Medicare Supplement Plans – What You Need to Know

Medicare is a great option to pay for your older health care costs. Medicare Solutions Team covers hospital stays (Part A), and routine doctor visits. But Medicare doesn’t cover all the costs you’ll incur, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. It doesn’t cover certain services like prescription drugs.

To help you pay these out of pocket expenses, you can purchase a Medicare Supplement plan. These plans are also known by the name Medigap and are available from many insurance companies.

When is it a good idea to buy a Medicare Supplement policy?

When you become eligible for Original Medicare, usually around the age of 65, you should enroll in a Medicare Supplement policy. However, you can also choose to purchase a Medicare supplement policy at any time throughout your life. Before you make a decision on a policy, it is important to do your research.

Premium costs for Medicare Supplement policies

Before you buy a policy, you’ll want to see how an insurance company rates their Medicare supplement plans. To calculate your monthly premium, the company can use any one of three methods. This can have a significant impact on how much you pay over the long-term and short-term.

Issue-age rating

Some Medicare supplement insurance companies will charge you a rate that is based on your age at the time that you bought the policy. These plans are called issue age rated plans. They are usually less expensive that those that use an achieved-age rating. These premiums make a good choice if you are younger and don’t expect to get Medicare.

Attained-age rating

An attained-age rating is a premium that is based on your age. Most Medicare supplement insurance companies use this rating. These plans are often less expensive than those that use issue-age rating, but they can increase in cost over time due to inflation.

How to Choose the Best Plan for You

Each Medicare supplement plan comes with standard benefits and is sold only by one company. This means you can shop for a Medicare supplement policy from a different company and get the same benefits. This allows you to compare premiums and customer services from multiple insurance companies before deciding on a policy.

Guaranteed Issue Rights

Some carriers have guaranteed issue rights, which mean you won’t be turned down for a Medicare supplement policy even if you aren’t a perfect candidate at the time of enrollment. This is especially important if you are under 65 or disabled.

The best time of year to purchase a Medicare supplement policy is during a one-time Medigap OPEN Enrollment Period. This starts when you are first eligible for Medicare Part B and lasts until the end. If you don’t enroll during this period, you will have to go through underwriting — a health exam — in order to get a Medigap policy.

If you’re not sure which Medicare supplement plan is best for you, a licensed insurance agent can help you find the plan that suits your needs. The agency can provide you with a list of top-rated companies and their Medicare supplement policies. They can also explain the different options, and help you decide which type of Medicare supplement plan fits your needs.

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