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Sunday, October 17th
Medicare-Plans is a service of QuoteWizard Insurance, which is a division of well-known financial company LendingTree. At the time of our review, QuoteWizard's profile with the Better Business Bureau was being updated, so there was no way to see a rating or any customer complaints (if any exist). LendingTree enjoys an "A+" rating and accreditation with the BBB, however.
Get the ball rolling
If you've already shopped for Medicare Supplement Plans, you know the drill when using the Medicare-Plans site: enter your zip code, birth date, gender, indicate if you're already enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or B, and then your name and email address. On the final page, you're asked for your street address and phone number - and then there's the disclaimer that you're consenting to texts, calls, emails, and postal mail from their "marketing and remarketing network, and up to eight insurance companies or their affiliates". Worthy to note.
Re-enter your information, all over again
Once you've run that gauntlet, you'll be taken to several quotes that fit your situation. In our case, we received five providers: Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, MedicareInfo, AARP Medicare Advantage from United Healthcare, eHealth Medicare, and MedicarePlan. Clicking on any of the links that say "See Your Rate" just redirects you to the providers' websites - where you'll have to enter your information all over again to actually SEE your rate. That feels like a big waste of time.
Long wait time
How about calling their toll-free number (855-965-4468)? It took longer than usual to be connected with an agent, even early on a weekday afternoon, and the rep who took our call sounded like she was working from a home office (which isn't a negative, just worth noting compared with other services we contacted). We appreciated that other than our first name and zip code, we didn't have to provide any other personal information to get a quote.
We had to help
Initially she said that nothing was coming up as a Plan G for the profile we indicated. We had to explain to the agent that it would probably not be called by that name in WI and that other brokers had given us a quote for Base plans with riders to effectively give the same exact coverage as a Plan G. On her end, it sounded like she had to go into individual insurers' websites to get an exact quote, which she did by starting with Aetna.
Competitive quote, but different from the website
In the end, she came up with a quote of $115.12 plus Part B Excess Charge, Foreign Travel, Home Health Care riders for a total of $136.95 and the annual deductible of $198. This was comparable to other Aetna quotes we got from other brokers. However, it's worth noting that none of the quote process we received over the phone lined up with the Medicare-Plans website results: we were shown lots of options online, but nothing for Aetna, and almost the exact opposite when talking with the agent.
It's all up to you
What about once you've selected your Medicare Supplement Plan? According to our agent, all servicing is handled directly with Aetna - or whichever insurance company you choose. She suggested that customers check in with Medicare-Plans in the future to do price comparisons as rates may change. If you like a "don't call me, I'll call you" arrangement, that might be ideal. But, if you want a broker that will give you support once you've enrolled, or that will keep track of rates and other changes on your behalf, you won't find that with this service.
When dealing with something as tricky as Medicare Supplement Plans, it's important to have a knowledgeable agent with a reputable company who can walk you through the process and quickly connect you with the right plan for your needs. Unfortunately, all of that didn't happen for us when getting a quote through Medicare-Plans. Plus, with a BBB listing in the process of being updated, this broker's reputation could go in either direction. Until we see a strong rating and improvements in their process, our lackluster experience with both the website and the quote over the phone keep this service from earning a higher rating.
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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