Choosing a Medigap policy is an important part of your transition to Medicare if you are turning 65 or going on Medicare. There are literally hundreds of options available in each state and county, and you, no doubt, will get overwhelmed with a deluge of information when you are going on Medicare. It is easy to let this information overwhelm you to the point of frustration. However, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Put simply, choosing a Medigap policy is actually very easy to do. Follow the guidelines below to choose the Medigap policy that is right for you:
- First of all, select a plan during your open enrollment or guaranteed issue period. Everyone has a 6-month open enrollment window when they turn 65 or enroll in Medicare Part B. During this time period, there are no health questions asked on any company or plan – you simply choose a plan and enroll. This is the ideal time to enroll in a plan because you cannot be turned down for coverage or made to pay a higher premium because of some pre-existing condition.
- Choose a plan by comparing options using an independent agent. It is to your advantage to use an independent agent when comparing and choosing a plan. Independent agents have access to plan quotes for all of the plans offered in your area and can help you compare in an unbiased way. They also have specialized knowledge of company practices, rate increase histories, and customer service reputations. You are paying for agents anyway (commissions are built into premiums) and it doesn’t cost you any extra, so you should certainly have one.
- Make a decision based on two factors – price and company reputation. No matter what anyone else tells you or what you see on a television commercial, your decision should, quite simply, come down to two factors and two factors only – price and company reputation. Since plans are standardized, you can easily compare “apples to apples” to choose a plan that is most competitive on price and is from a highly rated company.
Choosing a Medigap policy can be overwhelming and time-consuming. However, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Plans are Federally-standardized and you are given a set time to enroll in the plan of your choice, so it is easy to know when and how to choose a plan. By simply following the three guidelines listed above, you can choose the plan that is right for you.
For additional guidance, you can contact us on our website, Medicare Supplement or see Medicare’s choosing a Medigap policy guidebook: http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/02110.pdf.