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How To Choose Medicare Supplement Policies

| July 13, 2016
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Just as getting a driver’s license seems to occupy the mind of every almost-16-year-old, enrolling in Medicare occupies the mind of every almost-65-year-old. As a teenager, things like paying for gas and car insurance probably never crossed your mind as you dreamed of your license, but as an adult, you are more responsible. You know that Medicare won’t cover everything. You know your health and financial situation, and you’re probably trying to figure out the best way to get the most medical coverage that you can reasonably afford.

What Are Medigap Policies?

Many people purchase supplemental insurance policies as they enroll in Medicare to help them pay for things such as copayments, deductibles, and health care when traveling abroad. These supplemental policies are also known as Medigap insurance. They are only available to those who are enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B, not in Medicare Advantage.

Medigap policies are sold by private insurers; they are not provided by the government as Medicare is. There are 10 different Medigap options, labeled A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N, and each one provides a different level of coverage.

Choosing A Medigap Policy

The most popular policies are plans F and C because they provide the most comprehensive coverage. Healthier retirees often like plans M and N because they are cost-sharing plans with more affordable premiums. Every plan is different and is designed to meet the needs of people in different situations, though sometimes the differences are minor and confusing.

You should choose your policy based on your health status, your family medical history, and your financial situation. Medicare.gov has an online search tool that helps you compare Medigap policies, showing what each one covers, the price range for premiums, and where they are sold.

For most people, though, it is best to get the opinion of an experienced insurance specialist. Someone with a deep knowledge of the different Medigap options can help you decipher what your most pressing needs are and the most cost effective way to have them met. A trained insurance professional with a holistic perspective can ensure that you are neither over- or under-insured and that you will be able to afford the premiums, even at the end of your retirement.

When To Purchase Medigap

When you purchase your Medigap policy can have a huge impact on the amount you pay and whether or not you can even buy one. The open enrollment period for Medigap insurance is six months from the first day of the month of your 65th birthday if you are signed up for Medicare Part B or within six months of signing up.

During open enrollment, insurance companies do not take your health into consideration when pricing and selling Medigap policies. If you have health problems, you can obtain insurance coverage for the same price as a healthy person during open enrollment. However, after open enrollment, you are likely to be charged more, if they will even sell you a policy. Medigap insurance providers use normal medical underwriting to decide whether or not to accept your application and how much to charge you for the policy. So, timing is everything when it comes to purchasing Medicare supplement policies, especially if you have health problems.

When it comes to Medigap policies, there is a lot at stake and you must act within a small time frame. Even if it will be several more years before you turn 65, Medigap is something that you should be considering and planning for. Especially if you have health problems, making the right decision about Medigap before your open enrollment period ends is crucial if you want supplemental coverage.

At Nobile Hinchey Private Wealth Management, we have the experience and expertise to assist you in your Medigap decision. Call (860) 659-5977 x213 or email smcguigan@nhpwm.com to set up a meeting today. Together we will make sure that you make the right Medigap decision before it’s too late.

About Shirley McGuigan

Shirley McGuigan is an Insurance Specialist offering life, long-term care, medicare and health insurance at Nobile Hinchey Private Wealth Management in Glastonbury, Connecticut. She is a Licensed Insurance Agent in the state of Connecticut, Medicare Certified through AHIP, Long-Term Care Certified through the CLTC Board of Standards and Annuity, Life, and Health Certified as well. Shirley takes a holistic approach to insurance, focusing on each client’s individual needs. Outside of the office, Shirley is a huge Glastonbury football fan who enjoys traveling, singing, and playing and coaching softball. She resides in Glastonbury with her husband and three children.

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