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.

2011 Part D Information – Breaking News About Premiums, Donut Hole Coverage

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released today the projected average premium for the Part D plans in 2011. Projected numbers for 2011 show that the monthly premiums will increase by approximately $1, from $29 in 2010 to $30 in 2011. This is good news for Medicare Part D policyholders who feared large increases in the Part D premiums next year.

With some of the changes caused by PPACA (i.e. “health insurance reform”), some Medicare enrollees, as well as some in the insurance industry expected the Part D premiums to increase a good bit for next year. So, this news is welcome.

The PPACA, which was signed into law in March, changed some of the benefit structure for Part D. The changes that beneficiaries will see from this include a 50% reduction in brand-name co-pays when they are in the “donut hole” and a 7% reduction in generic co-pays when they are in the “donut hole”. This will greatly help anyone who reaches the “donut hole” to save on their medications while they are in that coverage gap.

To get more information about Medicare Part D or these changes, visit Medicare Supplement Quote. You can also request information on Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap) and/or Medicare Advantage.

FOUR COMMON MYTHS ABOUT MEDICARE / MEDIGAP PLANS

In talking to hundreds of folks each week who are on Medicare from around the country, we hear some pretty “wild” things. Whether given the wrong information by news media, an unscrupulous or misinformed agent, or just assuming something to be true that is not, there is a lot of misinformation about Medicare and Medigap plans. Here are a few we’ve heard recently that fall on the “MYTH” side of the TRUTH vs. MYTH divide.

  1. You can only change Medigap plans once a year, during the end-of-year enrollment period.
    This, as many of you already know, is false. Medigap plans have NO enrollment/disenrollment restrictions. The reason many people believe this is twofold. One, there IS an enrollment period for Part D prescription drug plans, which runs from November 15-December 31 each year. Also, there is an onslaught of marketing (mailings, TV ads, etc) for Medicare Advantage plans during the end-of-year enrollment period because you can only change those plans from Nov. 15-March 31. For Medigap plans, however, you can change at any time, as long as you meet a company’s underwriting requirements (which vary from company to company).
  2. Company ‘X’ pays it’s claims better than Company ‘Y’.
    Medigap claims are paid through Medicare’s national “crossover” system, which is handled directly through Medicare. This is an automated process that does not at all resemble the way that traditional health insurance (under-65) claims are paid. I have NEVER had a complaint or problem with a company not paying a claim due to this standardization of plans and automation of the system. Even if a company were to completely go out of business, claims are backed up by the state insurance reserve programs.
  3. Some of my doctors do not take certain Medigap plans.
    With Medigap plans, all doctors that take Medicare are required to take Medigap plans. What some doctors do not take, and are not taking in increasing numbers, is the Medicare Advantage plans. However, with a Medigap plan, you can see any doctor/hopsital nationwide that takes Medicare.
  4. Company ‘X’s rates do not go up over time – they stay the same.
    This is something that many agents use in a dishonest way. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. While this would certainly make our job easier, it’s just not true. Medigap insurance, just like auto insurance or the price of eggs, goes up over time. Different companies use different criteria to change rates, but there are not any plans that do not go up in price over time.