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.

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.