Sunday, January 20th, 2019

S Shopper Stories


Educating Baby Boomers on Medicare insurance options

by Allison T. Williams

Greg and Kitty Broermann are dedicated to helping others <BR>find the best Medicare options available.

Greg and Kitty Broermann are dedicated to helping others
find the best Medicare options available.

When heading out to retrieve their mail, it is common for those on the cusp of turning 65 to find their boxes overflowing with advertisements touting the many Medicare health insurance plans and products on the market. Worse yet, attempting to read and understand those advertisements is enough to send anyone’s head spinning.

“People feel overwhelmed and confused by all of options,” Greg Broermann concedes. “Medicare is very different than traditional medical insurance. Trying to figure out what coverage is right for you can be complicated.”

Greg understands that of which he speaks. After a 26-year career selling insurance for larger companies, he opened Coastal Benefits Group, Inc. in 2010—a firm specializing in Medicare and health plans for individuals and small groups.

“A lot of people on Medicare don’t even realized they have choices.
There are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there.
We try to help people sort through all the confusion.”

—Greg Broermann

“When you work for someone else, you are focused on meeting their sales goals,” Greg says, seated in his Chesapeake-based home office. “But when you head your own company, you can tailor your business to meet your clients’ needs.”

Greg sits next to his wife, Kitty, a former neonatal nurse who spent most of her career at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. Upon retiring, she became a licensed insurance agent in 2013, and now works with her husband.

“We try to educate people on how to make the right choices for their personal medical needs,” Kitty says. “We want them to make planned, informed decisions through education.”

“A lot of people on Medicare don’t even realized they have choices,” Greg adds. “There are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there. We try to help people sort through all the confusion.”

Education for prospective clients—or anyone nearing age 65—is one of Coastal’s primary missions, according to Kitty Broermann. The couple offers free presentations to community, church and business groups, sharing basic information about Medicare and various coverage options.

Greg says his best advice for people confused by Medicare, supplemental insurance and prescription plans is to seek help from a trusted professional. “Don’t choose a particular insurance company just because your parents used them and don’t rely on your well-meaning friend’s advice,” he warns.

“Expertise matters when it comes to your health,” Kitty says. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t think you will be pressured if you call us.”

 “It’s important to go to a licensed agent, someone who keeps up with the ever-changing environment of health insurance regulations,” Greg stresses. “It’s good to have someone you can call for a non-biased, state-specific input.”

Unlike many larger companies, Coastal Benefits gives clients the peace of mind that comes with having a local office. Greg and Kitty run the firm from their Chesapeake home. With no other employees, they personally answer all client calls.

“Some people really appreciate a local presence,” Greg says.

The cost of the insurance premiums to the consumer is the same, whether Coastal Benefits writes the policy or whether the individual takes out a plan with the healthcare company themselves. The insurance company pays Coastal Benefits a commission if they write the policy. “The benefit is that if that we write the policy, the client can come to us if there is something they don’t understand,” Greg explains. ”We would then call the insurer on their behalf. If we didn’t write the policy, we can’t do that because of law protecting patient privacy.”

The couple meets one-on-one with prospective clients wherever is most convenient and comfortable for the clients—usually in their homes or offices.

That easy accessibility is one thing clients Kathleen and Donald Lesko of Chesapeake appreciate most about Coastal Benefits.

“Expertise matters when it comes to your health.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

—Kitty Broermann

“I tell Greg to see what’s best for us every year,” Kathleen says. “He and Kitty are so approachable. If you have questions or concerns, it’s never an inconvenience to call—and I appreciate that when you do call, you actually talk to one of them.”

As someone who always had health coverage through her employers, Joyce Smith, Membership Director at the Retail Alliance, says she was flabbergasted by the options and decisions that she suddenly faced when she turned 65.

“I’ve never had to pick out my own insurance,” Joyce confesses. “I didn’t know it would be so overwhelming. But Kitty and Greg held my hand and explained every step to me in detail so I understood everything that was going on.  When my policy arrived and I read the fine print, I had a few  questions. All I had to do was pick up the phone and call Greg. He answered my every question.”

Greg, 66, and Kitty, 65, learned firsthand the importance of having a quality Medicare and supplement insurance plan last year when Kitty was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram.

“I was stunned by the initial diagnosis—and scared,” Kitty admits. “The treatment process was an emotional roller coaster.”

“Because of our coverage, we could concentrate on  treating her disease,” Greg adds. “All we had  to do was pay the insurance premiums. We didn’t have to worry about the bills.”

Kitty had surgery, finished chemotherapy and radiation, and will continue to receive drug infusions every three weeks until May. Thankfully, her most recent mammogram revealed that she is now cancer-free.

With that positive diagnosis, Kitty and Greg now hope to more spend more time traveling and visiting their seven grandsons in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “We love to baby-sit,” Kitty says, proudly pointing to a nearby  framed photo of their oldest son’s family.

Living through the ordeal has only intensified the couple’s desire to help others—something that has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated by their clients.

“Greg and Kitty were determined to help me find the coverage that was right for my situation,” Joyce testifies. “From the very start, I knew that they were genuinely concerned about me.”

Coastal Benefits Group