Do Medicare Supplements Offer a Family Discount?

Many times, I get the question about whether Medicare Supplements offer a family discount or whether a husband and a wife can sign up for a joint Medicare Supplement policy. While all Medicare Supplements are separate policies, many companies do offer a husband-wife discount. This discount can provide a significant savings, when you take out a policy with the same company. So whenever possible, it is recommended that you do so.

Often times, there are several companies around the same price for a standardized Medicare supplement plan. Coverage is the same; however, rates can vary considerably. By choosing the company that offers the husband-wife discount, you can reduce your premiums and ensure that you have the lowest possible price for a plan.

Obtaining the Medicare supplement family discount is easy to do. With most companies you can get it whether you apply at the same time or not. Sometimes, if one spouse is on Medicare and the other is not yet age 65, you should consider which companies may offer a discount that will help you later, when you are comparing and selecting plans.

Some of the prominent companies that do offer a husband-wife discount are Mutual of Omaha, Aetna, CIGNA, and AARP / United Healthcare. All of these companies offer a discount on their standardized Medigap plans that allows you to reduce the premium cost of your plans. The amount of the discount varies, but it can be anywhere from 5% to 12%. It also dependent on your state.

One of the new, exciting things with the household discounts in Medicare Supplements is that you do not have to BOTH be on Medicare with some of the companies. Some of the companies now offer the discount just for being married or living with someone over age 60.

When you are comparing Medicare Supplement plans, you should always get a Medicare Supplement quote from a reputable independent agency. They can give you an idea of all the plans that are available for your age and zip code, as well as what the rates for those particular plans are. From that comparison, you can easily determine which option is going to make the most sense for you, since plans are Federally-standardized (coverage is the same from one company to another).

Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com is a leading, independent brokerage, and we can help provide the Medicare Supplement comparison that you are seeking by email. To obtain this, simply visit Medicare Supplement quotes.

How to Compare Medigap Plans

Comparing Medigap plans is an essential part of choosing the “right” plan for you. It can certainly seem like a daunting task, but it is not nearly as difficult as you may think. First and foremost, plans are standardized, so comparing them is based on other factors, besides differences in coverage. This greatly eliminates confusion that could exist if comparing multiple variables, such as coverage, price, company rating etc. So, how do the plans vary?

  1. First of all, the plans can vary greatly in price. Although coverage is the same (i.e. one Plan F is the same as another), prices can be as much as double with one company versus another.
  2. Secondly, plans can vary based on company reputation/rating. AM Best is an independent rating source of the companies. They are universally used to get an idea of a company’s financial strength/stability. Although this isn’t a guarantee of future solvency or stability, it can at least be a factor in your comparison.

So, with the knowledge of how the plans vary, how can you compare the options?

  1. First, decide on which plan you want. If you are not familiar with the different coverage plans, you can view the standardized coverage chart here: STANDARDIZED PLAN COVERAGE CHART. Plan F is the most comprehensive plan option (and most expensive) – it pays for everything that Medicare doesn’t cover at the doctor/hospital.
  2. Once you know which plan you want, you can very easily compare the plans based 0n price and company rating. Since coverage, claim payments, doctor acceptance, etc are standardized, the next step is obtaining a list of the plans available for your age and zip code. At that point, you can compare their prices and ratings.
  3. To obtain this list of available plans and the quotes for your age/gender/zip code, you have two options. You can either call every insurance company that does business in your state and ask them for the quotes or set up meetings with them to obtain the quotes. Alternatively, and significantly easier, you can simply use a brokerage to compare all options in a centralized place. By doing so, you can get quotes for all plan options and make an informed, unbiased choice. Whether it is a MSC.com or another brokerage, this is the easiest and most useful to compare Medicare Supplement plans.

To get a Medicare Supplement comparison from us, you can call us at 877.506.3378 or contact us on our website at Medicare Supplement comparison.

