How to Make the Right Medigap Choice

logo-collage-smallChoosing the right Medigap plan can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process if you allow it to be. While there is a lot of information out there and a lot of people and companies vying for your “attention”, choosing a Medigap policy does not have to be difficult. Follow this three-step guide to narrowing the choices, reducing the clutter and selecting the plan that is right for you.

  1. Understand the plans. First of all, you must have an understanding of the plans – what they cover, how they work and what is important in the decision-making process. The first thing to know is that the plans are Federally-standardized. That is, all companies provide the same coverage plans – a Plan F with one company is the same as a Plan F with another company. Additionally, the plans all work the same way. Claims are automated (paid electronically without involvement from the patient), and they are done through the Medicare “crossover” system. Lastly, all plans can be used at any doctor or hospital that takes Medicare, so that means that you will still be able to use it if you use services from Internationalherniacare, in other words, as long as a physician takes your primary coverage (Medicare), they will take your Medigap plan regardless of what Medigap company sold you the plan.In summary, and the main thing to understand when it comes to Medigap plans, is that there are no differences to compare as far as coverage, reliability, how the plan works, where you can use it, etc. The two factors to compare when it comes to Medigap are price (first and foremost) and company rating/reputation. The Federal standardization of plans has made the other variables non-existent or irrelevant.
  2. Compare the rates. Once you understand “what” to compare, it is time to actual do the comparing. There are a couple of ways to do this. The “old-fashioned” way is to get the phone numbers of all companies offering Medigap plans in your area and call them and ask their rates. Some companies will give you this information over the phone; some will require that an agent come to your house to meet with you prior to giving you the information. For most people, this way of doing it is not appealing. However, it is an option.The other way of going about it – which I believe most people would find preferable – is to use an independent agent, or broker, to compare the plans. An independent agent does not work specifically for one particular insurance company, so they are not going to try to “sell” you on their company. Instead, they can give you unbiased information of what company’s offer competitively priced plans in your area. Additionally, they can provide other information such as company rating, past rate stability and reputations, which may help you narrow down the choices and make an informed decision.Keep in mind that the main thing to compare when it comes to Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plans is the rates, as plan coverage is completely standardized by the Federal government. A good independent agent can provide a full breakdown of the companies that offer companies in your zip code, as well as what the rates would be for someone at your age.
  3. Choose wisely. Once you have the information that pertains to premium rates and company rating/reputation, you can easily narrow the choices to which reputable companies are competitively priced for your area. While many people know about Plan F, which is the most common plan, it is not always the most wise choice. It is the most comprehensive but also the most expensive. Plan G is an alternative that typically would provide a savings when compared to Plan F – under Plan G, you have to pay a $147/year deductible but that’s the only difference between ‘F’ and ‘G’ and the premium savings is often $300+/year resulting in a significant net savings.Once you choose a plan, it is easy to enroll, particularly if you are in an “open enrollment” period (i.e. turning 65 or just going on Medicare). Simply complete an application, which the independent agent can facilitate either online or by phone, then the application will be processed by the insurance company. You’ll receive an insurance card and policy in the mail.
    While signing up for a Medigap plan is an overwhelming charge for many people, it does not have to be. The standardization of Medigap plans and the proliferation of information available online has made comparing and choosing a Medigap plan much easier than choosing most other types of insurance.If you would like a listing of the companies/rates in your area or have other questions, you can contact us online or call 877.506.3378.

Instant Medigap Quotes – The and “Why” and “How” of Getting Them

Getting an instant Medigap quote is what most people looking at Medigap plans want. In our day and age, everyone wants everything instantaneously, and frankly, we’ve come to expect it. It’s no different when you are perusing the Internet for Medigap quotes.Getting the quotes instantaneously, however, is not always possible, because many of the companies do not allow their rates to be published online. If they are published online, they are often out of date – most webmasters do not update their sites regularly – or they do not reflect the full picture (i.e. additional charges, discounts, etc).

Fortunately, it is possible to get the quotes very quickly, delivered securely by email, and customized to your age, gender, health, zip code (and all of the factors that go into determining your rate). This way, you can compare on you own time, in an unbiased way, without having to talk to an agent or set up a face-to-face meeting.

There are many websites available that offer this service; however, it is essential that you understand who you are getting the quotes from to the greatest extent possible. Many of these websites are “quote farm” websites, set up specifically to capture your information and sell it as a “lead” to 8-10 insurance agents that will all give you the same information and bombard you with phone calls, emails, etc. Do your due diligence to the extent possible, and request the information from an independent agency, a brokerage, which represents many of the companies, if not all, so that you can compare in a centralized, unbiased place. We are an independent medigap brokerage, but whether it is us or someone else, we highly recommend using one to get the instant Medigap quotes you are seeking.

