Becoming a Medicare member entails a whole lot of decision making. And this task has never been easy to any one of us. Why? Because our future health coverage relies on the actions we are going to take in the present. What we decide about our Medicare options the moment we enroll will dictate how our expenses will be handled tomorrow and the years to come.
If you are contemplating to buy a Medigap plan instead of having just Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan, then I strongly suggest that you get yourself ready.
Based on my recent post, here’s a simple steps of buying a Medigap policy to help you get the coverage you need:
1. Know thyself
Just like the saying “if you want to change the world, start with yourself”, the first ever step you need to take before you buy a Medigap plan (or any other kind of insurance), is to look at yourself.
Know your current health status, your medical history and the possibility of you acquiring certain diseases that your parents or relatives have.
Here are some questions to consider: does hypertension, diabetes or even cancer run in our family? How will my lifestyle affect my health as I age? Do I require certain medications at the moment? What are the medical services I need? How I often need those medical services?
It is important that you know your needs, so you will have a clear idea of what benefits or coverage you need in a plan.
2. Compare Medigap Plans
Before you get overwhelmed and be stunned by the fact that you need to choose from 10 Medigap plans, know that you can compare policies the benefits it provides.
There are about 10 different standardized plans of Medigap plans in the market. Each of the plans offers the basic or core benefits at different levels of coverage. Some of the plans also have additional benefits that may be optional. Use the information you have in step 1 when comparing the benefits of each plan.
3. Compare price and insurance companies
Since Medigap plans are standardized, the only big difference is the price. It wouldn’t hurt if you do a survey of prices from various insurance companies. You can request a Medigap quotes online, or call each company to get information about their prices.
Example: Company A sells Medigap Plan N much cheaper price than company B, but both of them provides the same benefit that Plan N has.
Remember that, choosing expensive ones over the cheaper offer may not always the practical decision.
You can call each of the insurance companies and ask them yourself if they offer the Medigap plan you want and how much they are selling it. In addition, Medicare’s 2018 guide has a set of questions that you can ask each of the insurance companies to make sure they have the right plan for you.
Also, when comparing prices and companies, you’ have to know about the rating systems they are using to set their prices. When you talk to them, don’t forget to ask about this rating system that they are using.
4. Buy the Medigap plan
Finally, when you find the right plan and right provider, it is time to buy the Medigap plan!
You should have your own copy of the worded summary of your policy. Make sure to read it thoroughly. Don’t be afraid or be shy to ask if there is something in your policy that you don’t understand. Ask to avoid misunderstanding later on.
Your plan should start the first day of the following month of your application. If you don’t have your policy in 30 days, call the insurance company provider. If you don’t get it in 60 days, call your State Insurance Department.