Genworth, Owned by Aetna, Upgraded by A.M. Best

Genworth, parent company of American Continental and Continental Life, is now owned by one of the largest insurance companies in the country, Aetna. Recently, on the offshoot of the recent purchase by Aetna of Genworth, A.M. Best upgraded Genworth’s Medicare Supplement companies (American Continental and Continental Life) to an ‘A’ rating. They were previously an ‘A-‘.

A.M. Best is the independent rating service that rates the financial strength of insurance companies. Ratings are based on financial strength and stability and in no way reflect any input from consumers or reflect claim payment information, etc. However, since Medicare Supplement plans are completely standardized by the Federal Government, claims from all companies are paid through the Medicare “crossover” system. So there is no variation from one company to the other, as far as how fast or when they pay claims.

Genworth’s Medicare Supplement companies were a great choice for Medicare Supplement insurance before the recent upgrade; however, after the upgrade, they are an even more attractive choice.

American Continental and Continental Life are competitively priced in many states, including Arizona, Iowa, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Montana and many more.

To get Medicare supplement information or to get a Medicare Supplement comparison, please visit us online or call us at 877.506.3378.

Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com is a leading, independent brokerage for Medicare Supplement insurance.

Medicare Supplements – Make Changes Now to Save in 2012

Medicare Supplements are plans that fill in the “gaps” in Medicare. These plans, contrary to popular misconception, do NOT have an annual enrollment period. On the contrary, you can enroll or disenroll in these plans at any time of the year. There are, however, some general health questions, so you must have relatively good health to get a Medicare Supplement. But you do not have a deadline for making changes.

What this means is that, although the Medicare annual enrollment period for Part D Rx plans is over, as of 12/7/11,  you can still make changes to your supplement plan to save money for next year. If you are in a Plan F, you may want to consider changing to Plan G, which is generally a more financially advantageous plan. Or, you can change to a different company completely. If you have had the same plan for more than 12-18 months, it is almost certain you are paying more than market value for your Medigap plan. Just like any kind of insurance, rates change very frequently with Medicare Supplement plans. So it is to your advantage to re-evaluate on a bi-annual basis.

In many cases, making a simple change in company, while keeping the same coverage level (all Plan F’s, for example, are the exact same), will allow you to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on your supplement coverage each year.

Many people just simply do not realize that you can change plans; because of that, many people end up paying more each year to one of the higher-priced companies. The premiums for Medicare supplement companies/plans can vary greatly, as much as $150/month for the exact same coverage.  It is always most advantageous to be in the lowest-priced company for the plan that you want. With Medigap plans, coverage, claim payments, doctor acceptance, and everything else is exactly the same from one company to another.

To get more information about the plan options or to get an unbiased Medicare Supplement comparison of the plans available for your age and zip code, please visit our website at the link above or call us at 877.506.3378.

Medicare Supplement Plan G – Looking Better and Better for 2012

Medicare Supplement Plan G is the less-talked-about cousin of Plan F. While ‘F’ gets all the glory and the “it covers everything that Medicare doesn’t” talk, ‘G’ is often overlooked. This pertains to consumers and even the companies themselves, many of which do not offer it. Even some of the largest Medicare Supplement companies in the country have chosen to omit ‘G’ from their plan offerings (including AARP/United Healthcare and Anthem BCBS in many states). Plan F is certainly the most convenient for the companies to explain (pays all deductible and co-pays – end of story) and consumer (don’t have any out of pocket costs for Medicare-covered costs at doctor/hospital); however, is it most convenient for your pocketbook?

The answer to that question comes in two parts – the now and the later. First of all, let’s deal with the “now”. For 2012, Medicare has reduced the Medicare Part B deductible from $162 to $140/year. Not much in insurance goes down, but this has! Politically-motivated or not, this is a “win” for people who have ‘G’, as their annual out of pocket costs have been reduced from $162/year to $140/year. You see, the only plan difference between ‘F’ and ‘G’ is the coverage of that Part B deductible. Now that it is $140/year, we can easily do the math and see that benefit is worth $11.67/month in premiums ($140 divided by 12 months). With that in mind, we can set ourselves to comparing ‘F’ and ‘G’ premiums. Now in nearly all cases, savings on Plan G are equal to or greater than $15/month. The average premium difference I see is around $20. Taking that example, you would save $240/year in exchange for paying $140/year. That’s $100 more than you had before you came to my website!

