When can I buy a Medigap policy?

Are you turning 65 soon?  You might find out that looking through Medicare options is like trying to put together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.  Fortunately, in this and upcoming blogs, we have selected some frequently asked questions to talk about in more detail.  

We hear this question all the time; “When can I buy a Medigap policy?”  The good news is you can buy Medigap (Medicare Supplement) at any time throughout the year and you don’t have to wait until October 15 – December 7.  The stipulation is, you might have to go through underwriting to qualify for a different Medigap policy. 

In this blog, we will outline:

(1) When you can purchase a Medigap policy without having to go through underwriting.

(2) What is underwriting?

(3) When you can change your Medigap policy if you aren’t happy with it. 

If you purchase your Medigap policy when you are first eligible for Medicare, you can purchase any policy sold in your state without having to go through underwriting.  This means if you have any health problems, you can purchase a Medigap policy at the same rate as a healthy person, if you purchase it within your open enrollment period.  Each person’s open enrollment period will start the first day their Medicare Part B is effective and it will last for 6 months. 

If you decide to change your Medigap policy outside of your open enrollment period, typically you will go through underwriting.  This means, if you have some health problems, the insurance companies could either deny coverage or charge you more due to certain health conditions.  Keep in mind, even though Medigap policies are standardized, the health questions are not.  So, just because you may not qualify for one carrier doesn’t mean that you will be turned down for another carrier.  Check with our advisors to see if there is an option that fits your needs. 

If you are about to lose your group health coverage, you might be eligible for Guaranteed Issue, which is another way you can purchase a Medigap policy without having to go through underwriting.  There are many different qualifications for a Guaranteed Issue period.  Please click here to learn more about your Medicare rights.

To compare prices of different Medigap policies and carriers available in your state, click here.

Now that you know you don’t have to wait until October 15 – December 7 to make changes to your Medigap policy, and you know a little more about changing your Medigap (Medicare Supplement), please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (877) 759-5760 or send us an email at seniorservices@morganwhite.com with any questions you may have pertaining to your specific situation.  Be sure to mention you heard about us through our blog!  Have a great day! 

Source:  Medicare.gov

2014 Medicare Supplement Insurance

Are you wondering what changes the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) has in store for 2014 Medicare Supplement Insurance?  Most consumers are confused about what changes they should expect from this type of insurance coverage.  Some commonly asked questions are: Will they still ask health questions on the application?  Will the 2014 Medicare Supplement Insurance be subject to the health insurance tax of 8 billion in 2014?

In this article we will cover these common questions and inform you of what to expect out of your Medigap planContinue reading

Underwriting Medicare Supplement Plans

Before jumping into the Medicare Supplement market, companies must figure out the different risks and rewards to being in the business. There are a lot of factors to consider when looking at underwriting Medicare supplement plans.  There are actuarial tables for rates, underwriting health questions to determine eligibility, state laws to comply with, federal regulated benefits to adhere to, and many other factors that go into underwriting Medicare supplement plans.  This article should help people realize some of the risk factors that have to be considered.

Underwriting Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement Insurance Premiums by Medicare Insurance Finders

Underwriting Medicare Supplement Plans – Actuarial Tables

This is probably the easiest of things for an insurance company to complete since they typically will pay an outside actuarial company to handle rate tables.  However, prior to  the actuarial figures there are many things that are needed:

  • What states will the company be issuing policies?
  • What are the underwriting requirements in those states?

Premium Rates & Rate Increase Strategy

What is commonly seen in the Medigap world is a company that comes out with a super low rate and everyone flocks to that plan (healthy and unhealthy). Once this plan becomes loaded up and the premium is on the books, claims start to hit the books.   Then as claims begin to come in the low rate increases take place – sometimes these rate increases occur even when loss ratios are low to help prevent large increases the following year.

However, all you need is a few cancer patients or individuals with ESRD to have some high claims come in and raise the premiums for everyone on the group.  INSURANCE COMPANIES CAN NOT RAISE THE RATES FOR AN INDIVIDUAL!! THEY MUST RAISE RATES FOR THE WHOLE GROUP. 

Introduce Different Medigap Plans

One strategy that was common several years ago which has not been seen recently was introducing plans A-G and then introducing alternative plans several years later after the Plan F & G had received high rate increases.  This hit a high right before the 2010 Medicare Modernization Act, when the Plan J was popular; however, no company to my recollection has done this with the Plan N.

The purpose of this was for an insurance company to be able to stay in the state while being able to raise their rates on plans that needed rate increases.  Certain plans are not Guaranteed Issue plans which helps prevent high risk individuals from coming onto these plans.

