Medicare Supplemental Insurance 2018
There are several Medicare supplement insurance firms operating through the country. Just about all offer policies with the aid of agents in order to promote enrollment and lower overhead.
First, it is very important to understand Medicare supplemental insurance costs are controlled legally. Which means that agents cannot undercut each other by providing better rates than a competitor nor can the insurance company underwriting the policy provide a different rate than the agents they will use to assist enroll members. Prices are exactly the same regardless of source so there isn't any monetary benefit to buying direct or pitting agents against each other.
This is why it can be a good idea to develop a relationship with an independent insurance agent while shopping around for Medicare supplement policies. The cost will be the same, but you will will also get the knowledge and experience form someone who works with several different companies.
Medicare supplement regulations are uniform in the benefits provided (a Plan F is really a Plan F), but there can be significant variances in price, underwriting standards, discounts, etc. between insurance providers; and there are key regulations which will differ from one state to another.
An Agent's Perspective Into Medicare supplemental insurance Insurance
Your broker plays a huge role in the insurance transaction. Knowledgeable agents can offer understanding of different regulations in your house state.
It may be very helpful to understand if your state offers supplemental coverage to those under age 65 - many do not. Or you might need to know if you're afforded an open enrollment window or anniversary every year where similar coverage can be purchased without underwriting.
One of the most common misconceptions with Medicare supplemental insurance coverage is that newer, more affordable coverage can be purchased every year during open enrollment from November 15th to December 31st. This is simply not the situation. The annual open enrollment period is for changing prescription Part D plans, dis-enrolling from the Medicare Advantage plan, or changing to a different Medicare Advantage plan. It's not however a period when you can purchase a brand new supplement without medical underwriting every year.
There are a few states that offer open enrollment windows to Medicare beneficiaries each year when (like or lesser) coverage can be purchased without underwriting. For instance, California and Missouri both offer open enrollment periods every year, but they include your birthday month and anniversary month respectively. Most other states however don't have any such rules and medical underwriting will often be expected.
If you live in a state with no yearly open enrollment window, then oftentimes your have to be in reasonably good health to alter plans. You will see exceptions to this rule too however. Some insurance companies will relax their underwriting standards every so often.
For instance, there is one insurance provider that offers Plan N with little to no underwriting. There's another that bases their eligibility on whether you are within 3 years of enrolling in Medicare Part B. There's still another which has temporarily allowed consumers to switch to like or lesser coverage without any underwriting at all - no matter age, health, and/or any open enrollment restrictions.
Medicare Insurance Discounts and Perks
When you are enrolling in supplemental coverage, it's a good idea to allow your agent know if a spouse might be joining you soon if s/he is not yet 65 or still employed. Some insurance providers provide valuable marital discounts that whenever combined will offer you significant savings on the competitor.
Additionally, several providers offer free or discounted gym memberships. This program is usually known as silver sneakers and can help offset premiums that might otherwise be less attractive initially.
Additionally, some carriers underwrite to unisex rates while some have separate pricing models for guys and some women. And in some cases, supplement policies can be more or less expensive based on your zip code.
As you can tell in the state and insurance company specific rules and nuances listed above that the Medicare supplement companies are fluid. As the benefits will always be the same for like coverage regardless of carrier, other variables can be quite a bit different - including underwriting which is one of the most key elements.
Again, this is why the agent is essential. If you're unacquainted with the often changing state and/or federal rules governing Medicare insurance or you are not familiar with the numerous variables affecting underwriting, then you can be passing up on opportunities to enroll in less expensive coverage.