Finding the best Medicare supplement plan for you is far more simple than you might think. Want the secret to choosing the perfect Medicare supplement plan for you?
I’m here to help you with that.
The best Medicare supplement plan is the one that gives you access to your chosen providers and covers the gaps in Medicare that you are most concerned about paying. It also offers a competitive monthly premium compared to other plans in your area.
Many times when a person is new to Medicare, he or she feels overwhelmed by all the choices. In this post, we’ll walk you through a series of simple questions you can ask yourself that will help lead you to the best Medicare supplement plan for you.
In this article, we’ll be concentrating on Medicare supplement plans, also called Medigap plans. These plans get 5 stars in my book for a variety of reasons.
If you are unsure of the difference between Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans, which are very different, read this post first and then return to this page to read the information below.
Which Medicare plans does your doctor take?
In my experience, the best Medicare supplement coverage for you is usually one that you know your doctors will accept. Most people don’t want to part with their trust providers.
Fortunately, this is pretty easy with Medicare supplements. As long as your doctor accepts Original Medicare, he will accept any Medicare supplement. It doesn’t matter if that is an Aetna Medicare supplement or a Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare supplement or a Kmart Special Medicare supplement.
Clearly I’m kidding on that last one, but I hope you get the point.
The chances that your doctor accepts Original Medicare are very good. There are over 800,000 providers on Medicare’ network. The Kaiser Family foundation reported in 2015 that more than 9 in 10 primary care physicians accept Medicare. You can use your coverage anywhere around the nation without referrals.
How to Ask Your Doctor if He Takes Your Supplement
A quick phone call to your doctor’s office can help you confirm that a Medicare supplement (as opposed to a Medicare Advantage plan) would work for you.
Simply ask: Does Dr. Smith accept Medicare? Most of the time you will hear yes.
Sometimes you might find a doctor whose practice is full. It’s not that he doesn’t like your Medigap plan. It’s that he has too many Medicare patients. I have found that if you’ve been treating with a doctor prior to age 65, he will usually continue to see you once you transition to Medicare as your primary insurance.
An Important Distinction Between Medicare Plans
If you are still trying to decide between Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans, you can also ask whether the doctor participates in any Medicare Advantage plans, and get a list of those plans.
Verify what you find out by checking each Medicare plan’s provider directory. Ensure that the directory shows that doctor in the network. Cross-referencing this information against the plan directory is so important.
All too often we have people contact our agency after they tried to do this on their own. Inevitably they find out too late that the person in the doctor’s office gave them incorrect information.
Which Companies Get the Best Medicare Supplement Reviews?
Often our clients ask us who offers the best Medicare supplement plans in terms of financial ratings or customer service. This will vary based on the state you live in as not all carriers do business in every state.
Some of the carriers that offer popular Medicare supplement plans are:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Manhattan Life
- Mutual of Omaha
- United Healthcare
Which insurance companies offer the best Medicare supplement plans?
I give all Medicare supplements an A+ when it comes to claims payment. You can read more about my opinion on this in my blog post called Medicare Plan F Reviews.
When it comes to customer service though, you will get that from your agent or Medicare insurance broker. When you have a problem, you will call and speak with your agent directly instead of calling some big insurance company call center.
A good Medicare insurance broker will have a Client Service Team in place to handle back-end services for you. This might include helping you with Medicare appeals if something gets denied, conferencing in your pharmacy if there is an issue with getting a prescription filled. These are things that the Medicare supplement company definitely will NOT do for you.
Your own agent or broker will always be more helpful than a nameless, faceless customer service representative at your insurance carrier.
We work with all the top Medicare supplement plans in every market. We can tell you which of those makes the most sense for you based on the data we have.
What is your Risk Tolerance?
Our agency often works with clients who helped their aging parents through a few illnesses. On such client, Sue told me that her mother had battled lymphoma for many years and went through several rounds of chemotherapy.
She was astonished at the size of the medical bills they received and even further astonished to find that her mother’s Medicare supplement had covered every dime. Because of this, she knew she wanted the same kind of coverage.
What Sue said was “If I am sick, I want to be able to concentrate on getting well. I don’t want to be worrying about how many bills are accumulating in my mailbox.”
So for this client, the natural choice was a Medicare supplement Plan F, which has very predictable benefits and covers comprehensively. With Plan F, Sue would have nothing out of pocket at the doctor’s office or hospital.
On the other hand, if Sue preferred a lower monthly premium in exchange for her covering some of her own deductibles and copays, then the best Medicare Supplement might be a Plan N. There are 10 different standardized Medicare supplement plans to choose from. You can find one that covers enough for your comfort and peace of mind.
So ask yourself how much risk tolerance you have, and that should lead you toward one choice or another. This is the way we identify the best Medicare supplement plans for our clients here.
And that leads us to the next question regarding the best Medicare supplement plans, which is:
Which is the Best Medicare Supplemental Insurance for Your Budget?
Living on a fixed income is harder than most people think. You are still subject to inflation like everyone else, but the money you have coming in from Social Security and your investments has to last you for the rest of your life. Sometimes this single factor will make the decision for you.
For a person turning 65 in Texas, you might expect to pay around $150/month for a Medicare supplement Plan F. It varies by zip code, gender, and age, but let’s use this number as an example. If your budget includes $1800/year for medical insurance, then a Medicare supplement Plan F provides great coverage.
If spending $1800/year leaves you with very little for life’s other expenses, you might be more comfortable with a Plan G or Plan N or even a High-Deductible Plan F.
You can read more of my tips for saving money on Medigap in this Forbes article.
Get the Best Medicare Supplement for YOU
These are the things we discuss with our own clients when helping them determine the best Medicare supplement plans for them. An insurance agency like Boomer Benefits can help you answer these questions and then find the best Medigap plans that meet YOUR needs based on your answers.
If you enjoyed this blog post and learned from it, give us a try so that you can experience all the great back-end policy service that you’ll get. This includes free claims support and assistance with evaluating which Part D drug plan offers your medications. We also provide annual rate comparisons to ensure you stay with the most cost-effective policy in your area. Find out who the top Medicare supplement plans in your area are today.
The right Medicare supplement for you is out there! Get in touch with us for help finding it today.