State Laws to Consider

Each state has different laws that must be followed when underwriting Medicare Supplement plans.  You can view an article on our Medicare Insurance Finders website to see different MEDIGAP LAWS and how they vary state to state.  These laws make it complicated for an insurance company to have a universal application that works in each state as well as having underwriters trained on general questions.  Instead, they have to know and understand state specific laws.

An Example would be Tennessee asking their tobacco question in their health questions section of the application.  This means that individuals in Open Enrollment who use tobacco get non-tobacco rates.  An insurance company has to account for how many tobacco users are on non-tobacco rates because of when they signed up for their health plan.

To learn more about Medicare Supplement Insurance contact us at 1-877-936-2991.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans area available in all 50 states through Medicare Insurance Finders.  We provide online rates with over 25 insurance companies in less than 2 minutes.  Our website is one of the only online sites that actually provides you with supplemental insurance quotes online.

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans help supplement Original Medicare.  This means that they pick up the deductibles and coinsurance that you are probably accustomed to paying.  There are 10 standardized plans as you can see in the chart below, but Plans F, G, and N make up probably 75% of the enrollments.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Medicare Supplement Insurance Outline of Coverage

Continue reading

Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement

Are you looking for a Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement Plan?  These Medigap plans are available through Medicare Insurance Finders, but before we explain which states their premiums are competitive in there are some basics you should know about the company.

Stonebridge Life Company Overview

Stonebridge LIfe is an AEGON company.  They employ roughly 29,500 people and have over 40 million customers across the globe.  Stonebridge Life Insurance Company is licensed in all 50 states minus New York, and services 3.7 million people in the US through life, health, accident and dental insurance plans.  They are an A+ rated insurance company through AM Best.

Recently they decided to offer a Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement.  Since these plans are standardized across the country their benefits will not be reviewed in this article, but it is good to know that they will have competitive rates in certain states.  They also decided to issue an E-app which is available for telelphonic enrollment.  If you need to enroll in a Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement call 1-877-936-2991.

Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement

Stonebridge Life Insurance Company

Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement Rates

Two states in which Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement Rates will be extremely competitive are Michigan and Florida.  In the state of Florida, their Medicare Supplement Rates are roughly 10% cheaper than United Healthcare and in some cases $100 cheaper or more per month than Mutual of Omaha.

Compare Medigap Plans

The important thing to remember when comparing Medigap plans is that these plans are standardized, so premiums play a very important factor.  Also make sure to choose a carrier that is secure rated with AM Best and has some credibility in the insurance market.

To Compare Stonebridge Medigap Plans go to the Medicare Quote Engine for instant online rates with over 25 insurance companies across the country in less than 2 minutes.  If you would like to speak with someone over the phone call 1-877-936-2991, a senior market advisor can advise you on the different plans available.

Medigap Changes – Affordable Care Act

Today I was notified of recent reports of Medigap Changes that are trying to get pushed through with the Affordable Care Act (OBAMA-CARE).  The major change that is trying to get pushed through is “add cost-sharing to Medigap plans.”  We have mentioned this in several other articles but will re-describe what new changes have risen.

The reason the Medigap changes are being discussed for policies like the “Medigap Plan F” is because there is no cost sharing on these plans.  Many believe this causes over utilization by beneficiaries; however they do not consider the unintended impacts this has on beneficiaries.

Medigap Changes – Cost Sharing Implementation

This has not been passed yet but below are some of the effects this could have on Medicare beneficiaries.

  1. This is believed to cause a Medicare Beneficiary to avoid going to the hospital/doctors office for care.  Which could possibly worsen their health in the long haul. 
  2. Medigap Plan F premiums would shoot through the roof if this cost sharing was eliminated on new plans.  Why? That is because there would be no new beneficiaries coming onto the plan so the only people left on these plans would be individuals with health issues that could not change.

 Is there anything else being discussed as possible changes for Medigap policies?

  1. Benefit redesigns that would redistribute cost burdens (This already happened with the Medicare Modernization Act of 2010)
  2. Prohibiting or taxing Medigap “First Dollar Coverage” (mentioned above)
  3. Raising Medicare age
  4. Other things as well that are a little too complicated to review in a short article.

We recommend choosing a Plan G Medicare Supplement  which can avoid possible Medigap Changes.  This plan will also prevent higher rate increases which can come from Guaranteed Issue supplemental plans. You should call 1-877-936-2991 today to get a cost comparison completed of the Plan F and Plan G policies.

