Your doctor or dentist sends you a postcard or gives you a phone call when it’s time for your annual or bi-annual check-up. This is important to your physical health – ensures that any medications are doing their job and being administered in the correct dosages, it can be preventive of future problems. In short, it helps to maintain your health. Likewise, doing a periodic check-up on your Medigap insurance is a crucial part of any sound financial plan.
Medigap insurance, if you don’t already know, is the type of insurance that people on Medicare obtain to fill in the gaps in Medicare Parts A and B. These plans are Federally-standardized, so coverage is the same from one company to another. However, costs can vary considerably. For example, the same Plan F with one company may be $145/month while it is $100/month with a different company (all Plan F’s provide the same coverage and work the same way).
For this very significant reason, it is essential to perform a periodic check-up of your Medicare Supplement insurance. I typically recommend that you do this on an annual basis, although I have some clients that do it every two years. Regardless of how often you do it, it is essential that it gets done.
So, what exactly does this look like – a Medicare Supplement check-up? Well, first and foremost, it is essential to understand the basic tenets of Medigap insurance (the terms Medigap and Medicare Supplement are interchangeable). The basic tenets are: the plans are standardized, the coverage is the same from one company to the next, the claims are all paid through the same Medicare “crossover” system, and there is not an annual enrollment period (you can change at any time).
Next, you can simply compare the rates for the plan that you have. If you have Plan F, for example, as around 40% of people do, you can compare other Plan F rates very easily. If you find one that is less expensive, which is very likely if you have been in the plan more than a year, you can simply change plans and realize an instant savings for the same coverage.
Because this is our specialty, we work with many clients who are doing this. Some of the biggest concerns/questions are changing plans and the perceived “risk” of getting with a company that does not “pay as well”. It is important to understand that, with Medigap policies, companies pay through the Medicare “crossover” system, so claims are paid on the same time schedule in the same amount, regardless of company. There are, literally, no experiential differences from one company to the next.
So, what are you waiting for? Whether it is through us (compare Medigap rates) or someone else, get the comparison of the Medigap plans in your area. Compare the rates to what you are paying now and see if you can save yourself some money.