Shopping for a Medicare Supplement, aka a Medigap policy to fill in gaps of medical bills you may have that are not addressed in original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) can be frustrating and confusing to some seniors. Finding the best Medicare supplement doesn’t have to be as tricky as the rest of this sounds, but you do want your coinsurance and deductibles paid.
Many who just have the basic Part A coverage start searching for a prescription program they can afford only to find out that in order to get medigap coverage, they need to have Part B as well, in order to move forward.
It is a fact that in order to qualify and qualify to offer Medigap insurance plans, companies must first be approved by Medicare as well as each state they wish to do business in. It’s also a fact that in order for these insurance companies to be approved, they must all offer the same plans. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarity ends, and the pricing battle begins.
While there are 10 different Medigap plan to choose from, each with slightly different benefits, there really are just a few that are the most popular. That being said, there is a correct process to not only determine which plan is best for you, but to also not pay too much for it.
The “shock factor” for you may come when you begin to find out, in your search, how these companies decide your premium pricing costs. Even though they already know your age since you can’t reach this plateau without having previously qualified, you will still be asked your age, zip code, male or female gender, and with some carriers your current tobacco use. So it breaks down like this:
- Attained age pricing appears to be the most common method of making any price determination. That along with the cost of medical inflation each year will also be a factor.
- Issue age pricing is not a factor used by many insurance companies. Some still use this factor which is where you set your own rates at a certain age and it remains fixed. But there is a “gotcha” for them called “medical inflation.”
- Community rating pricing is a plan used for certain areas; but it will cost you more. So total your particular needs, what you can afford, check out at least four or five different companies, sleep on it, and then make your choice.
Choosing an insurance policy is always about minimizing risk, while balancing with your monthly budget. Therefore enrolling in say, a Medigap plan F simply because it offers the most benefits might actually end up costing you money.
There is no one “Best Medicare Supplement” as you’re budget likely differs greatly from your neighbor’s. Using an independent agent that is authorized to offer all the top companies is the best place to start. After which they can shop the rates and determine which plan fits your needs the best while staying within your budget.