The 2nd implication in the ‘G’ vs. ‘F’ debate is called adverse selection. Now this is an insurance term that most people may not know. The short of it is that, on average, the people on ‘F’ are less healthy than the people on ‘G’. The reason for this is that ‘F’ is offered in several significant ‘guaranteed issue’ situations (no health questions asked) whereas ‘G’ is not. So say, for example, you’re losing your employer coverage 12/31/11 and you know you have a triple bypass scheduled for January 15, 2012. You can get a Medicare Supplement Plan F under ‘guaranteed issue’ due to losing the employer coverage, but you cannot get a Plan ‘G’. Over thousands and thousands of insureds, this leads to greater increases or more frequent increases on ‘F’ than on ‘G’.

Even after I explain these two facts – and they are facts, not opinions – many people say they prefer Plan F. And, that’s certainly okay. But the key is knowing the facts, not taking Plan F because your aunt who’s a nurse said to or because the commercial during the nightly news talked about it. If you want more information on these plans, what they cost or how they work, call us at 877.506.3378 or visit our website to request information at Medicare Supplement Quotes.

When Is the Medicare Supplement Annual Enrollment Period? (Trick Question)

Many people mistakenly believe that the Medicare Supplement plans have an annual open enrollment period that occurs at the end of the year. However, this is not the case. The end of year open enrollment period actually only applies to the Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans (the plans that replace Medicare).

Medicare Supplement plans actually do NOT have any sort of annual enrollment period. On the contrary, you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan at any time of the year. They do employ medical underwriting on the application (regardless of the time of year!), and applications are either approved or declined based on your answers to the health questions in most situations. However, you can change at any time of the year, as long as you are in relatively good health.

Another common misconception about Medicare supplement plans is that they are the same as Medicare Advantage plans. However, this could not be further from the truth. Obviously, as we’ve discussed above, the two types of plans have different enrollment rules (as far as time of year you can enroll). Additionally, when you enroll in, or change, your Medicare Supplement plan, you do have to qualify medically (answer medical questions on the application), regardless of the time of year. With Medicare Advantage, however, you can only change a certain time of the year (annual enrollment period) and there are no medical questions. This is especially important to someone turning 65 to consider, particularly if you have some pre-existing conditions. If you take an Advantage plan when you first go on Medicare at age 65, you may not be eligible for an actual Medicare Supplement later.

The misconception about the Medicare Supplement plans having an annual enrollment period is fueled by several factors. First of all, I believe that the heavy advertising (television, direct mail, etc) that AARP, Humana and others do this time of year can be misleading. Also, some of those companies (incorrectly) imply that their plans are Medicare Supplements, when they are actually Medicare Advantage plans. Also, this is the time of the year that you change your Part D prescription plan, so many people end up doing both at once (Part D and Medicare Supplement).

Regardless of the misconception, it is important to understand how Medicare Supplements work, as well as understanding the differences between actual supplements and the Medicare replacement plans like Medicare Advantage. To get quotes on Medicare Supplement plans, as well as more information about what they cover, you can contact us at 877.506.3378 or on our website at Medigap insurance quotes.

Best Medicare Supplements – What Are the Best Options for Your Age and Zip Code?

The best Medicare Supplement plans are easy to find. Keep in mind that, with Medicare Supplement insurance, plans are standardized, so the “best” plans are the ones that are the least expensive.

The easiest way to find these least expensive plans is to do a medicare supplement comparison. This will show you exactly which plans are competitively-priced for your age and zip code. Many people attempt to include other factors in their comparison of the “best” Medicare Supplements; however, the fact remains that everything except price is equal.

