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.

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.

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.

Medicare Supplement Quotes – The Secret To Shopping Online

Getting Medicare Supplement quotes online is easy to do. Just throw your information out there, sit back, and wait for the information/quotes to roll in, right? Sure, you can do it that way. However, there is a way to do it without being bombarded by agent phone calls, pushy sales pitches, and spam.

You see, most Medicare supplement websites are after one thing – your information. Then, they turn around and sell this information to the highest bidder (usually around $10-15 each) to a “lead company” that then re-sells your information to “no more than 3 agents” (what they mean by no more than 3 agents is, “we sell it to as many people as we possibly can”). But, there is another way. Proceed with caution when requesting Medicare supplement quotes. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to making sure you are going to get the information you want without the high cost of invasion or privacy.

  1. First and foremost, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get Medicare supplement rates online. Most companies do not allow this information to be published. If it is published, it is highly possible that it is not up to date. So, requesting quotes, or a quote comparison, online is a necessity.
  2. The key is how you request these quotes and who you request them from. If a company doesn’t allow you to receive the quotes by email exclusively (requires a valid phone number and doesn’t say they will send them by email), then they may be going to re-sell your information.
  3. You should be able to find a company phone number and address on the website to ensure that this business is not an “Internet-only” business that is simply a re-seller of information.
  4. See if you can determine if the website is an independent insurance brokerage or simply a quote-gathering website.

In short, independent insurance brokerages are a great way to acquire quotes and sign up for Medicare Supplement plans. They allow you to compare all quotes in a centralized place and make an unbiased choice. The key is determining which website belongs to an independent agent or agency and which belongs to a lead-seller. That way, you can get the Medicare Supplement quote that you want without paying the price of privacy.

Can I Get Out of My Medicare Advantage Plan?

Many people, once they sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, ask this question. While Medicare Advantage plans seem appealing at the outset, with their lower premiums, there are some definite “disadvantages”. Although they can be the right choice for some people, some of the disadvantages, such as lack of doctor choice, out of pocket costs, and constant plan changes, make these plans frustrating for some. And, when that happens, some people ask the question: “When can I get out of my Medicare Advantage plan?”

The answer to this question is not as simple as you may think it would be. With Medicare Supplement plans and most other types of insurance, you can simply cancel the plan when you no longer want or need it. However, with Medicare Advantage, it’s not that simple. These plans work on a calendar-year basis, so once you’re in, you’re typically in for the year.

That said, Medicare has established a new Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP). This period runs from January 1, 2011 to February 14, 2011. During this period, you can NOT enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan (unless you fall into a special set of circumstances); however, you can disenroll from your current Advantage plan. After disenrolling, you can return to “original” Medicare. Then, you have the option of adding a Medicare Supplement plan to supplement your Medicare coverage.

Medicare Supplement plans, contrary to Medicare Advantage plans which replace Medicare, fill in the “gaps” in Medicare coverage. With Medicare Supplement, you pay the monthly premium; then, if you have the top level plan (Plan F), you don’t have any co-pays, deductible or coinsurance to pay out of your pocket. There are also some new Medicare Supplement plans, including Plan N. Plan N is lower-priced (often similarly priced with some of the Advantage plans) and it is very similar to the more comprehensive plans at the hospital. The difference is that you have a small $20 co-pay at the doctor’s office and a $50 co-pay at the emergency room. Plus, you do have to meet the Medicare Part B deductible, which is $162/year.

If you have questions about this new Medicare Advantage disenrollment period or want to evaluate what options are available to you if/when you DO leave your Advantage plan, I recommend (whether it’s us or someone else) speaking to an independent brokerage. They can explain the ramifications of whatever choices you are considering, to ensure that you make the choice that is right for you. You can contact us at 877.506.3378 or at Medicare Supplement quote.

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplemental Plan N – A Great Alternative to Being Declined Coverage

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plan N is a “Guaranteed Issue” plan. What this means is that they offer this plan on a no health questions asked basis to all who apply. This is one of the few plans offered like this, nationwide. In some states, there are special times of the year or other special circumstances that allow everyone an open enrollment period with no health questions asked.

But, generally speaking, you do have to qualify medically when you sign up for a Medicare supplement plan. In the case of Mutual of Omaha’s Plan N, though, this is not the case.

This has truly been a benefit for those who have been previously unable to get coverage. Those who have health problems ongoing or have a history of health problems generally get declined by Medicare Supplement plans, when they apply. This allows them an option, in which they will not get declined.

Plan N is a new Medicare Supplement plan – it began on June 1, 2010. It has been successful as an appealing plan to those who are losing, or leaving, Medicare Advantage plans, which have encountered significant cuts for 2011, in most areas. Plan N does have a $20 doctor’s office co-pay, as well as a $50 emergency room co-pay. Additionally, it does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible of $162/year. That said, it still covers the 20% not covered by Medicare at the hospital so that, between Medicare and your supplement plan, you have little to no cost for hospital visits, or stays.

We believe Plan N, which is offered at an even lower price point than other supplement plans, is a great alternative to those who cannot get other coverage, have been declined or are simply paying too much for an overpriced Plan F. Plan N allows significant premium savings (as much as 50-60% lower than Plan F prices) while still giving you the hospital coverage and doctor flexibility that you need from your supplement plan.

If you want a customized quote, or if we can assist in providing additional Plan N information, please let us know. You can reach us at toll-free 877.506.3378 or request a Medicare Supplement quote. Alternatively, you can visit our Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement page for more information about this company and their plans.

PARTS of Medicare vs. Medigap PLANS – Understanding the Difference

One of the most confusing (to most people) things about turning-65 is understanding the terminology. More specifically, there are “parts” (of Medicare) and “plans” (Medigap). Many people get these confused and it can lead to making decisions that are not to your advantage.

Parts of Medicare

There are four parts of Medicare. Medicare Part A is the part that covers hospital and inpatient services. You get this automatically from paying into the Medicare system during your working life. Medicare Part B is the part of Medicare that covers doctor’s office and outpatient services (like labwork, etc.). You must sign up for Part B in order to have this part of Medicare. There is a $110.50/month premium for this that is generally paid through a Social Security deduction.

Medicare Part C is an optional part of Medicare that is also known as Medicare Advantage. If you wish to stay with “original” Medicare (Medicare Parts A & B), you do NOT need to sign up for Part C. In fact, if you sign up for ‘C’, all of your coverage is provided through the private Part C company and Parts A & B no longer provide your benefits.

Medicare Part D is the prescription drugs part of Medicare. This part of Medicare is also optional and provided through private companies. In order to have prescription drug coverage, you must sign up for Part D. You can do this by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or through an independent agent.

Plans – Medigap

Medigap plans are also named by letters, which is the source of most people’s confusion. The plans are standardized and each company is required to offer the plans from the standardized plans chart. This chart goes from “A” to “N”. You should select a plan that meets your needs from a reputable company with low rates. You can view the full chart here that shows what the standardized plans cover: Standardized Plans Chart

If you have any specific questions, or if we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or contact us toll-free at 877.506.3378. Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com is a leading, independent Medicare Insurance agency. Because we are an independent agency, we work as a centralized place to compare all plan options, ask questions, and make unbiased decisions.