Medigap Changes Plan F

Possible Medigap Changes to the Plan F – Thanks to the Affordable Care Act

North Dakota Medicare Supplement Insurance

North Dakota Medicare Supplement Insurance is the plan of choice for retirees in North Dakota.  Some states like Florida and Hawaii have a high percentage of their Medicare eligible seniors enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, but not North Dakota with a strong 51% enrolled in a Medigap Policy.

Like all states, North Dakota Medicare Supplement Insurance is standardized and provides benefits that are regulated with Federal laws that describe what the basic benefits must cover.   States will then and go regulate how insurance companies market these plans in their specific states.  Review the Medigap State Laws article by Medicare Insurance Finders for more information on this.

North Dakota Medicare Supplement Insurance

What do these plans look like

North Dakota Medicare Supplement Insurance

Medicare Supplement Insurance Outline of Coverage

North Dakota Insurance companies – Offering Medigap Plans

There are numerous companies that offer medicare supplement insurance in North Dakota.  There are large insurance companies like: Mutual of Omaha, AARP/United Healthcare, Cigna, Aetna, American Continental, Continental Life and other companies that offer insurance plans all across the country.

Something to remember is that insurance companies come and go.  They do not necessarily leave but they may quit marketing their plan or writing new business.  This makes the average consumer believe that they are no longer in business; however, they have just quit promoting their product because of price points or loss ratios.

North Dakota Medicare Supplement Rates

How do I get medicare supplement quotes?

The best way to get Medicare Supplement quotes is through Medicare Insurance Finders.  Rates are provided in less than 2 minutes with over 25 insurance companies.  Also your information is not sold to insurance agents who are trying to sell you an insurance policy.

North Dakota Medicare Supplement Insurance is available through Medicare Insurance Finders.  You can contact us at 1-877-936-2991 for more help with your insurance needs.

 

Need Medicare Supplement Insurance

If you need Medicare Supplement Insurance and are looking for supplemental plans that fit your budget – LOOOK NO FURTHER.  Medicare Insurance Providers offers you online Medigap Quotes.  We do not sell your information so do not worry about filling out the lead form and having hundreds of agents call you.  Before you get a quote there are a few things you should know about Medigap or Medicare Supplement Insurance.

  1. The first thing to understand is that Medicare Advantage Plans are not the same as Medicare Supplement Plans.  Medicare Advantage Plans take over Original Medicare where Medicare Supplement Insurance fills in the gaps of Medicare.  Medigap plans do not include Part D coverage while a lot of Medicare Advantage Plans do contain prescription drug coverage.
  2. If you need Medicare Supplement Insurance you should compare rates before choosing a plan.  Websites like Medicare Insurance Finders allow you to see up to 25 insurance company’s rates so you can see who offers the best price.  Unlike many things in life price is the most important factor with Medigap plans.  Coverage is standardized so two companies offering Plan F insurance must provide the same basic coverage. (APPLES TO APPLES)
  3. Compare financial stability of the different companies.  As long as you choose a company with B+ or higher rating you should be just fine, but a lot of people like to choose an A rated carrier just to make them feel better – I completely understand.

Need Medicare Supplement Insurance

Most people need Medicare Supplement Insurance quotes and/or advice when one of the following situations takes place:

  • Losing Group Coverage
  • Turning 65
  • Medicare Supplement Rates on current policy increase
  • Losing Medicare Advantage Coverage
  • Moving to a different area
  • Unhappy with current coverage (usually due to price or provider restrictions)

If you are looking for help with your insurance coverage call our office (1-800-800-1397 option 6) for all the advice and guidance you need pertaining to Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Need Medicare Supplement Insurance

Providing advice on Medicare Supplements for individuals with health issues

Medigap Providers

When turning 65 and considering Medicare Supplemental Insurance one thing to consider would be “Is my doctor a Medigap Provider”. The term “Medigap Providers” is another way of referring to the doctors and hospitals that accept Medicare.  Any provider that accepts Medicare will accept a Medicare Supplement as well.  So basically what you should ask yourself is, “does my doctor accept Medicare”.

Medigap plans are different from Medicare Advantage Plans in many ways, but the biggest difference is the network of these two plans.  As mentioned above, Medigap providers are any physician that accepts Medicare.  However, Medicare Advantage Plans have specific networks that you are required to follow to receive benefits at discounted prices (HMO, PPO, PFFS – all vary slightly on network design). Continue reading

Medicare Supplement Plans

If you are looking for the best Medicare supplement plans available in your state you have come to the right website.  Medicare Insurance Finders provides you with ways to learn, compare, and save on your Medicare Supplement plan.  You even can see Medigap plan comparisons in your state within 2 minutes of starting your quote.  If you are interested in finding the right Medicare Supplement Plan, lets go ahead and get started. Continue reading