When you are requesting the quotes, all you have to do is enter some general information, enough for the agent to run some quotes. You will then receive the information by email – we send the email within 10 minutes (it’s a partially automated process) during business hours. We specifically do not request your phone number on our request form – most of our business is done without needing to talk to clients at all, or at least not extensively.

If you have questions about this process, want to find out more about how to get instant medigap quotes, or just want to discuss your Medigap plan, you can visit us online or call 877.506.3378.

Help! My Medigap Rates Went Up

Like the price of eggs or haircuts, Medigap rates go up over time. Just five short years ago, Medigap rates were about 70-75% of what they are now. Where rates are $100/month now, they may have been $70-75/month just five years ago! That’s hard to believe but a sign of the times. Escalating Medigap rates are a classic example of people not realizing that they can do something about it, albeit small, and help themselves in the process.

Contrary to popular belief, you can change Medigap plans at any time (When Can You Change Medigap Plans?). So, we must start with the understanding of that premise. So many times, people get a rate increase notification, open it up, get frustrated but think there is nothing they can do about it until the “end-of-year enrollment period” (the mythological one, that doesn’t exist for Medigap plans). Then, by the end of the year, they have forgotten about the rate increase – they’ve been paying the higher rate for a few months and it has become the new “normal”. The same thing happens the next year!

Well, we are here to tell you that there’s a better way, and it’s really not that complicated. Whether it is us or someone else, there are many online resources that will give you comparative information/quotes for Medigap plans. When your rate goes up, you should always explore other options to see if there is one that would be more competitively priced for the same coverage. Coverage, as you probably know if you are already on Medicare, is Federally-standardized. Do you have a Plan F? It is the same coverage with a new company as it is with your current company. Same things with Plan G, N, etc. So, comparing “apples to apples” is very easy to do.

There can be as much as a $100/month variation in rates for the same Medigap coverage, within the same geographic area. Rates vary this much for many reasons, some of which are claims experiences, administrative costs, marketing costs, and also, some companies just target certain geographic areas, age, or plans more than others.

There is absolutely NO reason, especially if you are in relatively good health, to be paying more than the lowest possible rate for your Medigap plan.

The plans are standardized, can be used anywhere nationwide that takes Medicare, and pay claims through the same “crossover” system. So ultimately, the premium rate is the thing that matters and should be compared/considered.

To get more information on how to compare plans or to get a Medigap comparison by email, please click the previous link or call us at 877.506.3378.

Medigap Quotes – Three Reasons Why It Makes Sense to Get Them

Medigap Quotes are readily available from many sources, especially this time of year (during the annual enrollment period for the other types of plans – Part D and Advantage plans). It is highly advisable to get quotes for Medigap coverage (also called Medicare Supplements) on an annual basis, if you are already on Medicare. This way, you can confirm that you have the best “deal” available, and if you do not, make a change to save money.

There are three primary reasons why you should obtain Medigap quotes:

  1. First of all, and quite simply, the plans are Federally-standardized. If you are on Medicare and have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan currently, you have one of the standardized plans, which are named after letters. For example, a Plan F is the plan that fills in all the gaps in Medicare Parts A & B so that you don’t have any out of pocket costs at the doctor or hospital. If you have a Plan F with one company, it is very easy to compare other Plan F’s with other companies to confirm that your plan is the most competitively priced.
  2. Secondly, you should obtain Medigap quotes because it is extremely easy to do and does not cost you anything. In fact, in 90% of cases, you can save money on your Medigap insurance for equal coverage. Because of the above point, that Medigap plans are standardized, you can often save money. Insurance, particularly Medicare insurance, is an extremely fast-moving and changing thing. A plan that is good today may not be competitively priced tomorrow. Because of this, it is important to stay “on top of” your coverage and compare quotes on an annual basis. You can do so online. The rates themselves aren’t published online (this is not allowed by most companies); however, if you find the right independent brokerage, you can get a rate quote comparison sent to you by email. Full disclosure: we do this and would be happy to send it to you if you want to request Medigap quotes – Go to our website
  3. Last of all, you should get Medigap quotes to save money. Since the plans are standardized and the quotes are easy to obtain, you can usually save money. Everyone likes a little extra money in their pocket and this is one of the easiest ways to get it. Keep the same coverage and save money – it’s a no brainer.

If you would like more information or to obtain Medigap quotes by email, please request information on our website or give us a call. While many people do this this time of year, during the annual enrollment period for the Part D plans, you can actually change Medicare Supplements at any time, and should consider doing so whenever your rates change, which is typically on your policy anniversary date.