Make the Most of Open Enrollment by Comparing Medigap Plans and Prices

Although many people associate the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 Medicare Open Enrollment Period primarily with Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D, Open Enrollment is an important time for considering the benefits of Medicare supplement insurance.

As you are probably aware, during Open Enrollment you have the options of:

But there is another option available during Open Enrollment—the option of leaving your current Medicare Advantage plan and returning to Original Medicare.

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With all the gaps in Original Medicare, some people may consider that a foolhardy option. But the fact is, the decision to disenroll from Medicare Advantage during the Open Enrollment Period opens up the opportunity to enroll in a Medigap plan, with the change effective Jan. 1 of next year.

If you are already enrolled in a Medicare supplement plan, Open Enrollment is a good opportunity to evaluate your current Medigap plan—as it is to evaluate all aspects of your Medicare coverage going into the new year.

Why even consider changing Medicare supplement plans?

Needs change. Your health can change. In fact, your whole life can be different from what it was a year ago.

Fortunately, you’re not locked into your current Medicare supplement plan for life. As your circumstances change, you have every right to reevaluate your current plan. If you decide a change is in order, you have every right to look into joining a new plan.

Specifically, you may decide to change Medigap plans because:

  • Your financial situation has changed during the past year.  Perhaps the amount you budgeted for healthcare several years ago is more than you can afford now—or maybe the opposite is true and you have a little more disposable income than you used to have.
  • You’ve found a better value for your dollar.  Medigap rates fluctuate, and it may well be that last year’s best value isn’t the best value any longer. This is one of the main reasons it’s so important to comparison shop during Open Enrollment.
  • You want better benefits, or you have a better idea of what benefits you want now.  Maybe you’re getting tired of paying a high deductible and figure it’s time for a change. Maybe you’d like lower copayments or certain coverage you’re not getting now. Or perhaps you’ve just determined that what served you well in previous years isn’t your best option anymore.
  • Your medical needs have changed.  Your medical history and healthcare concerns are likely to change over time. You may well have new priorities and considerations when it comes to Medigap coverage.

Whether you are thinking about changing Medigap plans, or are considering enrolling in a Medicare supplement plan for the first time, it always pays off to compare options and rates carefully before making a choice.

In short …

There are 10 Medicare supplement plans spanning the alphabet from Plan A to Plan N. A good way to start comparing plans is by consulting MedicareMall’s Medigap Plans A-N comparison chart.

Medigap Plan A is the Medicare supplement plan that Medicare supplement insurance companies are required by law to make available to all Medicare-eligible individuals. Therefore, Plan A offers the lowest level of benefits among Medicare supplement plans. Plans B to N add varying levels of coverage on top of that.

If you’re looking for a Medigap plan designed to eliminate most or all out-of-pocket medical and hospital costs, chances are you’ll be drawn to Medigap Plan F, which is designed to fill all the high-risk gaps in Original Medicare. With Plan F you won’t have to worry about paying out of pocket for any Medicare-approved hospital or medical costs, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance charges. Plan F covers all Medicare-approved costs not covered by Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

Once you’ve compared what each plan provides … don’t stop there. While each plan’s benefits are standardized by the government, insurance companies set their own prices for the policies—and do they ever. Check out five or 10 leading companies offering the same Medigap plan to the same person, and you’re likely to find they’re charging five or 10 different rates. Add in all the other underwriting considerations—age, gender, tobacco use, location, and plenty more—and you’ll quickly learn how important it is to compare rates carefully before choosing an insurance company or a policy.

To compare Medigap rates, visit MedicareMall’s Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicare Plan Quotefinder. Once there, you’ll be minutes away from learning how much the leading companies would charge you—based on your personal information—for all the Medicare supplement plans available in your area.

Open Enrollment is all about ensuring you’ve got the best possible coverage for the new year, and for many people that means comparing what Medicare supplement plans have to offer, how much they’re going to cost, and how much they’re likely to save you over the course of the next year. For assistance making the most informed choice, call MedicareMall at 1-877-413-1556.

Are you planning to enroll in a new Medigap plan during Open Enrollment? If so, tell us why!

© 2013

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