5 Tips for Seniors to Get the Most Out of Medicare Supplemental Insurance
One of the biggest hurdles seniors face as they near retirement is finding a Medicare program to meet their healthcare needs. While Medicare offers many programs and coverage options to meet a variety of needs, it’s a confusing system to understand at first.
And, unfortunately, Medicare can only cover so much.
Thankfully, there are Medicare Supplemental Insurance options, or Medigap options, to offer additional coverage. Medigap is a healthcare policy that is added on to a Medicare policy to, as the name suggests, fill in any gaps.
For those considering Medicare Supplemental Insurance, here are five tips to get the most out of your policy.
1 – Purchase Medigap as Soon as You Qualify
You will qualify for Medigap the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. This is the start of your open enrollment period, which lasts six months.
If you’re serious about having a Medigap policy, you’re going to want to enroll as soon as you qualify. This period allows you to purchase policies at more competitive rates and doesn’t require any medical underwriting.
Because Medigap is private insurance, there’s no guarantee that you’ll qualify for a plan after this enrollment period.
2 – Check the Best Pricing for You
There are three main ways insurance companies set prices for their Medigap policies: Community-Rated, Issue-Age-Related, and Attained-Age-Related, which we’ve defined below.
Community-Rated – The same monthly premium is charged for everyone with the policy, no matter their age or health condition. This type of policy is beneficial for those who are older when they join the program.
Issue-Age-Rated – Your premium is based on how old you are when you purchase your Medigap policy and won’t change due to your age. This policy is beneficial for those who start their supplemental insurance when they’re younger.
Attained-Age-Rated – The premium is based on your age when you purchased the policy, making it cheaper for younger purchasers and more expensive for older purchasers. The premiums also increase as you get older. This policy is beneficial if you want to save money when you’re younger and know you can afford the higher payments as you get older.
For you to get the most out of your Medicare Supplemental Insurance, you’re going to spent time deciding which price policy works best for you. These price policies will affect you now and in the future.
3 – Look for Discounts
Your Medicare supplemental insurance policy cost will vary depending on a number of factors. One way to make sure you’re getting the best prices possible is to look for the discounts different insurance agencies offer.
There are all kinds of discounts available for Medigap policies, including:
- Paying Yearly
- Paying Electronically
- Multiple Policies
You never know what discounts you qualify if you don’t look. Make sure you check the insurance companies you’re comparing offer you every possible benefit.
4 – See if You Qualify for Medicare SELECT
Medicare SELECT is one Medigap policy offered in certain states. This specific policy requires you to use doctors and hospitals within a specific network. While this can limit where you can get treatment, the benefit of Medicare SELECT is the policies cost less than the other Medigap options.
If you’re interested in Medigap, check to see if your state has a Medicare SELECT option, so you can get covered for less.
However, be careful because if you get Medicare SELECT and use an unapproved hospital or doctor, you might have to cover what Medicare doesn’t.
5 – Check Your Guaranteed Issue
As mentioned in Point #1, the best time to purchase Medicare Supplemental Insurance is as soon as you qualify. However, if you’ve missed this window, there are still ways you can get a policy.
Guaranteed issue rights are your right to a Medigap policy, even after your enrollment window, under specific circumstances. Most of these guaranteed issues go into effect if there are changes with your Medicare policy.
If you’ve recently had a change in your Medicare and you missed your Medigap enrollment period, check to see if you qualify for any guaranteed issue rights.
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