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Monday, May 23rd
As a division of LendingTree, Medicare-Plans ought to be a strong option among providers offering quotes for Medicare Supplemental Plans. However, their website doesn't offer much information, and you might get a rep on the phone who doesn't know much about the plans available in your state. Also, unlike many similar insurance brokers, Medicare-Plans doesn't give you any follow-up or support once you've selected your coverage and paid your premiums.
HealthCare has only been in business for a few years, and their "B" grade from the Better Business Bureau isn't encouraging. This service serves only as a referrer to other brokers: when you call for a quote on your Medicare Supplement Plan, you'll be connected to an agent from any one of several companies, because HealthCare doesn't actually sell policies. You'll get much more transparency from another provider.
If you or a loved one is approaching the age of 65, or will be qualified for Medicare Parts A and B soon for another reason, it's the ideal time to start shopping around for supplemental coverage.
You are probably already aware that your Medicare insurance pays for most of your costs - but not all. That's why Medicare Supplement plans are often known as "Medigap": they close the distance between the 80% that's covered and the 20% that isn't, so that you have fewer or no out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare Supplement Plans are given letter names, so it can be easy to wind up confused. Plus, plans and their coverage are always changing. For example, Plan F was considered the go-to package, but it was discontinued for anyone starting coverage after January 1, 2020. Its replacement at the time, Plan G, offered similar benefits - fully covering that extra 20% and more - but added an annual deductible to the equation.
Another factor to keep in mind is the "guaranteed issue period". For the six months following your 65th birthday, you can get a Medicare Supplement Plan with no requirements beyond paying your premiums. By law, you can't be excluded for any health conditions, although your premiums will be higher if you're a smoker. But, once that grace period concludes, insurers can require more detailed information about your health conditions such as diabetes or heart conditions, and you can expect your premiums and available plans to change accordingly.
When buying a Medicare Supplement Plan, you have two basic routes: buy directly from an insurance company or go through a broker. Going to an insurance company you already trust can be an appealing option. You'll typically find the best rates for that particular insurer. On the other hand, using a broker often gives you access to not just your favorite insurance company but many others. So, with one process you can get the best rates from a number of providers at the same time - including that rate you got when you contacted the insurance company directly.
Whether you decide to use a broker or to buy directly from an insurance company, it's wise to do your research beforehand. The last thing you want is for an eager rep to steer you towards a plan that doesn't fit your needs, so take the time to browse several providers' websites before getting in touch. However, because Medicare rules state that all plans have to be sold in person or on the phone, you'll eventually have to speak with someone to finalize your Medicare Supplement Plan.
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