing and vision care, cosmetic surgery, routine physical exams, long-term care, and prescription drugs.

How much does Medicare cost me?

Do I have to pay for Spark’s services?

No! Everything we offer is completely free for you. Spark and our partner agents are paid commissions by insurance carriers for helping you enroll in the right plan and ensuring you continue to have the benefits you need over time. Our commission rates are regulated by the government to ensure no insurance carriers can pay us more to recommend their plans over others, and the majority of our income comes from renewal commissions dependent on our ability to keep your business over time. This means we’re always working to ensure you have the best coverage you need, always for free free to you!

How much does Medicare cost?

While Part A is premium-free for most people, there are costs associated with all parts of Medicare in the form of premiums (for Parts B, C, and D), deductibles, copayments, and co-insurance. Notably for Part B, Medicare begins to pay its share after you meet your deductible, and you usually pay 20% of the cost of the service. There’s no annual out-of-pocket limit. For this reason, many people consider enrolling in supplemental insurance (also known as Medigap) or a Medicare Advantage plan.