How to Get the Best Price for a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap)
Aging Matters

It's estimated that 11.9 million American seniors opt in to purchase a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance plan. But to most it's a confusing process knowing which plan best fits our health care requirements. What's even more significant, are we paying too much? I read a study that said some of us overpay by thousands of dollars. We need a quick and easy way to find the best, and least expensive, option.

What's surprising is the Weissratings.com 2017 data shows that over 3,500 examples of insurance companies overcharge for Medigap insurance. To give you just a few examples cited by the study:

  • A 65-year-old woman in Idaho shopping for a Plan F or H could pay $2,004.08 per year from one provider, or $244.00 per year from another. A difference of $1,760.08.
  • A 75-year-old male living in New Hampshire, purchasing a Plan F could pay $8,121.96 per year for that coverage. Or, if he had all the information, he could pay $1,820.28 per year for the exact same coverage and save $6,301.68.
  • A 75-year-old male living in Pennsylvania, looking for a basic Plan A, might pay $11,801.64 per year if his insurance agent recommends one particular provider, or he could go with the least expensive provider and only pay $958.00 per year. Saving $10,843.64.

What to remember is that the government standardizes all Medicare Supplement insurance plans -- what that means is all insurance companies provide the same coverage. Why would you want to pay more than you need for the same coverage? To me, it's critical and you need to know how widely premium costs vary.

Where does the company get the Medigap data? They collected it for nearly two decades. They don't sell insurance or partner with insurance providers so their reports give the full scoop about what to look for and what to watch out for when deciding on a provider.

The report costs $99. I got one for free since I'm writing this article. But if you don't want to pay $99, when your Medigap insurance policy is up for renewal, just call the insurance broker and have them give you a quote on all plans in that category.

For example, I have Plan G. I pay $107 a month. All rates depends on age, where you live and other factors including the rating of the company. But when I researched the prices of Plan G premiums, they varied between $97 to $256 a month for the same coverage and benefits. The company I get my insurance plan (Plan G) through has earned a C minus rating which I wasn't aware of and wonder if that's a risky operation. Weiss Ratings explained to me via phone that a C minus just means it's a fair rating -- financially.

You can access the custom guide to help you get the best deal from the best provider. Go here to WeissMedigap.com and simply enter your age, sex, and zip code online, and in minutes you'll have a personalized guide.

Carol Marak, aging advocate, Seniorcare.com. She's earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.



Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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