Best Medigap Plans for People Turning 65

best medigap plansIf you already understand what the plans cover, and want to skip ahead to find out which plan has the best rates for your zip code, click here.

When you are turning 65 or going on Medicare for the first time, there is an abundance of information available to you. There are several different types of plans and numerous companies that sell each type of plan. Moreover, the plans vary by geographic location, state or county (Medigap plans vary by zip code). There are a couple of variables that determine which plan is the “best”.

The two variables that deserve consideration in this are the PLAN that is best for you and the COMPANY that is best. Since Medigap plans are standardized – that is, all companies are required to offer the same coverage plans – the first thing that you have to decide is which plan you want. Here is the chart that shows what the different plans cover: Medigap Coverage Chart.

Determining which plan is right for you is a product of your health status and financial position. The top plans, Plan F and Plan C, are obviously the most expensive. However, they are also the most comprehensive. Plan F pays everything that Medicare A & B do not cover so that you do not have any out of pocket costs. However, often, Plan G is a better value than Plan F, the only difference being that it does not pay the Medicare Part B deductible (which for 2017 is $183/year). Typically, the premium savings is far greater than that Part B deductible amount.

Also, Plan F is being eliminated in 2020. This will likely lead to more/higher rate increases on that plan as compared to other plans.

The plan level below Plan G is Plan N. This plan is also a good alternative for people who are either in good health or have limited financial resources (but want the security and flexibility of a Medigap plan). There are other plans – 10 in total – but these three are the most commonly offered plans, and these three represent a top, middle and lower level of coverage. So deciding between those three is typically a good way to simplify it for most people, at least as a starting point.

Once you know which plan you want, the next step is figuring out which company has the best rates for that plan. These rates vary greatly by zip code, so it is essential to compare based on specific rates for your situation. You can call all the insurance companies to get these rates, or better yet, use an independent Medigap agent to compile them for you and provide you with that information.

Once you have the rates for the various plan options, it is very easy to compare and choose based on the rates and the company ratings/reputations. We would always recommend choosing the lowest rate for a specific plan, as long as it is from a relatively stable company.

If you have specific question or want to discuss the best Medigap plans for your area, contact us online or call us at 877.506.3378.

 

Medigap Rate Going Up Mid-Year – Don’t Get Mad, Get Even!

Did your Medigap rate go up in the middle of year? Don’t get mad – get even. Contrary to popular misconception, you can change Medigap plans at any time – not just at the end of the year. So there is no reason to pay “extra” premium since coverage is the same with all of the plans.

So, if your Medigap rates go up – and they will – the first thing you should do is see what other options are available for your age and zip code. It is likely that you can reduce your costs for equal coverage. In most states, there are 50 or so companies that do Medigap plans and each of them may be competitively priced in different areas, at different ages or for different standardized plans.

Many people make choosing a Medigap plan out to be a “lifetime” decision. While it is certainly ideal to choose a plan that is continually the most competitively priced and most financially stable, the reality is that insurance rates go up – Medigap rates go up, just like your homeowners or auto insurance rates. If you do not “shop” it to make sure you have the best deal, put simply, you won’t have the best deal.

So, when your rate goes up, what should you do?

  1. First, pay close to attention to how much it is going up and when. This information will be important to know in “shopping” other rates. Also, make sure you know which plan you have (i.e. G, F, N). Since plans are standardized, you can compare “like” plans.
  2. Second, we recommend that you contact an independent brokerage so that you can compare multiple companies in a centralized, unbiased place. While you can certainly call all of the 50 or so companies individually to get their rates, it does not cost you anything to use an independent broker. In fact, the knowledge that they hold can be invaluable, save you hundreds of dollars and is free to you.
  3. Compare plans with an independent broker. This can typically be done online if you are familiar with using a computer. Be careful about sites that display the rates online. There are two problems with this – it is very difficult to keep (and therefore very unlikely) these rates up to date as rates are always changing. Second, some companies do not allow their rates to be published online, so it is likely that you are receiving partial information. Most agencies will send you this information by email without requesting personal information.
  4. Once you have the information, you can compare “like” plans and make an informed, educated decision. The two factors to look at are rates and ratings. It is best to be with a higher rated company, all other things being equal, but the premium is the most important thing to consider.

If you have any questions about this process or would like to get a Medicare Supplement comparison for yourself (even if your rate didn’t just go up), it is likely that you can save money. You can reach us at 877.506.3378 or online at Medigap-Quote.com.

