Health.Gov Will Not Take Zip Code Shows Up Two Counties Five Tips For Buying Medicare Supplement Insurance

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Five Tips For Buying Medicare Supplement Insurance

When you turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare, you have an important decision to make.

You can choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. About one-third of Medicare enrollees choose an MA plan. In some states like California, it is readily available. However, in some states, there are some MA options.

One of the other more popular options is the Medicare Supplement plan. These are sometimes called Medigap plans and we will use these two terms interchangeably. About 15 million Americans currently have a Medigap plan that offers complete freedom to see any medical professional who accepts Medicare.

We will focus on several important facts about Medigap insurance that will help you get the best coverage for the best cost. In fact, the information shared can help you save a lot of money. That’s always good.

But saving money today is not the only reason to read the tips shared here. They will also save you pain in the future. That’s because if you choose a Medigap plan option now, it can be an irreversible option that limits your future.

TIP #1: Don’t Overpay. Why Pay Double for the Same Plan?

Prices for Medigap insurance vary widely. Fees are usually established by the county and it is common to find one company charging twice as much as another.

According to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance’s 2020 Medicare Insurance Price Index, a 65-year-old woman in Chicago could pay as little as $92 a month or as much as $234 per month for the same coverage. The Price Index reports the lowest and highest Medigap Plan G prices for about 100 cities nationwide.

No one company always offers the lowest cost. And, no one company is always the most expensive according to the Price Index. In fact, in some cases, the company with the lowest cost for men does not have the lowest cost for women. Disappointing? Not really, it just means asking the ‘right’ questions.

TIP #2: Shop For Rate Stability

Insurers can and do raise rates. A policy that appears cheap today may be expensive tomorrow.

Some insurance companies are new to the Medigap business and may not have real experience to base their rates on. Some may offer lower premiums as a way to get more initial sales.

This sometimes causes above-average rate increases in future years. For that reason, you want to compare current costs as well as price stability.

TIP #3: Discounts Add Up

Today, many Medigap insurance carriers offer spousal and/or household discounts. Not all. However, discounts can range from five to 14 percent. The savings add up to hundreds of dollars each year. And since you’ll probably live another 10 or 20 years, you’re talking about real money – so don’t pass it up.

TIP #4: Benefit From Savings and Points

Some insurers will give you a discount if you set up automatic payments. Some offer discounts if you pay annually. Some will allow you to pay the fees with a credit card. You can see where we are going.

Let’s say your monthly Medicare Supplement insurance premium is $300. Starting at age 65 and paying over 20 years equals a $72,000 premium. If you’re married, that goes double. A credit card that offers a two percent rebate means you can save nearly $3,000. If your credit card awards airline points, you get some pretty cool credits.

Tip #5: The Easy Way To Comparison Shop

Sometimes you hear the saying, that if you act as your own lawyer or doctor then you have a crazy client. Choosing the right Medicare plan can be confusing.

There’s nothing wrong with calling any of the dozens of 800-numbers competing for your attention and business. However, often they may represent only one company or have a particular preference.

For that reason, it often pays to compare your options and recommendations by finding a local Medicare Insurance agent. Some focus only on Medicare Supplement but now many offer comprehensive options including Medicare Advantage.

It’s nice to have an unbiased agent in your back pocket when you have questions. A national directory of Medicare insurance agents lists about 1,000 specialists by Zip Code. Access is available for free and, perhaps best of all, is completely private. You can see their information without having to enter any information.

A good resource for the latest information is the website of the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance. There you will find the 2020 Medicare Insurance Price Index and great access to the agent directory.

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