Five Tips For Buying Medicare Supplement Insurance

Five Tips For Buying Medicare Supplement Insurance

When you turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare, you’ll need to make another important decision.

You may want to choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. About one-third of Medicare enrollees choose an MA plan. In some states like California, they are readily available. However, in other states, there are few MA options.

One of the other more popular options is a Medicare Supplement plan. These are sometimes referred to as Medigap plans and we will use these two terms interchangeably. About 15 million Americans currently have a Medigap plan which offers complete freedom to see any medical professional who accepts Medicare.

We’ll focus on several important facts about Medigap insurance that can help you get the best coverage for the best cost. In fact, the information shared may help you save significant money. That’s always good.

But saving money today is not the only reason to read the tips shared here. They can also save you heartache in the future. That’s because when you choose a Medigap plan option now, it might be an irrevocable choice limiting your future.

TIP #1: Don’t Overpay. Why Pay Double For The Same Plan?

Prices for Medigap insurance vary significantly. Rates are generally established by county and it’s common to find one company charging twice as much as another.

According to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance’s 2020 Medicare Insurance Price Index, a 65-year old Chicago woman could pay as little as $92 a month or as much as $234 monthly for identical coverage. The Price Index reports the lowest and highest prices for Medigap Plan G for some 100 cities across the country.

No one company always offered the lowest cost. And, no single company was consistently the most expensive according to the Price Index. In fact, in some cases, the company that had the lowest cost for men did not have the lowest cost for women. Frustrating? Not really, it just means asking the ‘right’ questions.

TIP #2: Shop For Rate Stability

Insurers can and do raise rates. A policy appearing to be cheap today can be costly tomorrow.

Some insurance companies are new to the Medigap business and may not have real experience on which to base their rates. Others may offer lower premiums as a way to get more initial sales.

This sometimes causes above-average rate increases in future years. For that reason, you’ll want to compare both current costs as well as price stability.

TIP #3: Discounts Can Add Up

Today, many Medigap insurance carriers offer spousal and/or household discounts. Not all do. However the discounts can range from five to as much as 14 percent. The savings can add up to hundreds of dollars a year. And since you are likely to live another 10 or 20 years, you are talking about real money – so don’t pass this up.

TIP #4: Benefit From Savings and Points

Some insurers will give you a discount when you set up automatic payments. Some will offer discounts when you pay annually. Some will let you charge the payments to a credit card. You can see where we are headed.

Let’s say your monthly Medicare Supplement insurance premium is $300. Starting at age 65 and paying for 20 years that equates to $72,000 in premium. If you are married, double that. A credit card that offers a two percent rebate means you’ll save nearly $3,000. If your credit card awards airline points, you will have earned some nice credits.

Tip #5: The Easy Way To Comparison Shop

You sometimes hear the saying, that if you act as your own lawyer or doctor then you have a fool for a client. Choosing the right Medicare plan can be confusing.

There’s nothing wrong with calling any of the dozens of 800-numbers competing for your attention and business. But, often they may represent only one company or have a particular preference.

For that reason, it generally pays to compare your choices and recommendations by seeking out a local Medicare Insurance agent. Some will only focus on Medicare Supplement but today many offer comprehensive options including Medicare Advantage.

It’s nice to have an unbiased agent in your back-pocket when you have questions. A national directory of Medicare insurance agents lists some 1,000 specialists by Zip Code. Access is available free and, perhaps best of all, is completely private. You get to see their information without having to enter any information.

A great resource for the latest information is the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance’s website. That’s where you’ll find the insurance-prices-2020/”>2020 Medicare Insurance Price Index and well access to the agent directory.

 

Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program in the United States that provides coverage for people who are 65 years or older, younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Medicare was established in 1965, and it currently covers more than 62 million Americans.

There are several parts to Medicare, each providing different types of coverage:

  1. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance): Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health care.
  2. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance): Part B covers doctor services, outpatient care, preventive services, and medical equipment.
  3. Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage): Part C is an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and is offered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans may include additional benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage.
  4. Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage): Part D covers prescription drugs and is offered by private insurance companies.