Online Medigap Quotes – What You Can Get Online and How To Get It

Getting online Medigap quotes is increasingly easy to do. Many people choose this method for comparing and selecting plans, and it is, in most cases, the most advantageous way to “shop around” in an unbiased and low-hassle way. Many insurance companies in the Medicare Supplement marketplace do not allow their rates to be publicly-published online, so the way to see quotes for all of the options in your area is to receive them by email. There are companies out there that promise to offer the rates online; however, keep in mind that you will not be seeing all of the options as many companies have strict regulations against publication of their rates on public-facing computer systems.

So, what are the steps to getting a Medigap quote online? It’s pretty easy to do really. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. The first step is to understand what you are looking for and what the plans cover. There are 10 standardized Medigap plans. All companies are required to offer from this standardized list of plans, although they don’t have to offer all 10. So, comparing plans is relatively easy – an ‘F’ plan with one company is the same as an ‘F’ plan with another. Two important things to note that are common misconceptions and relate to understanding the plans:
    • There is NOT an annual enrollment period for Medigap. You can enroll in, change or disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan at any time.
    • Medicare Advantage plans are NOT Medicare Supplements. These plans cannot be compared to Medigap plans because they are completely different in how they work, what they cover, etc. (Difference Between Medigap and Medicare Advantage).
  2. After you have a basic understanding of the plans, how they work, etc. you should request the information from an independent brokerage. Whether it is us or someone else, we would strongly recommend using an independent broker. The advantage to doing this versus using a “captive” agent is that you can compare in an unbiased way and make a full comparison of all of the options. To request information, go to a brokerage website and enter accurate information. If the site is asking for information that you do not want to give, simply don’t give it. Keep looking. The only information needed to run and send a quote is date of birth, zip code, gender, and email. Request a quote comparison from us.
  3. Once you have the information, you can compare the plans that are available and make a wise choice from the plans that are offered. Always base your decision primarily on rates and secondarily on other factors such as the rating of the company.

If you have any questions about this information or if we can assist in any way, please contact us by email or call us at 877.506.3378. Alternatively, you can request information on our website at Medigap-Quote.com.

Medigap Plans FAQ: What Do the Different Standardized Plans Cover?

Medigap plans are standardized – each company has to offer the same coverage plans that come from the standardized plans chart. See: Standardized plans coverage chart. All of the plans have some basic tenets and characteristics that apply to all plans from all companies. Below, we’ve listed a few of those, essential to a basic understanding of the similarities before endeavoring to understand the differences:

  • First and foremost, all of the plans can be used at anywhere that takes Medicare nationwide. Medigap plans are non-network plans.
  • All plans work with Medicare – they do not replace Medicare (i.e. Medicare Advantage). And, claims are all paid, regardless of the plan or company, through the Medicare “Crossover” system (automated).
  • There are four total benefits that all Medigap plans contain some form of coverage for (most plans account for full coverage of all of these benefits – see chart for full details). Those four benefits are: Medicare Part A coinsurance hospital benefits, Hospice care coinsurance, Blood, and Preventive Care coinsurance

So, now that we understand what all of the Medigap plans have in common – how are they different?

First of all, let’s divide the plans into three groups:

The Common Plans

It makes sense to start with the top level of coverage, Plan F. Up until 2010, there was a plan called Plan J, which was the top level of Medigap coverage. In 2010, Medicare enveloped some of the benefits that differentiated ‘J’ and ‘F’. So, ‘J’ was eliminated and ‘F’ stood pat as the most comprehensive plan. Some ‘J’ policyholders still exist but the plan can no longer be sold to new applicants. Plan F pays everything that Medicare A & B do not cover so that you have no out of pocket costs at the doctor/hospital – no co-pays, deductibles or coinsurance.

One level down from that is Plan G. Plan G is the same as ‘F’ in every way except that it does not cover the Part B deductible. For 2012, that deductible is $140/year. Plan N is considered the next most commonly held plan and is a lower-cost alternative to ‘F’ and ‘G’. Plan N does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible (just like ‘G’). Also, it has a co-pay structure – $20 at the doctor’s office and $50 at the ER. Additionally, it does not cover the Medicare Part B excess charges.

The Similar Plans

By similar, I mean that these plans are similar to the plans that are mentioned above. In this category, I would put Plans C, D, and M. These plans are not offered by nearly as many companies as the three plans listed above, and thus, are not nearly as popular. Plan C is very similar to Plan F – the only difference is that it doesn’t cover the Part B Excess charges. Plan D is very similar to Plan G for the same reason – it does not cover the Part B excess charges (in addition to not cover the Medicare Part B deductible). Lastly, Plan M is similar to Plan N. It is a tradeoff – on ‘N’, you have the co-pay structure mentioned above, but on ‘M’, you don’t have the co-pays. In their place, you have coverage of only 50% of the Medicare Part A (hospital) deductible.

