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.

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.

Medicare Supplement Annual Enrollment Period – Is There One?

One of the common myths with Medicare Supplement insurance is that there is an annual open enrollment period. Many seniors, either through faulty information or incorrect assumptions, believe that there is an annual period, during which you can sign up for Medicare Supplements or change your current Medicare Supplement insurance. On the contrary, you can change Medicare supplement plans at any time – there is no set enrollment period.

One of the main reasons for this incorrect belief is that there IS an annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D (prescription coverage) and Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), which people often mistakenly refer to as a Medicare supplement. The enrollment period for these types of plans is November 15-December 31 of each year (this time period is changing for 2011, but these are the dates for the 2010 annual election period).

That said, the end of the year is an excellent time to review your Medicare Supplement coverage and make any necessary changes. Medicare Supplement coverage does not change on an annual basis like Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. The plans are the same over time; however, your rates do change. Some companies change rates based on your age (this usually occurs around your birthday), other companies change rates annually (this occurs 1/1 of each year), and other companies change rates on your policy anniversary date. Either way, when your rate changes, it is highly likely that you are able to switch to an equal plan from a different company and save money on your coverage.

It is advisable to re-evaluate your Medicare Supplement / Medigap coverage on at least a bi-annual basis, as insurance is a rapidly changing field that requires one to be aware of current rates and trends. In the last year in many areas of the country, Medicare Supplement rates have actually gone down due to new companies entering the marketplace and new plans being released (Medigap Plan N). This means that now is a better time than ever to re-evaluate your coverage and make a change if you find that you can save money for equal coverage.

To receive a full comparison of Medigap quotes for your age and zip code, you can contact us at Medicare supplement quote or toll-free at 877.506.3378.

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.

What Does Medicare Cost – the Parts of Medicare and Their Cost

Medicare is the Federal program that provides insurance coverage to those over age 65 and/or deemed disabled by the government’s guidelines. Many people are completely uncertain as to how it works and what its costs are for them. Common misconceptions are:

  1. That it is completely free (an unfettered handout)
  2. That it is the same as Medicaid OR that Medicaid is for “older people” and Medicare is for low-income people.
  3. That Medicare, in and of itself, is complete coverage

These misconceptions cause much confusion with Medicare, and this article is going to look, specifically, at one oft-mistaken aspect of Medicare – what it costs.

First of all, there are two parts of “original” Medicare – Part A and Part B. During an individual’s working life, they pay into the Social Security/Medicare system through payroll deductions (in most cases). This entitles you to Medicare Part A at the time you are either qualified for it through disability or reach the month of your 65th birthday. There is no additional cost to Medicare Part A – it is something that the working public contributes to throughout their working years.

For Part B, however, there is an additional cost when you reach age 65 or disability qualification. This cost is now $110.50/month. This is typically done as a deduction from your Social Security check, although you can also pay it quarterly if you prefer. This current (as of 2010) cost of $110.50/month applies to everyone, with the exception of people whose income dictates that they pay a higher amount. Also, there is some assistance available for Part B costs for those with low enough incomes.

Medicare Part C is a relatively new part of Medicare that is called Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans are offered through private companies. These companies are paid by the Federal Government to “manage” your Medicare benefits. They are required to offer at least as good of coverage as Medicare A & B offer, but some companies go above and beyond this “original” Medicare coverage to different extents. They companies also, typically, pass some relatively small premium on to the customer. This amount varies from company to company and from area to area.

Medicare Part D is the part of Medicare that covers prescription drugs. This is also, like Part B and C, an optional part of Medicare. This is offered through private companies, which extend a premium to the customer in exchange for coverage of your prescription medications. The average Part D cost nationwide (for 2010) is approximately $31, but this premium can vary greatly from area to area and for different levels of coverage.

Medigap plans are not a part of Medicare itself. They are offered through private companies and supplement your “original” Medicare. In some cases, they offer complete coverage so that, between Medicare and the Medigap, you don’t have any out of pocket costs for doctor or hospital care.

