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.

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.