Now is the time of year many people are thinking about their Medigap insurance. Although you can change plans at any time, and the upcoming end-of-year enrollment period does NOT apply to Medicare Supplements (Medigap) plans, many people use this time period to re-evaluate coverage, switch from Advantage to Medigap (if healthy enough to do so) or consider signing up for a plan for the first time. So, with that in mind, here are the top 10 reasons for signing up for a Medigap plan:
- First of all, it sets a ‘cap’ on your out of pocket exposure. With only Medicare, you are responsible for an unlimited 20% of medical charges. Medigap covers that 20% so you don’t have to pay it.
- Medigap plans are ‘guaranteed renewable’ – they can never be cancelled (unless you don’t pay the premium), regardless of changes in your health, etc.
- Medigap plans use underwriting. These seems like it would not be a reason to sign up for a Medigap plan. But on the contrary, this is a crucial reason for signing up for a plan when you are eligible. Eligibility is granted by turning 65, losing employer coverage, losing Advantage plan coverage, signing up for Part B for the first time, and several other specific instances. If you do not sign up during one of these periods, you would have to qualify medically for a plan and can be denied coverage or made to pay more (even AFTER 1/1/14 and PPACA).
- There are no networks. This is just what it sounds like. On a Medigap plan, you can go anywhere nationwide that takes Medicare – there are no networks.
- The plans are portable. In other words, if you are traveling, or even if you move, you can keep the same plan and the coverage will be the same since Medicare is a national program and the plans supplement Medicare.
- It’s very easy to understand and compare. Medigap plans are standardized, so comparing them is comparing ‘apples to apples’. One Plan F is the same as the next one. So, compare on price and company rating/reputation, because coverage is the same.
- Claims are handled automatically through the Medicare “crossover” system. You do not have to worry about filing claims, paying claims or whether or not a claim will be paid. This is all handled via the Medicare “crossover” system, which greatly simplifies everything for the consumer and takes the ‘headache’ out of using insurance.
- Plans don’t change each year. Unlike Medicare Advantage programs, which change each year, Medigap plans stay the same. Once you are on a plan, your benefits will not change “out from under you” as they do on the other type of Medicare plan.
- Coverage is comprehensive. On nearly all of the 10 standardized Medigap plans, coverage is much more comprehensive than what most people are accustomed to on an employer-type plan. Co-pays are minimal, if any, and some plans, such as Plan F, pay everything that Medicare A & B do not cover so that you don’t have any out of pocket costs.
- Security. This is really the number one reason people buy a Medigap plan. It secures financial future in the long-term because it gives you a set medical out of pocket each year, regardless of what your health is. And, although it should be purchased it when eligible or healthy, it carries you into the later years of your life, during which most people have the highest health care costs.
If you have any questions about Medigap or how it works, please contact us at 877.506.3378 or online at Medicare-Supplement.us.