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Thursday, May 19th
Health IQ seeks to reward people who have a healthy lifestyle by getting them the lowest possible insurance rates. The company got its start in 2013 and began convincing insurance companies that health-conscious people have lower mortality rates. While their primary focus is general health insurance, you can get quotes for Medicare Supplement Plans through this broker as well.
Health Literacy Quiz
Getting a quote from Health IQ starts in the way you'd expect: enter your zip code to make sure they offer coverage in your area. From there, however, it goes a little differently: you'll be asked if you're willing to take a "health literacy quiz" to unlock special rate discounts (but they're only available in the following states: AL, AZ, CO, GA, IL, KY, LA, MI, MS, NE, NM, NV, OK, SC, SD, UT, WI, WV and WY). The questions in that section asked for our gender, birthdate, tobacco use (yes or no), and our Part B effective date.
Have to call the agent anyway
One aspect of using Health IQ that we really appreciated at first was the fact that after entering the information described above, we were taken directly to quotes for Medicare Plan F, Plan G and Plan N. We thought we had hit the jackpot with a site that would give us information directly and then we could choose whether or not to pursue the plans further. However, despite being told that we had provided enough information to get some base rates to compare, no quotes came up on the page. So, we were right back to square one with having to call their toll-free number (888-611-0712, Monday-Friday, 7am-7pm pst) to speak with a licensed agent.
This was the only broker we contacted who asked if we had Stage 5 liver disease before proceeding with our quote. We were also asked if we participated in any kind of regular physical activity. That seems to go along with that "health quiz" mentioned earlier.
Frustrating phone conversation
At first, our rep said that she didn't have and Medicare Plan G options in Wisconsin. We gave her the quotes we had received from several other brokers for Aetna, and she said that she only had High Deductible Plan F and G under Aetna. Then, digging in a little more, she quoted a monthly premium of $115 to $125 for the Aetna Basic (Plan G), but would need riders to match the quotes we had been given previously. The agent was new to the company and after 15 minutes asked to transfer us to a rep with more Aetna and Health IQ experience. During that transfer, our call got disconnected and we didn't get a call back.
Accreditation, but customer complaints
We were pleased to see that Health IQ holds accreditation and an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, especially since the company is newer within the industry. Because they haven't been around as long, this broker doesn't have as much customer feedback as their rivals. Most of what we found was positive, although the majority of the comments were about HealthIQ's general insurance products and not specific to Medicare Supplement Plans. Many people said that they started getting lots of unwanted phone calls after requesting information from Health IQ.
Our experience with Health IQ was aggravating at best. From a website that promised quotes and delivered nothing, to a phone call that was all over the place and still left us unsure whether we could get the coverage we needed, we just didn't feel very reassured that this company was going to take good care of us as we worked our way through the process of getting a Medicare Supplement Plan. For all these reasons, Health IQ is not one of our preferred providers of coverage.
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.
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Medicare Supplement Plans available today. We hope our in-depth evaluations help you save time and money by giving you the information you need to choose the best provider and plan for your needs!
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