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Sunday, October 17th
As one of several insurance providers in our review, Humana offers Medicare Supplement Plans through their own service. Naturally, that means that their coverage is all you'll get if you look for quotes on their site. Fortunately, they have numerous options to choose from.
Easy to see plans
The Humana site made it simple to see which Medicare Supplement Plans were available in our area, for our sample individual (a 65-year-old woman in Wisconsin). We could see at a glance every option - for "her", there were seven - including any applicable deductibles, whether or not dental and vision were added, and so on. There was also a handy "Add to Compare" button to help us keep track of which plans suited us best.
We chose Humana's Basic plan, to stay equal with other quotes offering Plan G-type coverage in WI. We were then asked to provide the typical details like age, date of birth, etc. It then said, "Part A" and "Part B" month and year; there was no explanation, but we figured out it was asking when those components of Medicare had begun. We then had to specify a desired start date for coverage; our only options were the following three months. There was also a disclaimer that said the quote was just an estimate, "based on a nonsmoking female who is 65 years old". We had never specified smoking or nonsmoking, so be aware that your actual premium will vary if you use tobacco.
Sorting through the options
It can get a little confusing from there: because even though you select a single plan for a quote, your results page will show you ALL available plans and their estimated premiums. On our sample client's results, the plan that was most comparable with what we quoted across insurers was the Humana Med Supp Basic Plan. This included the $198 annual deductible for the equivalent of Plan G coverage. The monthly premium was $153.86, which included an "online only" discount of $9.82/month. Yes, that means if you call for a quote, you might have a surcharge of nearly $10/month just for getting your policy through an agent.
At that stage of the quote, you can also click on a rate chart: if you're not eligible for a "preferred rate" (because you're a tobacco user), you'll be able to see a more accurate premium there. For our 65-year-old female, that monthly premium would jump to $243.67, just for reference.
The good news? You can complete your entire enrollment online. As they say on the following page, "online enrollment is official" and you'll get a packet within 7-10 business days of completing the application. That's a perk for anyone who doesn't want to deal with an agent and just wants to get it taken care of - especially outside of traditional business hours.
Expensive, but reliable
Humana comes across as an expensive-but-reliable option for Medicare Supplement Plans. They've been in business for 60 years, and they enjoy accreditation and an A+ rating with the BBB.
Customer complaints give us pause
On the other hand, Humana has hundreds of complaints filed on the BBB site, and doesn't have the most customer-friendly reputation. In fact, one of the brokers we spoke with while compiling these reviews said that he actively avoids matching customers with Humana because of their negative track record within the market.
Room to improve
Is Humana a good choice for your Medicare Supplement Plan? They're definitely not the least expensive, and it concerns us that they don't have a better reputation within the industry. However, their online quote process is fairly easy to use, and if you want to complete the entire application without having to talk with an agent, Humana could be worth using - to at least get your initial quote, and then decide from there.
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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