The 3 Best Articles You Can
Read Before Choosing a Medicare Supplement
We have carefully selected what we feel are the 3 best articles to guide your decision on Medicare supplement plans. These are often topics that will not be discussed with a typical insurance carrier as it could lead to them losing the sale. For instance, if a rep told you they had an average rate increase of 5%, you’d likely not go with that carrier. At Medicare Nationwide, we strive for unbiased information on Medicare plans and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision when choosing among Medicare supplemental plans.
3 Most Important Factors in Choosing a Medigap
These 3 factors should be the driving force behind your Medicare supplement decision.
Issue Age vs Attained Age vs Community Age Rating
The state in which you live has a major impact on your Medicare supplement. Find out how your state rates.
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We provide free, unbiased Medicare advice in all 50 states.
Why is a Medicare Supplement Necessary?
Medicare supplement plans are a beautiful product. Because of Medicare, millions of senior Americans have access to health insurance for their medical needs. But there are gaps in coverage. If you had traditional health coverage before turning 65 you might be in for a shock.
The amount of money you will save going to Medicare is tremendous. But it is not exactly like traditional health insurance. The coverage is substantial, but a lot is missing that could impact your wallet with unexpected expenses.
The burden of these coverage gaps is the primary reason we are passionate about Medicare supplement products. It’s an affordable way for Medicare-eligible people to bridge the gaps between what Medicare offers and what you need.
As we enter our senior years, medical care becomes a critical concern. It also becomes much more expensive. There’s no time in your life where you need to be fully covered than when you enter retirement age.
We all value our health and value quality of life. You want the best available healthcare you can get within your financial budget. Medicare supplement products are the way to do that.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy details that the need for supplement products is critical for most people.
“Individuals in traditional Medicare may want to obtain Medicare Supplement (“Medigap”) insurance because Medicare often covers less than the total cost of the beneficiary’s health care.” (1)
Here Are Some of the Gaps Traditional Medicare Will Not Cover:
- Routine Dental Care
- Visions costs such as eyeglasses
- Hearing Aid
- Custodial Care
Those are significant but the biggest gaps are the out-of-pocket expenses you can incur. Medicare’s premiums, deductibles, and cost-sharing requirements make paying for services a financial challenge.
There are no limits on your out-of-pocket spending for services covered under basic coverage for Parts A & B.
Gaps in Hospitalization Coverage
Bob is covered by traditional Medicare, but doesn’t own a supplement product. One day, he is working in his yard and feels severe chest pain. He stops his gardening, alerts his wife, and puts him into the car and heads to the hospital.
Bob is having a heart attack and must be admitted to the hospital. Medicare saved his life by offering coverage for the hospitalization. But here’s what Bob doesn’t know. He will have to pay the $2,490 of expenses.
If the hospitalization is extended for more than 60 days, he will have to pay a portion each day in the hospital. Costs increase the longer he stays in the hospital.
Gaps in Coverage for Regular Doctor Visits
Phyllis has regular doctor visits to manage her diabetes. Under Medicare, her Part B deductible is $217. Then she pays 20% of the Medicare-approved amount.
That doesn’t sound too bad. What if her medical expenses total $100,000. That’s not outrageous considering current medical costs. She is going to receive a bill for $20,000.
There’s no limit on the amount of those expenses.
A Medicare Supplement can protect you from the expenses.
What is a Medicare Supplement Plan?
A Medicare supplement plan is designed to pick up those extra expenses that Medicare will not cover. The government has standardized supplemental plans. The government mandates the coverage details of supplemental insurance plans. Each plan is designated by a letter code such as Plan A, B, C, F, G, etc.
Plan A is the most basic supplement you can purchase. All other plans build off of Plan A. Plan A is an uncommon plan to purchase.
The two most comprehensive plans available are Medicare Supplement Plan F & Medicare Supplement Plan G. The Plan N is also comprehensive and widely popular.