The Leftover Plans

Of the 10 total plans, that leaves 4 other plans that have not been discussed. The plans have, between the four of them, less than 10% market share, so they are not very commonly offered and not very often used. These plans are: A, B, K and L. These benefits on these plans speak for themselves on the Medigap coverage chart. And, even if you decide one of these plans is for you, you are relatively hard pressed to find any companies that offer it or any competitive pricing.

Do you have questions about what the plans cover? Or, questions about how they work? Medigap-Quote.com is a leading, independent brokerage that can help you compare all of the plans for your age and zip code in an unbiased way, without having to meet with anyone or talk to an agent. If you have questions or do wish to speak with someone, please call us at 877.506.3378. Or, you can visit us online at: Medigap-Quote.com.

Frequently Asked Question: Does Medicare Cover X-Rays?

Let’s face it – Medicare can be confusing. There are many frequently asked questions that people on Medicare often ask. One of these such questions is whether Medicare covers x-rays and other diagnostic procedures/tests. So, does Medicare cover x-rays? The short answer is, yes, Medicare does cover diagnostic tests and x-rays. Generally speaking, Medicare covers these at 80%. If you have a Medicare supplement plan (a Medigap – NOT a Medicare Advantage – which are not Medicare Supplements) picks up the other 20%.

X-rays are covered under Medicare Part B. Part B covers many outpatient services/procedures, including doctor’s services, ambulance services, outpatient therapy services, some chiropractic care, and home health services, in addition to x-rays and other diagnostic services.

Medicare will only pay for these Part B-covered services if they are medically necessary and performed by a provider that accepts Medicare patients.

Part B is the optional part of Medicare. If you are still working when you turn 65, you are not automatically enrolled in Part B. So, you should make sure that you are enrolled in Part B if you are trying to find out if a procedure was, or will be, covered. To have the full, “original” Medicare coverage, you must have both parts of Medicare – Part A and Part B.

If you have questions about Medicare itself, or Medigap plans, which are designed to fill in the gaps in Medicare and pay what Medicare does not pay – please contact us at 877.506.3378 or on our website at Medigap-Quote.com.

The Three Step Process to Changing Medigap Plans

Changing Medigap plans is relatively easy to do. More importantly, it is essential to do – or at the least, to compare the options – on an ongoing basis every few years. Medigap plans are completely standardized by the Federal government – this means that all plans are the same, regardless of which company sells it to you. For example, a Plan F with one company is the exact same as a Plan F with another company. Often, though, rates can vary widely, as much as $100/month for the same coverage. So, comparing the options, and changing if necessary, is a vital part of your sound financial plan once on Medicare.

So, what is the process for changing plans, if you elect to do so? It is very easy to do:

  1. First and foremost, understand what you have, what the plans are and how to compare them. So many people that we speak with every day do not realize or understand what plan they have or how the plans work. The plans are standardized, as mentioned above, so that means YOUR Plan G is not any different from a different Plan G. Also, all plans pay the same way, can be used anywhere that takes Medicare and use the Medicare “Crossover” system to pay claims. Next, you should understand how to compare plans. Once you understand that the plans are standardized, understand that you can compare plans to see if there is equal coverage for a lower price.
  2. Compare the options from an unbiased source. Unbiased is the key word here. There are many sources out there for comparing/purchasing a Medigap plan. But it is important to use an independent agent, primarily for their expertise and ability to compare all plans in a centralized place. An agent that sells one company is, obviously, going to tout their company, but it is more advantageous for you to compare using an independent agent.
  3. Make the move – apply for a new plan for a future effective date, then once approved, cancel the old plan, effective the same date the new plan starts. Once you have compared the plans available in your zip code, based on monthly premiums and company reliability, you can simply choose a plan and apply. You will apply for a future effective date – usually, at least 2-3 weeks in advance. Then, once it is approved, you will cancel your “old” plan effective the same date that the new plan starts. This way there is no lapse or overlap in coverage.

Medigap-Quote.com and Secure Medicare Solutions help hundreds of people change to lower cost plans each year. Our job is to provide a full comparison of all the plans for your age and zip code, as well as providing information about which companies have been most reliable/stable over time. Once you have that information, we can work with you to help you decide on a plan and reduce your costs. If you would like to reduce your premium and have had your current plan over 12 months, you can easily do so. Contact us at 877.506.3378 or Medigap-Quote.com Quotes.

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