To be eligible for Medicare, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident who has lived in the U.S. for at least five years. You must also be 65 years or older, have a qualifying disability, or have end-stage renal disease.

Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and B when they turn 65 if they are already receiving Social Security benefits. If you are not receiving Social Security benefits, you must enroll during your initial enrollment period, which begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after.

Medicare is funded by taxes, premiums, and government funding. Part A is funded by payroll taxes, while Parts B, C, and D are funded by a combination of premiums, general revenue, and beneficiary contributions.

While Medicare provides comprehensive coverage, it does not cover all healthcare expenses. There may be out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Some people choose to purchase additional insurance, such as a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy, to help cover these costs.

In summary, Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage for people who are 65 years or older, younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease.

Medicare has several parts that cover different types of healthcare services, and there may be out-of-pocket costs associated with the coverage. Understanding the different parts of Medicare and your eligibility for coverage can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare.

 

Medicare Supplement Insurance

Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, is a type of private insurance policy designed to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare. These policies are sold by private insurance companies and are intended to supplement the coverage provided by Original Medicare (Parts A and B).

Medicare Supplement Insurance policies are standardized by the federal government, which means that every policy must offer the same basic benefits. However, the cost of these policies may vary depending on the insurance company, the state you live in, and other factors.

There are ten different standardized Medigap plans, labeled A through N. Each plan covers a different set of benefits, but all plans cover at least some of the following:

  1. Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  2. Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
  3. Blood (first three pints)
  4. Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  5. Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
  6. Part A deductible
  7. Part B deductible
  8. Part B excess charges
  9. Foreign travel emergency coverage

It’s important to note that Medigap policies do not provide prescription drug coverage. To get prescription drug coverage, you must enroll in a Medicare Part D plan.

To be eligible for a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. You must also be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident of the U.S.

It’s important to enroll in a Medigap policy during your open enrollment period, which is the six-month period that starts the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this time, insurance companies cannot deny you coverage or charge you more for pre-existing conditions.

If you miss your open enrollment period, you may still be able to purchase a Medigap policy, but insurance companies may be able to deny you coverage or charge you more for pre-existing conditions.

In summary, Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap, is a type of private insurance policy designed to supplement the coverage provided by Original Medicare.

Medigap policies are standardized by the federal government and cover some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare. It’s important to enroll during your open enrollment period to avoid being denied coverage or charged more for pre-existing conditions.

 

Supplement Insurance

Supplement Insurance, also known as supplemental health insurance, is a type of insurance policy that provides additional coverage to an individual’s primary health insurance. It is designed to help fill gaps in coverage and pay for costs that primary health insurance may not cover, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

Supplemental health insurance policies are typically sold by private insurance companies and can be purchased by individuals, families, and even employers. There are different types of supplemental health insurance policies available, including critical illness insurance, accident insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance.

Critical illness insurance provides a lump-sum payment in the event that the insured is diagnosed with a critical illness such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke. The payment can be used to cover medical expenses, living expenses, or other costs associated with the illness.

Accident insurance provides coverage for medical expenses and lost income in the event of an accident. This type of policy may cover expenses such as emergency room visits, hospital stays, and surgery.

Dental insurance provides coverage for routine dental care, such as cleanings and X-rays, as well as more extensive procedures such as fillings, root canals, and crowns.

Vision insurance provides coverage for routine eye care, such as eye exams, glasses, and contact lenses.

Supplemental health insurance policies can be a valuable addition to an individual’s primary health insurance coverage, but it’s important to carefully review the policy and understand what it covers and what it doesn’t. Some policies may have exclusions or limitations, and others may require that you use certain providers or facilities.

It’s also important to consider the cost of the supplemental policy and whether the benefits provided are worth the additional cost. Some policies may be more expensive than others, and some may provide more comprehensive coverage than others.

In summary, Supplement Insurance, also known as supplemental health insurance, is a type of insurance policy that provides additional coverage to an individual’s primary health insurance. There are different types of supplemental health insurance policies available, including critical illness insurance, accident insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance. It’s important to carefully review the policy and understand what it covers and what it doesn’t, as well as the cost of the policy and whether the benefits provided are worth the additional cost.

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