understanding your insurance policy

understanding your insurance policy

Who Should You Purchase Your Medicare Supplements From?

by Tuĝba Van Den Heijkant

If you are getting ready to turn 65, or you are 65 and just enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you are probably being inundated with offers from various carriers to purchase medicare supplemental plans. You are being told that the 10 plans, which are identified by letters, are standardized. If this is the case, then how do you decide which company to purchase your plan from? This can be just as difficult if not more so than which one of the plans to choose. Here are a few points to help you in your quandary.

Who Can You Trust?

You will receive numerous telephone calls, letters, emails, and other types of solicitations from companies wanting you to purchase your Medicare supplemental insurance, which is also referred to as aMedigap policy, from them. These plans are designed not to replace your Medicare, but to provide coverage for the areas your Medicare policy does not cover.

Do your research. One of the best places to start is with your state's State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). This is a free counseling service that will be able to provide you with professional advice regarding any changes you are considering making to your Medicare.

Contact Medicare.gov to make sure that any company that contacts you is a credible carrier in your state. Although some people may represent national carriers that you are familiar with, others may represent smaller companies that are just as good but that you have no knowledge of.

How Stable Is The Company?

The last thing you want to happen is to purchase a policy and find that the company you have purchased it from is no longer in business or does not have the financial ability to pay your claim. Always look for a carrier that is rated B+ or better with A.M. Best. This is an international organization whose ratings reflect each company's financial strength, as well as their credit quality to their consumers.

What Does It Cost?

As you can expect, the extra coverage provided by Medicare supplement plans comes at a price, and although the plans are standardized, the pricing can vary greatly. Medicare supplemental plans are generally priced in one of three ways. The pricing structures are as follows:

  • Community-rated (or no age rated) - This type of pricing structure charges everyone the same premium when they are purchased no matter their age. While they may be slightly more expensive when you are younger, you will find them to be less expensive when you maintain them or purchase them as you get older.
  • Issue-age-rated - When companies use this type of pricing, the premium you are charged will be based on your age when you initially purchase your policy. The rate is locked in but can increase in small increments due to inflation. This is often a very good choice if you are buying the policy at a young age. 
  • Attained-age-rated - These are the least expensive priced plans if you purchase them when you are younger, but the premium will increase annually based on your age. These will eventually cost you more than the other types of pricing tiers. 

Whether or not you purchase Medicare supplements may be one of the most important financial decisions you make pertaining to your medical coverage once you become a senior. Do not allow anyone to rush you into making a decision that may not only impact your financial future, but one that you may live to regret. Take your time and make your decision wisely based on price, company reliability, and of course your overall health.


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understanding your insurance policy

You keep a copy of your insurance policy in your file drawer, but do you know how to read and understand the policy? Having an insurance policy will protect you from losses, but it won't protect you from all losses. To get a better understanding of what your policy will and will not cover, read through this blog. You will learn about all different types of insurance policies and learn the terminology used in the documents that you have read. Hopefully, by the time you have read through the content here, you will know exactly where your insurance policies are lacking so you can make changes.