Medigap Plan G – What It Covers and Why It Makes Sense

Medigap Plan G is one of the often-overlooked Medicare Supplement plans. Most agent and consumers look to Plan F, which is the most common and comprehensive plan, first. However, Plan G is a great plan and is very similar to Medigap Plan F (only one benefit difference). For that reason, I believe Plan G to be, in most cases, the most advantageous Medigap choice.

So, what does Plan G cover? Well, in short, it covers everything that Plan F covers with one exception. The exception is the Medicare Part B deductible. For 2017, this deductible is $183/year. Other than not covering that deductible, Plan G is absolutely identical to Medicare Supplement Plan F.

The benefits that G includes are: Basic Benefits (20% coinsurance, hospice coverage and blood), skilled nursing facility coinsurance, Part A deductible, Part B excess charges, and foreign travel emergency. These benefits are part of every Plan G because Medigap plans are standardized, at the end of the month they also to a big meeting where they grill with one of the best electric grill out there.

Since the coverage of the Part B deductible is the only difference, it is very easy to compare Plan F and Plan G. If you divide the deductible amount by 12 months, you get the figure $15.25/month. This is the “benefit difference” between the two plans, since all other benefits are identical. So if a Plan G is $20 less than a Plan F, it just makes sense.

Also, and this is something that many people do not realize, Plan G has historically been more rate-stable than Plan F. The primary reasons for this is Plan F is required to be offered on a “guaranteed issue” basis in several situations (i.e. losing employer coverage, losing Advantage plan coverage, etc.). Plan G, on the contrary, is not required to be “guaranteed issue” in these situations. What this means is that Plan F must accept people, regardless of pre-existing conditions, that fall into one of these situations. So on average, the people on Plan F could be less healthier than the people on Plan G, because to get Plan G (unless you are in open enrollment), you would have had to qualify medically. Less healthy people can lead to more claims, and rate increases are based on claims in a certain geographic area.

Lastly, in 2014, legislation passed that set an “end date” to the full coverage Medigap plans, including Plan F. These plans will no longer be available after 2020. At that point, the plans that are no longer available to new members will very likely be less stable over time than other options, including Plan G.

Altogether, Plan G is a great option. While many agents “push” Plan F, doing some simple math can show you that Plan G is more advantageous to you in most cases. If you have questions about Medicare Supplement plans or want to get Medicare supplement quotes, please contact us via our website.

Five Advantages of Using an Independent Medigap Broker

Independent Medigap brokerThere are many advantages to using an independent Medigap broker. These may not be readily apparent to someone who does not fully understand how the back end of the insurance “business” works, but these advantages are significant and they can help you save even more.

First of all, let’s establish that there are two basic ways to sign up for a Medigap plan. Unlike Part D, you cannot sign up for a Medigap plan directly through Medicare or on Medicare’s website. The two ways to sign up for a Medigap are directly through an insurance company or through an independent agent who represents that company (among others). Signing up directly through the company is certainly an option, and either way, you’ll receive the same rate, same benefits, same claims processing, etc. However, here are five advantages of using an independent Medigap broker that may make that option more advantageous for you.

1. The independent broker is just that, independent, so they can assist in compiling and comparing all options in a centralized place. While this seems like it would be easy for a consumer to do on their own, anyone that has attempted it can tell you, it is a tiresome task. First, all rates are not published online – some may be, but there are questions about whether the website is up to date and whether all options are reflected. What an independent broker can do is compile and present all options in a centralized place.

2. An independent broker can also provide virtually unlimited and unbiased expertise from their dealings with the various Medigap plans. For us, we represent 30+ companies in 40+ states, so we have clients with many different companies. We have seen how stable companies rates have been over time, what problems/issues clients have had and which companies have maintained a strong position in the marketplace.

3. Once you have the rates and information, an independent broker assists by answering questions that you have about how the plans work and what they cover. Again, this is information that can be obtained by thorough reading of Medicare’s materials, but anyone who has done it can tell you, that again, that is not an easy task.