Here is a Medicare Supplement plans comparison chart that shows what each plan offers and how they fill the Medicare gap:
Here is a Medicare Supplement Plans Comparison Chart
For detailed explanations of each plan, see our comprehensive article on Medicare Supplement Plan Comparison.
Keep Your Eye on the Age 65 Window
The best time to purchase Medicare supplements is during the open enrollment period.
This is a 6 month period that begins on the month of your 65th birthday and extends 5 more months. During that period, the government has guaranteed you the right to purchase any Medicare supplemental insurance plan available in your state.
Your health status does not matter during the enrollment window. Insurance companies ignore pre-existing conditions during this time as long as you don’t have terminal end-stage renal disease.
What if you don’t enroll during the enrollment window?
You can purchase later, but you could be denied coverage because of health issues. You will also be subject to higher premiums based on your health.
It is critical to purchase Medigap plans during this window because of Medicare enrollment penalties. You can change later, but you never get the same deal you will receive during that enrollment period.
Check here for a comparison of Medicare vs private health insurance.
How Do I Pick the Best Company for a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Budget is a critical consideration when picking the best Medicare Supplement plan, and deciding on what company to choose can be daunting. Even though supplement insurance coverages will be the same among insurance carriers, your pricing, extra benefits, and interaction with the company can vary.
Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Company for Supplements
- Financial Stability
How stable is the insurance company? What are their ratings? Do they have the money to pay and service claims adequately?
Longevity may not always matter, but if someone has been successful in the Medicare and health insurance field for years, this is a good indicator they will be good for you.
- Customer Service Ratings
How easy is the company to do business with? What do customers say about them? What is their complaint ratio? It is easy to file claims, pay bills, and get information about your coverage?
- Extra Benefits
The government mandates all basic coverages, but some companies have unique added-value services. What are those extras? Do they give free gym memberships? Do they provide wellness discounts?
And, of course, pricing matters. This can vary widely by location and company. It would help if you shopped between many different companies to ensure you get the best value for what you need.
How Does Medicare Nationwide Help You?
You might feel stressed and confused doing the research needed to find the best company for your Medicare supplement product. There are thousands of companies in plans in the United States, and these can vary from state to state. Even the ZIP code where you live may change the pricing and availability of plans.
Underwriting guidelines change continually. Companies change Focus and get bought and sold.
The research can be overwhelming.
Here’s how we can help. We have spent years in the Medicare supplement industry. We have access to thousands of companies in plans throughout the country. We can sort through all the carriers and the benefits they offer then give you recommendations based on our experience with thousands of customers over the years.
The recommendations we provide are backed by years of research and comparisons between plans and companies available to you.
Don’t waste hours sifting through internet data to find the best plan. Let us present the shopping comparison for you.
Use our quick quote feature to find what is available to you and your area. Then let one of our experts discuss the best options among the many choices you have.
Which Medicare supplement plan is best?
This depends on what you need and what your current budget is. Sometimes the most expensive plan may not be the best value for you. We’ve also seen where higher-priced plans have saved customers significant amounts of money they would have spent throughout the year.
What is the most popular Medicare supplement plan?
Currently, Plan F is the most popular policy. It offers the most comprehensive coverage plan.
When can you change Medicare supplement plans?
Anytime. If you are not happy with the current company you have or the rates you are paying, it may be time to shop. We often find customers better value than what they currently have.
How do I know if I am eligible for Medicare Supplement Insurance?
Are you 65 or older? Are you enrolled in Medicare Part A & B? If so, then you are eligible for a Medicare Supplement product.
Can I keep my doctor?
Yes. If your doctor or healthcare facility accepts Medicare, they will also accept Medicare Supplement plans.
What is the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) that went into effect January 1, 2020?
This means newly eligible enrollees cannot buy Plan C, F or F High Deductible after January 1, 2020. Please visit this website for more information on MACRA: https://content.naic.org/article/notice_macra_goes_effect_january_1_2020.htm
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