Some things that do NOT help determine which is the best Medicare Supplement are:

  1. Which company “pays better”. The reality is that all companies pay the same. They each pay through the Medicare “crossover” system. This system dictates that all companies pay the same amount for a service/procedure and all pay in a timely manner.
  2. Which supplement is accepted by more doctors. Many people think that, just because they have heard of a company or plan, it means that a doctor is more likely to have heard of it also and thus more likely to accept it. However, with Medicare Supplements, as long as you have a standardized Medicare Supplement plan (i.e. G, F, N, etc.), your doctor/hospital must take the plan if they take Medicare.
  3. Which plan has the most coverage. Again, since plans are standardized, a Plan F with one company is the exact same as a Plan F with another company. So, one company simply does not have more coverage than another.
  4. Which plan has been in business the longest. This also is not a factor in how a company pays, what kind of coverage they offer, etc. With Medicare Supplements, these plans are Federally-standardized so there are not differences from one company to another.
  5. Which plan has the best television commercials. This is, obviously, not important in comparing plans. I just include this to say that you will get swamped with information about Medicare (TV, mail, phone, etc) if you are turning 65 or comparing plans. It is important that you have a good understanding of HOW to compare plans so that when you do compare, you can choose the best Medicare Supplement for you.

So in short, these things above just simply don’t matter. The only thing that matters when comparing Medicare Supplement plans to find the best Medicare Supplements for your age and zip code is price. Ultimately, your monthly premium is the only thing that differentiates one Medicare Supplement from another. If you want to get a rate quote chart that offers a Medicare supplement comparison of the plans available in your area, please contact us on our website or by calling 877.506.3378.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance – How to Compare

Comparing Medicare Supplemental insurance is an easy thing to do. The plans are Federally-standardized, and because of that, each company offers the exact same coverage for “like” plans. To put it simply, one Plan ‘F’ is the exact same as another Plan ‘F’. However, prices can vary a good bit, so it is important to compare prices to make sure that you have the best possible rate for the plan that you want.

If you are already on Medicare A & B with a supplemental insurance plan, you should follow the following steps to compare your plan and rates against other available options to make sure you are not “throwing away” money:

  1. First and foremost, you should do a Medicare supplemental insurance review each and every policy year. Some years this may take 30 seconds – sometimes, it may take a few days of thought (but can save you hundreds of dollars a year).
  2. The easiest way to do this is to use an independent brokerage agency. My agency, Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com, is happy to provide you with an unbiased Medicare Supplement quote, but even if we don’t, we urge you to get a comparison of plans in your area from another independent agent.
  3. Once you have this comparison, you can compare other companies to your current company for a “like” plan. For example, if you have a Plan F now, you can easily compare other Plan F’s to ensure that you would have the same level of coverage. What is the premium difference? Is it significant? It helps to think of it as an annual amount. Are you saving $100 or more a year. Switching is easy to do, and is a matter of signing a few pages. There are no pre-existing conditions restrictions, so the only drawback in switching to a less expensive policy is the 2 minutes it takes to sign your name on the application.
  4. If you are open to looking at other Medicare supplemental insurance coverage levels, you can look at other plans that are different from the plan that you have currently. Plan F is the most common plan, but often, Plan G and Plan N are better values. So, you may want to consider those plans as well, which would offer even greater savings.
  5. No matter how you do it or which plan or company you choose, it is highly important that you do this on at least a bi-annual basis. Medicare Supplemental insurance premiums go up, typically, on an annual basis (policy year not calendar year). Also, new companies and plans are released all the time. Often, their rates are lower than what you have now. In 2009, over 80% of people requesting information on our website were able to reduce their premiums for equal or better coverage. So you must compare and “shop around” to look out for your wallet and ensure that you have the best available option for your Medicare Supplemental insurance coverage.

If you have any questions or want our assistance in comparing your options, you can reach us toll-free at 877.506.3378 or you can request a Medicare Supplemental insurance comparison on our website.

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Ask Us Your Medicare / Medicare Supplement Question... Get a Prompt Answer by Text OR Email from a Medicare Expert