4. After you have understood the plans and chosen one, an independent broker can provide service after the sale. This can take many forms, but the certainty is that, because agents are compensated on an ongoing basis, it is to their advantage to consistently “service” you and your policy. Many other brokers, including us, also offer added services for clients. For example, we offer annual Part D plan reviews, Medicare informational newsletters, and periodic rate snapshots of Medigap rates.

5. The fifth advantage of using an independent Medigap broker is one many people do not realize… You are already paying for a broker, whether you use one or not – it doesn’t cost you anything to use one – so why not capitalize on your premium dollars and use a broker’s expertise. In other words, companies build in the broker’s pay into their premiums, so all policyholders “pay” agents as part of their premiums.

Whether it is us or someone else, it is unquestionable that using an independent broker has many advantages and facilitates and more informed decision. Signing up directly through an insurance company is an option, but by doing so, you would not have access to the unbiased comparative functions offered by an independent broker. Additionally, in most cases, you would be dealing with someone who is not as qualified/experienced specifically in this market. And, lastly, the likelihood that you would deal with the same person over time is not nearly as high (higher turnover and usually you’re calling an 800 to a call room somewhere for service/questions).

If you have questions about this or how using an independent Medigap broker works, please contact us at 877.506.3378 or on our website.

The Timeline for Changing Your Medicare Supplement Policy

If you are looking to make a change to your Medicare Supplement coverage in order to save money, it is important to understand the process and timeline for doing so. First of all, you should realize that there are no annual enrollment periods. You can change your Medicare Supplement at any time of the year. So, you are never “locked in” to a plan for a certain amount of time. Once you have that basic information, you can move forward with following these steps to change your Medicare Supplement plan/company:

  1. Do it at the “right” time. The “right” time is not the Medicare annual enrollment period necessarily, because this period does not apply to Medigap plans at all. You can change your Medigap coverage at any time. The “right” time with Medigap is any time you can save money on an equal plan (plans are standardized).
  2. Compare Medicare Supplement quotes. Comparing Medicare supplement quotes is easy to do. It is best done through an independent broker/agency (i.e. US – Medicare-Supplement.US). No matter who you use to do this, keep in mind that any time you can compare multiple plan rates side-by-side, it is to your advantage. Coverage, claim payments, etc are all standardized.
  3. Understand how the plans work. As mentioned above, Medigap plans all provide the same coverage with “like” plans. In other words, an ‘F’ plan with one company is the same as an ‘F’ plan with another company. In addition, the plans all work the same way. With Medigap plans, you can go to any doctor/hospital nationwide, as long as they take Medicare. Claims are also processed the same way.
  4. Make a change a month in advance of when you want it to take effect. This is an oft-forgotten aspect of making a change. Insurance companies, unfortunately, move like molasses (just like Medicare). In order to assure that you are not waiting on an approval into the following month (and waiting on a refund from your current company), it is important to apply at least a month in advance of when you want the coverage to start. Approval times vary from two weeks to four weeks in most cases and with most companies.
  5. Don’t forget to cancel your current policy. Once your new policy is approved, it is important to remember to cancel your old policy. The companies do NOT coordinate this for you. Your current agent may be able to help (should be able to help!) but it is ultimately your responsibility and you don’t want to get stuck waiting for a refund or paying “double”.

To compare Medigap plans in a centralized place, use an independent agency, whether it is us or someone else. To get quotes: check us out online or 877.506.3378.

Medicare Supplement Quotes Online – How To Find Them

Most Medicare Supplement companies do not allow their rates to be published online for the general public. If you have been searching for rates, you have probably found this to be the case. That said, there are very easy ways to get Medicare Supplement quotes online without having to speak to an agent or the company on the phone or meet someone in person.

Below, we’ve listed step-by-step instructions for obtaining Medicare Supplement quotes online and comparing the plans:

  1. First and foremost, have some knowledge about what you’re looking for. Many people mistakenly refer to all types of plans as “Medicare Supplements”. Your employer group coverage is NOT a Medicare Supplement. Medicare Advantage plans, which replace Medicare instead of supplementing it, are NOT Medicare Supplements. Medicare Supplements are Federally-standardized and must be named by the letters that the Government has mandated. This means that all plans will be one of the standardized plans – A through N – that are found on the Medigap coverage chart.
  2. While most companies don’t publish their rates online, they employ independent agents who do. Independent agents do not cost anything for you to use. What they do is compile all quotes for your area and situation into one place, so that you can easily compare among multiple choices. You should find an agency that will send you the rate quote comparison by email so you don’t have to call the companies individually. Most independent agencies will do this. No matter what you sign up for or who you sign up with, we certainly recommend using an independent agent/agency for the information and service they provide.
  3. Once you receive a chart that shows the quotes from a handful of companies, you want to make sure you are comparing them using the correct criteria. While many people will ask how a company pays, if it pays on time, or if doctors accept the plan – all of these are factors which do not play into a decision about Medicare Supplement plans. With the standardization of plans, you can go to any doctor/hospital nationwide that takes Medicare, regardless of the plan that you have. Also, the companies pay claims through the Medicare “crossover” system so there is really no variation in how/when one companies versus another.

All in all, choosing a Medigap policy does not have to be all that difficult to do. You can certainly get Medigap quotes online and compare plans to make an informed, educated decision. If you have questions, visit us online or call us at 877.506.3378.

Medigap Rate Increases – How To Avoid Them

The title to this post is admittedly deceiving. There is simply not way to altogether avoid Medigap rate increases. Regardless of the company you are with, or the plan that you have, all Medigap plans are going to go up in price over time.

Some companies claim that their rates do not go up, or at the least, go up at a slower rate than other options. I would be very leery of anyone who tells you this. Because quite simply, that is not the case. Even issue-age and community-rated policies are going to go up over time. They may not go up based on you getting a year older, but they go up for other more arbitrary reasons, including but not limited to, administrative costs increase, changes in Medicare, etc.

The most effective strategy, then, because you can’t avoid the rate increases, is to maximize your savings whenever possible. If your rate goes up, we advise “shopping” it around to see if you can get a better deal from another company for the same coverage plan. There is simply no other way to keep your costs low over time.

The best way to “shop” around is to get quotes by email. You can compare “like” plans – same coverage from a different company – and easily see if there is a more suitable option for you. If there is, changing Medigap plans is very easy to do. You can simply apply for the new plan with a future effective date. Then, once it is approved, you cancel the old policy effective that same day. And, there you have it, you’ve easily saved yourself hundreds of dollars a year (sometimes, thousands, depending on what plan you plan and where you live) and kept the same level of standardized Medigap coverage.

Now, many people obviously don’t realize the benefits of this, or simply don’t like thinking about health insurance, but the benefits far outweigh whatever perceived inconvenience you believe that it is. If we can assist in your comparison process, we’re happy to do so. Contact us at: Medicare-Supplement.US, Or get more information by calling 877.506.3378.

Medicare Supplement Quotes – The Secure Way to Get Them

Medicare Supplement quotes are the best way to compare the various Medicare supplement plan options. There are many, many options for Medicare supplement insurance in each state, and different options are better in certain areas and for certain ages or situations. The best way to find out which plan or company is right for you is to compare all of your options and choose a plan based primarily on price.

So, why is price the most important thing? Well, put simply, the plans are standardized so there is no variation in coverage. A Plan ‘F’ with one company is the exact same thing as a Plan ‘F’ with another company. So, price is the only differentiating factor. Here are the steps to getting Medicare Supplement quotes:

  1. First and foremost, you must request them from an independent source, such as an independent Medicare insurance brokerage. An independent resource like this will give you quotes for a handful of the competitively priced companies for your age and zip code, so that you can compare them on your own time.
  2. Secondly, you must give honest and complete information so your quotes can be run accurately. Now, this doesn’t include giving them every piece of personal information you have – for example, to provide quotes, they shouldn’t need your social security number, bank information, etc. To successfully run quotes, all that is needed is age, zip code, gender, and tobacco usage. This will be enough information to give you the information you are looking for. If the source you are using is asking for additional information that you don’t feel comfortable giving out, we recommend using a different source to get your quotes.
  3. Once you have the quotes, you can easily compare plans and companies. Are you on a Medicare Supplement currently? If so, you can compare a “like” plan to see if you would be able to save any money for equal coverage. If you are turning 65, or going on Medicare for the first time, you can use the standardized coverage chart to see what each plan covers. Then from there, you can choose a plan and compare rates using the Medicare Supplement quotes.

