Traditional Medicare offers good coverage, but it doesn’t cover ALL your expenses. For instance, you’ll be responsible for 20% of the costs of doctor’s visits.
That’s where supplement insurance policies come into play. If you have an Original Medicare plan (instead of a Medicare Advantage plan), you can buy a Medicare Supplement (aka Medigap) plan which will allow you to fill many of the gaps in coverage.
There are different policies that cover different items and services. To find the right Medicare Supplement plan for you, follow these four steps:
1) Examine Your Options
Medigap plans are all standardized. They can all be used wherever a medical provider accepts Medicare payments.
There were 10 supplement plans labeled A-N. However, Plans C and F are not available for new enrollees after January 1, 2020.
By saying the plans are standardized, we mean that Plan A from one company is exactly the same as Plan A from another company. It’s easy to shop; you just need to compare prices and find a reputable insurance company. All plans have basic benefits, but some offer extra benefits. You can refer to our supplement plan comparison chart for help. Your choices will be different if you live in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, or Minnesota.
2) Understand How Plans Are Priced
When you know which Medicare Supplement you want, you can shop around like you would for any other insurance policy. Again, the plans are standardized, so price will probably be your main concern.
However, the plan with the lowest price isn’t always the best, so be careful here. The cheapest policy could be the one that has a rapid rate increase in the future.
Medigap plans have premiums that are determined in one of three ways. The three kinds of pricing are referred to as:
- Community-rated (aka “no age-rated”)
- Issue-age-rated (aka “entry age-rated”)
You can learn more about these types of pricing here. But you can ask a company which pricing system they use before you buy a policy. As you age, you’ll know whether to suspect rate increases.
3) Contact a Medicare Broker
If you’re still a little confused, call an insurance agent for help. You’ll pay the same premium whether you purchase a plan through a broker or directly from a carrier. There’s no commission added to the price of a supplement policy.
At Bobby Brock Insurance, we walk our clients through the different plans and identify that one that best fits their lifestyle. We work with an array of companies instead of one specific insurer. When you call us, you’ll have more choices presented to you than if you go through one company directly. Don’t hesitate to contact us for help.
4) Don’t Delay Enrollment
When people turn 65, they have an initial enrollment period (IEP) of seven months — including the three months before your birthday, your birthday month, and the three months after your birthday. If you’re signing up for Original Medicare (instead of Medicare Advantage), you want to get your Medicare Supplement plan during your IEP.
The reason to enroll during the IEP is simple: you’re guaranteed coverage with no underwriting. So, the insurer can’t check to see if you have any pre-existing conditions and then deny you a policy or decide to increase your premiums.
When that initial enrollment period ends, you can still purchase a Medigap plan, but insurance companies can start asking questions about the status of your health. Then, you may wind up paying a lot more for your coverage, or you could be prohibited from buying specific plans.
Call the Agents at Bobby Brock Insurance
For all your Medigap questions, call Bobby Brock Insurance at (662) 844-3300.