confirmation of premium notices and
Do I Shop for a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Determine how much
coverage you need.
There are a number of factors to consider before deciding on
the right plan for you, including the cost of the various plans, and your present and
future healthcare needs. It is best to compare the benefits
of each plan. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Are you willing to pay extra premiums for coverage such
as preventive care or foreign travel emergency care?
Is home-care coverage a priority for you?
Are you willing to assume the cost of paying excess
charges should you see a doctor who does not take assignment?
Research the companies
offering the plan you want.
Since all Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, the
only difference in the coverage is the company behind it. There are several factors you
should consider about an insurance company before you purchase a
- Premiums -
Premiums can vary tremendously from company to company. Don't just look at current
pricing. See how the rates are calculated, whether they are based on your age at policy
issue (issue age) or whether they will increase each year with your age change (attained
- Service - How
the policy is serviced should be a big consideration when choosing a company. Is it
serviced by a personal Agent or by a Home Office 800 number? Does the company offer an
automatic claims filing service so you don't have to worry about missed claims? Does the
company offer any other services, such as a prescription drug discount card?
- Ratings - A
company's industry ratings
from companies like A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's can be a strong
indication of its financial strength and reliability.
- Choice - Is it
important to you to be able to choose your own doctors and
hospitals? If so, you may prefer a private insurer rather than an HMO for your