Posted on April 12, 2015 at 9:46 pm.
How will you choose the Best Medicare Supplement Plan?
Original Medicare does not cover the allowable Medicare expenses fully, leaving a lot of them as your responsibility. Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap Plans) seem to be the only real way to cover those gaps. Medigap plans provide protection against future (catastrophic) losses for Original Medicare out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, copayments/ coinsurances, and excess charges. To select the Best Medicare Supplement Plan, follow the steps below:
- Learn how to compare Medicare Supplement Plans
- Learn about Medigap regulations in your state
- Select the Best Medicare Supplement Plan from the most suitable vendor.. The choice will be based on the first two steps and insurance company checking list.
I. How to Select the Best Medicare Supplement Plan: Comparison of Medicare Supplement Plans
The first step is to understand the Standardized Medigap Plans: their benefits, and in depth understanding about the strengths and weeknesses of every plan. This is complex subject by itself. Read our recent post How to Compare Medicare Supplement Plans .
II. How to Select the Best Medicare Supplement Plan: State Regulations
Medicare Supplement Plans are sold by private insurance companies licensed in a particular state. Most Medigap rules and regulations are common to all states and defined through the Standardized Medicare Supplement Plans . (The exception states are Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Typically, Medigap premiums are determined by the following factors:
- Zip code (and sometimes a county within the zip code)
- Whether or not you are a tobacco user.
Rates are usually higher in urban areas and lower in rural areas. For most Medigap insurance companies, female rates are 10-15% lower than male rates.
In addition, each state has its own state-specific rules:
- The Federal Government has no requirements that would force Medigap carriers to sell Medicare policies to people under the age of 65 (Medicare due to disability). However, the state may have its own requirements that allow people under 65 to get Medicare Supplement. These requirements typically include:
- Plans that are available for people enrolling during the Medigap Open Enrollment
- Plans that are available for people entitled to Guaranteed Issue Rights
- In some states, the law prohibits Medicare providers to charge more than what Medicare allows. This difference is known as Extra Charges. In states where Extra Charges are illegal, the less expensive Medicare Supplement Plans that do not include Extra Charges (Medigap Plan
C and Medigap Plan D ) are identical to the more expensive plans that include Extra Charges (Medigap Plan F and Medigap Plan G ).
- Most states permit a household discount to be applied to Medigap policies, and several Medicare Supplement providers offer this discount. Most of them require for both members of the household to apply, but for some of them even single application is entitled to the household discount, as long as the applicant is a part of the household.
- In addition to the standard Guaranteed Issue Rights, some states have additional special Guaranteed Issue periods, such as 30-day birthday period. In those states, there is no medical underwriting if you are applying during such periods.
III. How to Select the Best Medicare Supplement Plan: Vendors
To select the insurance company offering the Best Medicare Supplement Plan, you should:
- Learn How to Compare Medicare Supplement Plans (Step 1)
- Learn the Medigap State Regulations in your State (Step 2)
- Learn about the company’s medical underwriting procedure. If you are not within the Medigap Open Enrollment Period and do not have Guaranteed Issue Rights. check what your chances are to be approved by the insurance company for a Medigap policy.
- Find out the insurance company’s Rating Methods. Most of the carriers use an attained-age rating method .
- Confirm the Medigap premium for your age and location. Take into account company’s household discount, Extra Charges and Under the Age of 65 state regulations, etc.
- Find the premium rate increase history (if available).
- Check the insurance company’s record of complaints.
- Check the insurance company’s financial stability rating (AM Rate ).
- Find whether the insurance carrier adds extra benefits outside of the standard benefits, such as the Silver Sneakers health program and Vision Plan discount .
All Medigap plans are standardized, i.e. any particular Medigap Plan is identical from one company to another in terms of benefits, claim processing, claim decisions and doctor’s network. The major difference is the premium – it may be quite different from carrier to carrier.
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If you are looking for Medicare Supplement coverage, please contact Liberty Medicare. or give us a call at 877-657-7477 .