The ‘WHICH Supplement?’ question may seem complex but there is a limited number of choices. Your health insurance exchange (or State Health Insurance Assistance Program aka SHIP) can advise you but, in general terms insurance companies can only sell ‘standardized’ policies. Most States identify the plans alphabetically A-N. NOTE that plans C&F are no longer open to new entrants. (medicare.gov). Each plan offers different combinations of coverage to meet healthcare costs not met by the co-insurance, co-pays, and deductibles of your Medicare A and B policies.
WHEN is very straightforward? If you are approaching your sixty-fifth birthday you should be reviewing your history of care and medical expenses. Provided you have Medicare part B you have a six month ‘open enrollment’ period.
- The ‘open enrollment window’ starts the month in which you become 65
- During this period, you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state
- Even if you have existing (pre-existing) conditions.
- At the same price as people with good health
Beyond your ‘open enrollment’ period you may not be able to purchase a Medigap policy and at best, it will be subject to medical underwriting requirements.
The question remains. WHO should I buy my policy from? If you buy during your ‘open enrollment’ the benefits, the networks of provider and the costs will be virtually the same.
If you are dealing through an exchange (exchanges act independently- on your behalf, and there are no additional charges) they will ensure that the terms of your contract meet your state requirements and that your chosen insurer is “A” rated.
[If you are enrolling outside your ‘open enrollment’ you should make these checks yourself and be certain that you understand the limits of your annual and lifetime benefits.]
Brenda Swain, Medicare Sales Manager, TrueCoverage, confirms. ‘enroll during your open enrollment period, and bear in mind that unless you share birth months with your spouse you will have different enrollment periods’
Talk to our insurance agent to know more.
‘Essentially, there is not much difference between ‘A’ rated insurers. Our suggestions are based on our experience, working with them on behalf of clients.’
How good is their administration? How well do they respond to queries? How quickly do they pay?
Brenda goes on to say, ‘if price and benefits and service levels are similar it makes sense to consider the perks.’
You may be offered a ‘one-time’ gift if you sign within the next thirty days…THINK TWICE. A $10 pen even if inscribed with your name AND birth sign should not influence a lifetime decision.
Some insurers work with health industry partners to offer genuine wellbeing advantages.
For example, some insurance companies will facilitate or sponsor free or reduced-cost membership to health clubs; access to dental care, vision and hearing service providers.
‘these are lifetime benefits’…They could make all the difference.