This information applies only to Medigap Plans (also known as Medicare Supplement plans).
The following DOES NOT apply to Medicare Prescription Drug Plans or Medicare Advantage Plans. If you have questions about these other Medicare products give us a call or contact us through our web forms.
1. You can change your Medigap policy any time during the year as long as you have no current, major, out-of-control health issues.
Many people mistakenly think they can only make changes to their Medigap policy during certain times of the year. The confusion exists because Prescription Drug Plans and Advantage Plans can only be shopped during certain times of the year, while Medigap Plans can be shopped all throughout the year.
2. ALL Medigap companies will provide EXACTLY the same quality claim paying service as your current Medigap company.
This is one of the most misunderstood facts in Medicare and it results in many Medicare recipients over-paying greatly for their Medigap insurance.
When you have a Medigap policy and go to the doctor your bill is first sent to government Medicare for determination of payment. Medicare, alone, decides if your medical claims should be paid, your insurance company has no say in the matter.
If you want direct proof of this, call your Medigap company and ask for the claims department. When the claims specialist comes on the line, ask them who decides if your claim is to be paid. They will tell you Medicare makes that decision and your insurance company does whatever Medicare tells them to do. Years ago, I called a Medigap company and asked them the same question, they told me, “when Medicare tells us to jump, we say how high.”
So many people I talk with have given hero status to their insurance company mistakenly thinking the insurance company was the reason they were getting all their medical claims paid. As a result, they stayed with that insurance company, even though they were getting huge rate increases by that same company. They could have easily switched to another, much better priced company, and not given up coverage, service or quality.
If you liked the way your prior company paid your bills you can rest assured you will like the way your new company pays your bills. Don’t let the fear of not getting your claims paid by the new company keep you from shopping for a better rate.
3. People who have a plan “F” that was purchased prior to 1/1/2020 should strongly consider moving to a plan “G” or plan “N.”
Let’s focus on the 3 most popular plans. According to the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP), 85% of people buying Medigap plans in the past would buy either a Plan “F” Plan “G” or Plan “N.”
The plan “F,” often referred to as the Cadillac plan, gained its popularity because of the consumer’s desire to pay nothing out of pocket. Having no deductible made the plan “F” an easy sell for agents compared to the plan “G” or plan “N,” which required policyholders to pay the part B deductible (currently $198 once per year).
Medicare has known for years that when there is no deductible to pay, a large segment of the population will actually overuse their doctor. This human tendency to go to the doctor more often when no deductible is required actually led to millions of extra dollars of doctor visit costs associated with the plan “F.” The insurance companies had to pay these extra millions of dollars of cost and therefore, passed these extra costs on to the plan “F” policyholders, by way of hefty rate increases every year. This means when an individual first bought their plan “F” policy it did not cost a great deal more than the plan “G” or “N,” BUT after a couple of years of much higher rate increases, plan “F” policyholders found themselves paying much higher premiums for the plan ”F” compared to plan “G” or “N.”
Many people who bought a plan “F” four or five years ago are now paying over $200 per month while the very similar plan “G” runs around $100 per month. Do the math. Savings with the plan “G,” compared to the plan “F,” could be as much as $1200 per year in lower premiums! The only difference is the plan “G” requires you to pay up to $198 deductible once per year. In light of these facts, why would anyone stay with their old plan “F” if they could health qualify for a plan “G?” This savings is doubled if there is also a spouse involved!
Because of these facts and other reasons, Medicare has stopped the sale of plan “F” to new people aging in to Medicare as of 1/1/2020. See the “Medicare And You” handbook, page 69 where it has a blue flag marked “important.” The new law which has stopped the sell of the plan “F” to people new to Medicare is called Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.
If you have a plan “F” currently, why would you not talk with a knowledgeable agent and get a quote for a plan “G” or “N”? (Tip: You might not want to go back to the same agent that sold you that plan “F” after you calculate how much more that plan “F” has cost you over the years).
