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Switching Medicare Supplement Plans – Tips

Should you consider switching Medicare supplement plans?Dice says Yes - No- Maybe

The majority of people who purchase a Medicare supplement policy stick with it and endure the pain of premium increases. You may find yourself in a similar situation, where you are generally happy with your coverage but not happy that the premiums continue to rise.

There is also a small percentage of people who purchase a Medicare supplement based on the advice of a commission-hungry insurance agent with a limited number of offerings, and realize they have chosen the wrong plan.

If you fall into either one of these groups, you may be wondering whether switching Medicare supplement policies is a good idea. If you are unhappy with your current Medigap policy or if the premium increases are becoming untenable, exploring your options may be the right thing to do.

Tips for switching Medicare supplement plans

The following tips are primarily for people who are not entitled to either an open enrollment period or guaranteed issue rights. Admittedly, the best time to choose a policy is during these times, but you are not limited to enrollment during these times either.

1. Recognize that a Medicare supplement is not the same as a Medicare Advantage plan, nor is it subject to the same enrollment periods and guidelines. If you are interested in switching Medicare supplement plans, there is no reason to wait until the Fall enrollment period that is in effect for Advantage plans and Medicare Part D.

2. Since Medicare supplement policies are not subject to the same guidelines as Medicare Advantage plans, you will probably be subject to medical underwriting.

3. You should educate yourself to the plans available and what benefits they offer. Comparing supplemental policies is much easier than comparing Medicare Advantage plans because supplements are standardized from company to company. For instance, Medicare supplement Plan F will include the same level of coverage no matter which company is offering the plan.

4. If your aim is to lower the premium, you can either shop different companies for the same plan or explore the option of a plan with less coverage or greater cost sharing such as Medicare supplement Plan N.

5. If you stay with the same insurance company and choose a lesser plan, you may avoid the underwriting process.

6. Compare several companies as premiums can vary widely.

7. Do not cancel your current supplement until you have been issued a new policy and are sure of its effective date.


Your options when comparing plans

You can generally compare Medicare supplement policies in one of two ways; you can contact a local insurance agent or do you shopping online.

When dealing with an insurance agent, it’s best to shop with an agent who represents several companies and can comparison shop companies for the best rate. If you are being shown rates from one or two insurance companies, it’s time to find a new agent.

Shopping for quotes
on supplemental policies online is often quicker and will generally give you a larger choice of companies and plans to choose from. If you are reluctant to enter your email address or phone number, consider calling the company yourself if a phone number is listed. This will put you in the driver’s seat.

It doesn’t hurt to explore your options of switching Medicare supplement plans and may actually save you some money or get you a more suitable plan. To compare all plans in your area visit the EHealthInsurance website.

 

4 comments

  1. As an alternative to talking to an insurance broker, people can contact their state’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) where trained a and certified volunteer counselors can provide free confidential and unbiased advice on the selection of Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Drug plans. They can usually be contacted thru local Offices on Aging.

  2. Norman, Great advice.

  3. I am considering Plan F. Is the annual $2,000 deductible a required payment in addition to the monthly premium?

  4. Melvina, The are two versions of Plan F. Only the High-Deductible Plan F will require that you pay the $2000 prior to the plan paying for any covered services. The non-deductible option is the most popular Medicare supplement nationwide and benefits are paid without a required deductible.

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