For more information about what Medicare covers and what it costs, you can view: Medicare coverage information. Or, to get more information and an idea of what Medicare supplements cost, visit Medicare Supplement quote.

Medicare Supplement Quotes – The RIGHT Way to “Shop” for a Medicare Supplement Online

To get Medicare Supplement quotes from a variety of companies, shopping for a Medicare Supplement plan online is the wave of the future. In fact, it’s the wave of right now, with ever-increasing numbers of Medicare-age individuals going online for quotes and information. Comparing plans this way is easy to do because you can do it in the comfort of your own home and on your own time. This does not require you to make hasty decisions or feel pressured by a salesperson.

While comparing Medigap options, doing it this way is certainly advisable; however, there are a few things to remember in order to make sure that you make an informed, thorough decision.

  1. First and foremost, keep in mind that, regardless of who you purchase a supplement from, the price is going to be the same. Brokers/agents cannot charge you an additional fee for using them. Likewise, the insurance company does not charge more if you go directly through the company. With this in mind, you can compare without the fear that you are paying more than you should be for a plan.
  2. Plans are completely standardized so there is no difference from one company to another on a “like” plan. This makes it easy to compare “apples to apples”, so to speak. For example, a Plan F with Mutual of Omaha is the exact same as a Plan F with AARP (United Healthcare). And, those Plan F’s are the exact same as Plan F’s from Blue Cross or anyone else you are comparing. With that in mind, price is the primary comparison point, along with the reputation of the company.
  3. There are some distinct advantages to using a brokerage to compare your options. As previously mentioned, rates are the same regardless of whether you have an agent or not. With that in mind, there are some clear-cut advantages to having an agent versus not having one. First of all, an agent can help you compare options from all of the companies that do plans for your area. Secondly, an agent is a ready reference if you have any questions about the application process or your policy (after it is in effect). Third and possibly most important, an agent can help you re-evaluate your options at a later time if you are ever dissatisfied with your current policy. If you sign up directly with the company, they obviously have no incentive to assist you in comparing other options like an agent does.

Overall, comparing your options for a Medicare Supplement plan is easy to do and should not be something that you allow to overwhelm or intimidate you. There are plenty of options and resources online that can assist you in this process, and you should certainly be with an agency/brokerage and insurance company that you personally feel completely comfortable with.

ABOUT US
Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com is a leading, independent brokerage agency that works exclusively with Medicare insurance. We allow you to compare quotes by email for all of the companies in your area so that you can make an informed decision that you will feel completely comfortable with. Then, after you are enrolled, we provide additional value-added services that you just can’t get in other places. For a Medicare Supplement quote comparison by email, visit: Medicare Supplement Quotes. Or, you can call us at 877.506.3378.

Medigap Quote – Stop Wasting Your Time and Start Saving Your Money

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online sites out there, begging for you to enter your personal information and give them permission to sell your information to 8-10 agents who will then bombard you with telephone calls, emails, and more. You can visit several of these sites, and spend a few days talking to some nice young men and women who will peddle their various plans and companies to you, some more aggressively than others.

However, at the end of the day, the thing that matters to you most (and SHOULD) is your financial and health well-being. That’s what Medicare Supplement insurance is for, after all. It is here to eliminate the risk inherent in the Medicare system that only covers 80% of the costs during the most medically-costly period of your life.

The best way to secure your financial well-being is to have a Medicare Supplement plan, and the best plan to have is the one that is least expensive since plans are standardized. Finding that plan is the key.

Regardless of whether you get those quotes from us or elsewhere, we strongly recommend that you ensure that you are getting them from a comprehensive brokerage, not a “quote farm” web site that is going to sell you information from one end of the US to the other (this happens – thousands of times a day!). Doing so can lead to much less confusion and stress, while at the same time, saving you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars annually.

To get a Medigap quote from Medicare-supplement-comparison.com, visit Medicare supplement quotes. Your request goes, securely, to one representative of MSC.com, who will reply shortly with the requested information.