(Tip of the day – you can compare all 10 different plans side-by-side by going to page 70 of the “Medicare And You” handbook).
If you don’t have a copy of the handbook, you can go to www.AllenInsureMe.com and click on the picture of the “Medicare And You” handbook and a copy will pop up for you to scroll though.
4. Medicare recommends you shop your Medigap policy.
All Medicare recipients are mailed a “Medicare And You” handbook each year but most people don’t read it. It can be tedious reading, but it offers some valuable information if you know where to look.
On page 71 of the “Medicare And You” handbook, the 5th bullet point down says, “It’s important to compare Medigap policies since the cost can vary between insurance companies for exactly the same coverage, and may go up as you get older.”
If you don’t have a copy of the handbook, you can go to our website at www.AllenInsureMe.com and click on the picture of the “Medicare And You” handbook, a copy will pop up for you to scroll though.
5. To change Medigap policies most Medicare recipients will have to answer “no” to a series of health questions, but this does not mean you have to be perfectly healthy to change to a better priced plan.
Each company has their own unique health questions and some companies are more accepting of certain health issues than others. It is very important to work with an agent who has a great deal of experience dealing with multiple insurance companies and their unique health requirements so they can direct you to companies that fit your health circumstances. Note: If you do not have any major, current, out-of-control health problems you can probably qualify for a better priced policy. Most companies look for a two-year stability period in your health. For example, those who have not been treated for cancer, or had a heart attack, stent or stroke in the past two years, or if diabetes has been under control for the past two years, should be able to qualify for a better priced policy.
6. Medigap plans are standardized by Medicare for easy Apples-to-Apples comparison and there are usually over 50 companies offering exactly the same policy but charging drastically different prices.
Medicare was set up with the priority to help seniors with their healthcare, not to help Insurance companies, so Medicare requires Medigap companies to offer standardized plans. This means that coverage with a plan “F” with one company is exactly the same as a plan “F” with another company. The same is true for all 10 Medigap plans (which are A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N). Medigap buyers can focus on the price of a plan and have confidence that they are comparing the exact same letter plan with all companies.
7. If you move to another company to get a better rate, that company cannot single you out for excessive future rate increases.
Many people worry if they move to a new company for a better rate, that new company will simply raise their rates so fast that they will be back up to the price of the old company very quickly. This does not happen. If the new company were to raise your rates, they would also have to raise the rates of thousands of other policy holders in the plan with you by the same amount. This means if you move to a new company to get a better price you don’t have to worry about the new company “catching up” with your old company pricing by singling you out for rate increases.
8. Getting a quote from the right insurance agent can save you thousands of dollars over the years.
No matter which agent introduces you to the Medigap company you will always pay the same premium amount, so find an agent that works hard for you since you don’t have to pay extra for him.
When shopping your rates, keep the following in mind:
- You should never be charged for getting a quote and there should never be an obligation to buy just for getting a quote.
- Get quotes from an agent that represents many insurance companies, not just a few, big well-known companies. All companies provide the exact same service, coverage and quality, but can charge drastically different rates.
- Pick an agent that has experience with the health underwriting of many Medigap companies, this will give you the best chance of finding the best priced company that matches your particular health issues.
- Pick an agent that is committed to shopping your policy rates every one to two years. This way you can know someone is watching your account and moving you to where the better deals are on a continuous basis as the years pass by.
If you would like us to provide you a free, no obligation quote from over 50 companies, give us a call. We take pride in providing a very accurate quote in less than 3 minutes. You don’t have to provide any identifying information, not even your name. All you need to provide is age and zip code.
When you call, if you are concerned about keeping your identity private, you can dial *67 on your phone pad before dialing our number. This will block your caller ID, so you will truly be anonymous to us unless or until you want to share more information with us. We want you to feel comfortable calling.
Not affiliated with the U. S. government or federal Medicare program.