The odds are you have gotten an unsolicited call in which the calling party is trying to sell you a vacation package, an extended warranty for your vehicle, or – if you’re close to turning 65 or already past that age – help you with your Medicare situation. It is not limited to a certain time each year, but it likely picks up during the period that runs from October to December. You simply cannot go a day without receiving one of these calls. There are a few reasons which might seem obvious, but we will discuss them and give you some tactics on how to combat these calls.
The reality is the person calling you is likely in the business of actually wanting to help you with your Medicare situation. If you have not reviewed your plan in a number of years, you can likely save money on your existing plan and keep the same benefits. Or you might be able to make a change to a different plan that better fits your needs – whether it is a different Medicare Supplement (Medigap) or a Medicare Advantage plan. Oftentimes, a person obtains a plan when turning 65 and then never revisits it. Premiums go up and/or new plans become available, but the person doesn’t review it annually to make sure she’s covered appropriately. And even if there are benefits to be gained by looking into your insurance situation, you may be hesitant to share any information with an unknown person over the phone. This doubt is, unfortunately, warranted due to all of the fraudulent schemes that some unsavory individuals use to take advantage of people. Guarding yourself and your information is commendable and absolutely necessary, but you may be missing out on opportunities to improve your circumstances.
The method the marketer is using – cold calling a list of people that meet certain criteria (age, location, income levels) – is cheaper than other advertising methods. But it is simply that – a method to get in front of prospective clients. Many agents use dialing systems that call multiple numbers at one time to increase their odds of connecting with a person. You can often tell this is the case when there is a slight pause when you pick up the phone. Agents use “appointment setters” to work through the mountain of “no’s” to make better use of their time. Transacting business over the phone is not necessarily a bad thing, as it makes great use of your time. We are especially accustomed to it after the pandemic when we were forced to utilize technology to continue our lives. So the salesperson is most likely acting in good faith. They want to help you, but it might seem like a nuisance to you.
If you have grown weary of the onslaught of calls, there are several steps you can take to try and minimize the occurrence:
- If you’re using a mobile device, speak to your provider about their ability to screen calls. Recent improvements to technology allow for your plan to screen where a call comes from and how it is made. This might lessen the number of calls you receive.
- Use caller ID to screen calls. You likely already do this, but you can simply ignore calls from numbers you do not know. If you do this, make sure you set up your voicemail and clear old messages so it does not become full. The person can leave you a voicemail that you can then review to determine if a call-back is warranted. Most marketers will not leave a voicemail while your friend or neighbor will!
- If you end up speaking to someone on the phone who is trying to provide you with information or solicit business from you, you can simply hang up. Listen for that pause as an indicator of what type of call it is. From a human standpoint, remember that the caller on the other end of the line is a person. They have feelings, hopes, problems, and dreams too. They are likely trying to help you – even if you have not solicited their advice. So try to be kind, and simply end the call.
- If you are on the federal Do Not Call list, the person calling has either called you by mistake or is ignoring that mandate. You can report the number to the registry, but the odds are the caller will simply change the number to try to avoid any ramifications. You would probably be more successful in trying to screen the calls or set up a system to block unsolicited calls.
- The easiest route to take when you speak to someone is to tell them you have an agent who reviews your policies annually and you are well taken care of, and then hang up. Hopefully, that is an accurate statement, but if it isn’t then it’s time to find an agent that can provide you with that service. It’s never been easier to obtain information on the internet and navigate options on your own, but having a professional in your corner as an advocate is always helpful. Find someone you trust who provides you with value and let them take care of your health insurance options.
Receiving unsolicited calls is not going away anytime soon even with the advancements in technology. Marketers will continue to reach out to offer their services – and they very well could have a great product to share with you! It’s up to you to try to reduce your exposure by following some of the steps outlined above so you can avoid receiving calls you don’t want.
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