Medicare Supplement Plans
We are not a huge national firm, but a small agency that focuses on advising people regarding their Medicare options. Since 2001, we have been helping people navigate the complex world of Medicare and make the best decisions possible.
Medicare Supplement is also known as Medigap insurance. I like the term Medigap because it describes the purpose of this product — to fill in the coverage gaps of Original Medicare. Original Medicare is Part A: Hospital Insurance and Part B: Medical Insurance.
Medigap is a private health insurance policy and is offered by many carriers. It is important to note that plans are “standardized” unlike Medicare Advantage plans. There are currently 10 different plans from which to choose. The plans range from letters A through N. Plan ‘F’ (the most popular plan) with one carrier will be exactly the same as plan ‘F’ with all other carriers. Some agents will say that you just need to compare rates since the plans are the same. Well, that is an important consideration, but there are other factors to consider besides rates. You can learn about one important factor that most people overlook here.
What Medicare Supplement Policies Don’t Cover:
Medigap policies don’t cover dental or vision. You will need to buy a separate policy to cover those areas. Medigap does not cover long-term care either. Long term care insurance covers care in a nursing home, assisted living facility or home-based care.
Medigap does not cover prescription drugs. Polices sold after January 1, 2006 do not include drug coverage. There is a separate plan, named Part D, that will help cover the cost of prescription drugs. It is very important to work with an agent that will help you properly determine the best Part D plan for you. These plans are not standardized and formularies can vary significantly. Selecting the wrong plan can result in much higher out-of-pocket costs for your prescription drugs.
When you should buy a Medicare Supplement Policy?
There are certain “guarantee issue” periods such as when you turn 65 or lose employer coverage. Guarantee Issue means that you do not need to meet medical underwriting requirements. However, there are exceptions to this rule. There are many folks who think they are locked into their current policy due to pre-existing conditions. Sometimes carriers will have special “open enrollment” windows where they will allow almost anyone to enroll. For example, in 2011 Blue Cross Blue Shield allowed individuals to enroll in their Medigap plans outside of the guaranteed issue periods. A lot of folks had no idea that this was available because it wasn’t something advertised by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
We are here to help!
There is an abundance of information available on the Web. There is also plenty of good information sent to you by insurance companies (you just have to sift through the salesy stuff)! So, we like it when folks have done their research and come to us with specific questions or to request quotes. However, we also enjoy explaining the basics and starting from square one!
Take advantage of working with a local, experienced agent. It doesn’t cost you any more since the cost of all insurance is the same regardless of where you buy it. There is no discount for “buying direct”. In fact, if you speak with an agent who represents just one company, you will find out all the strengths of their products, but you probably won’t hear much about the weaknesses. As independent agents, we will help you compare all your options — including pros and cons of each carrier — and ensure you make the best choice.
We know Medicare Supplements and will gladly help you avoid common mistakes, so you can feel confident you are making the best decision. Please check out our testimonial page to see what other folks have to say! You will see that this testimonial page is different because it shows the actual names and locations of our clients.