If you have any questions or want to get your own set of quotes to compare to your current plan (if you already have one) or other plans you are considering (if you are going on Medicare), please contact us on our website: Medicare Supplements. We are happy to provide the information you request, by email, in an easy-to-understand format.

Medicare Supplement – The Wave of the Future

Medicare Supplement insurance is the wave of the future for those turning 65 in the next few years, including the Baby Boomers who are reaching Medicare eligibility starting this year. Here are the top three reasons why we believe Medicare Supplements are the wave of the future:

  1. First and foremost, they put a limit on your out of pocket exposure. What many people do not realize is that Medicare has no limit on out of pocket exposure. In other words, if you rack up a huge medical bill and have only Medicare insurance, you pay an unlimited 20%. There is no “cap” on what you would have to pay. The main thing that a Medicare Supplement plan does is to eliminate that unlimited amount and put a cap on your “exposure” to medical costs.
  2. Secondarily, they provide predictable out of pocket expenses. With a Medicare Supplement, you can know, in advance, your medical costs for the year, down to the penny. This is simply not possible with other types of health insurance or at other stages in your life. This kind of predictability and stability, especially when you are over 65, is priceless. Essentially, with most of the Medicare Supplement plans, you just pay the monthly premium then you have no additional out of pocket costs. Even on the plans that do have some deductibles or co-pays that are not covered, you can add those on to the premium to figure your total out of pocket costs for the year.
  3. The ever-increasing costs of medical care and treatment. Medical costs continue to skyrocket. What else can you think of that you don’t know the cost of something until it is completed. There is no “menu”, when going to the doctor’s office. You are dealing with your health and simply cannot base your decisions on price. However, these costs can be exorbitant and they are certainly continuing to rise. Medical inflation has generally outpaced inflation in other arenas by a good bit and most believe it will continue to do so. What this means is that you should seek to limit your “exposure” to this, when possible. A Medicare Supplement plan makes this possible.

Altogether, Medicare Supplement insurance allows you to limit your exposure, have predictable expenses, and avoid the ever-increasing health care costs. For these reasons, it is essential for those 65 and over to have some sort of Medicare supplement plan. If you want more information or Medicare supplement quotes, please visit our website to learn more.

Medicare Supplement Underwriting Guidelines – What You Need to Know

Medicare supplement insurance plans use medical underwriting to screen potential applicants. While pre-existing conditions are not as big of a concern with Medigap plans as they are with under-65 health insurance, this type of plan does approve or deny an applicant based on their health (with some exceptions – see below). So, when you apply for a Medicare supplement or when you are comparing plans, you need to endeavor to understand the differences in medical underwriting from company to company.

Typically, Medicare supplement underwriting questions are very similar. Companies, in nearly almost all cases, ask about things like COPD, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, hospital or nursing facility confinement, etc. Most companies also ask for a list of your current medications to determine your eligibility will be.

There are some very important, notable exceptions to the general underwriting guidelines. These exceptions are called ‘guaranteed issue’ and ‘open enrollment’. Guaranteed issue is when you receive approval into a Medicare supplement plan with no medical questions asked at all. You qualify for guaranteed issue when you are losing some other type of coverage, like employer coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan, when you move to a new state, or one of several other instances. Open enrollment occurs for Medicare supplement plans when you are BOTH age 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B. For most people, this is the first day of the month that you turn 65 through 6 months from that date. During this time, you also do not have to answer medical questions on the application, regardless of plan or company that you choose.

Underwriting guidelines for Medicare Supplements vary greatly from company to company. It is very important to know what different companies look for when underwriting an application. This can help prevent an unnecessarily declined application and make for a smoother overall process. The most effective way to get this information is to work with an independent agent who is familiar with the different underwriting guidelines from all the different companies. They can help you evaluate which companies are more stringent on underwriting and which companies would be the best fit for you. If you are in good health, it may be to your advantage to be with a company that is more stringent than others, since on average, the people with that company may be healthier (can lead to fewer claims and fewer rate increases).

If you would like more information or to get Medicare supplement insurance underwriting information, please contact us on our website at Medigap quotes.