Medicare open enrollment period has begun for the year 2018. It happens annually, every October 15th to December 9th. During this time, you have the opportunity to review and make changes to your existing Medicare policies. Updating or changing policies during this period are usually safe or without major negative effects, except for Medicare supplement plans. Also known as Medigap, changing this type of coverage can be challenging and possibly more expensive.
Medigap - What is that?
The definition of Medicare supplements typically means that this policy supplements your Original Medicare. It pays for the Medicare-approved health care expenses which are left by Medicare when it has paid its share.
Medicare supplements are sold by private insurance companies and help you minimize out-of-pocket expenses. It has ten standardized plans which provide different levels of benefits.
When buying for a Medigap policy people usually only focuses on one aspect of the plan like cost. Forgetting to consider other factors such as right timing, kind of plan, their needs, or the possibility that the prices may increase in the future, can cause a huge negative effect later on.
Mistakes People Make When Buying Medigap
Not Getting the Guaranteed Issue Rights
If you miss your Medicare supplement open enrollment period, you will lose your guaranteed rights.
Medigap has its own open enrollment period which happens only once in your lifetime. It starts once you become eligible for Medicare, has acquired Medicare part B and runs only for 6 months. During that short time span, companies don’t have the power to reject your application despite any pre-existing condition that you have. Also, they can’t charge you higher premiums because of your health condition.
You won’t be able to change your Medigap plan and have the said guarantee issue benefits during the Medicare open enrollment period.
So, the important thing to remember here is the right time to buy your Medicare supplement plan.
Not doing your own research
Medicare alone is confusing, what more if you’ll add a supplementary plan to it. You’ll have to know that the plan that you’ll get today won’t have the same premium in the future as what you are paying today.
So before you enroll, you have to know how the insurance company provider set their premiums and how much it will affect your future premiums. Premiums of Medigap plans are rated by companies in three ways, Issue-rated, Community-rated, and Attained-age-rated. With the three different types of ratings, your premiums will change along with other factors such as your age and inflation.
Unlike other Medicare options, Medicare supplement plans are regulated by the state government. Meaning, the benefits that same letter type of plan offers are the same even though different insurance companies sell it. Also, because it is regulated, states can also protect beneficiaries from premium hikes.
If you like to switch Medigap plans or cancel your current policies, don’t leave your plan yet. Take advantage of the 30-day “free look period” to decide whether to keep the new policy.
If you are confused with all the information that you are receiving right now, you can reach out to free Medicare counseling service offered by the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and find a counselor in your state who knows the local rules. You can also request a licensed Medigap agent to assist you with your needs. Just request a Medicare supplement quotes for free by clicking the link below, and you’ll be contacted by one of our agents.