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Choosing A Medigap Policy 2011      Medicare and You 2011

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Medicare Supplement FAQ


- What should I consider when purchasing a Medicare Supplement Insurance Policy?

- Can I buy a Medigap policy for less if I deal directly with an insurance company?

- Why should I use an independent Medicare supplement insurance agent?

- Must I pay a fee to an e-Medigap Medicare supplement insurance agent?

- I have previous health insurance coverage. Does this mean the insurance company must accept my application and apply no pre-existing condition limitations?

- What are my options if my application for coverage is denied?

- Can my Medicare supplement insurance be terminated for any reason?

- Why is there such a big difference in price between insurance companies for the exact same Medicare supplement plan?

- Under a new Medicare supplement insurance plan, can I keep my doctor?

- Are there meaningful differences in how insurance companies underwrite Medicare supplement insurance applications?

- What is health insurance trend (medical inflation) and how does it affect my rates?

- How long does it take to enroll in a Medicare supplement insurance plan?

- Do I have to take a physical exam in order to obtain Medigap insurance coverage?

- What are the options for making my Medigap insurance premium payments?

- Will a new Medicare supplement insurance policy cover my pre-existing condition?

- For how long am I committed to keep any Medicare supplement insurance I purchase?

What should I consider when purchasing a Medicare Supplement Insurance Policy?
It’s important to initially understand what you’re getting from Medicare Part A & Part B. You can read a nice overview on Medicare by reading “Medicare at a Glance” or contacting an e-Medigap agent at (877) 363-3442. Once you understand how Medicare works then you should read “Choosing a Medigap Policy” which gives a really good overview of your Medicare options and how to shop for a policy.

Can I buy a Medigap policy for less if I deal directly with an insurance company?
No. Medicare supplement rates are strictly regulated. A particular Medicare supplement will cost the same whether you use an independent health insurance agent or deal directly with an insurance company. In fact, most Medicare supplement companies will only sell their policies through independent agents. An e-Medigap independent agent will be aware of the best combination of coverage and pricing available in your area.

Must I pay a fee to an e-Medigap Medicare supplement insurance agent?
No. An e-Medigap independent Medigap insurance agent is paid a commission by the health insurance company. No additional fees are added to your insurance premium. Working with an agent will likely save you money due to their awareness of the most competitive rates available in your area.

I have previous health insurance coverage. Does this mean the insurance company must accept my application and apply no pre-existing condition limitations?
No. In Texas it does not matter that you have previous health insurance coverage. A Medicare supplement insurance company can still deny your application for coverage. There are, however, several options available which might make sense in case of serious pre-existing conditions. Please discuss your situation with your e-Medigap agent.

What are my options if I my application for coverage is denied?
You can apply to another insurance company. Different Medicare supplement insurance companies use different underwriting standards. You may obtain coverage with another company. It depends on the specific health conditions at issue and the underwriting requirements of the insurance company. Please talk to your e-Medigap agent about your unique situation to determine which options are available to you. We’ll do our best to ensure we choose a plan that minimizes your chances of being declined.

Can my Medicare supplement insurance be terminated for any reason?
The Federal Government provides protection against this happening. In general, the insurance company can terminate your coverage for only the following reasons: (1) failure to make premium payment within the payment grace period, (2) material omission or misrepresentation on your Medicare supplement insurance application, or (3) the insurance company becomes insolvent.

Why is there such a big difference in price between insurance companies for the exact same Medicare supplement plan?
It’s true that the exact same plan from different Medicare supplement insurance companies can vary wildly in their monthly premiums. There are a number of factors that cause this including how the plan is priced initially (ie issue age vs attained age vs community rates), the age of the risk pool (or “block of business”),and other various contributing factors. Whatever the reason might be you can be assured that a particular Medicare supplement plan letter is the same coverage regardless of which company you get it from.

Under a new Medicare supplement insurance plan, can I keep my doctor?
If your doctor takes Medicare you should be able to keep them. The Medicare supplement insurance companies do not have networks. As long as a doctor takes Medicare and is taking on new Medicare recipient patients you should be able to see them.

Are there meaningful differences in how insurance companies underwrite Medicare supplement insurance applications?
There can be differences in the way Medicare supplement insurance companies underwrite pre-existing health conditions if you are not in an open enrollment (guaranteed issue) period. Please discuss your unique situation with your e-Medigap agent.

What is health insurance trend (medical inflation) and how does it affect my rates?
Medical inflation is the increasing cost of treating medical conditions from year-to-year. As the cost of treating medical conditions becomes more expensive the cost of medical claims goes up. As the cost of medical claims goes up insurance companies have to pass those costs along via insurance premium rate increases.

How long does it take to apply for a Medicare supplement insurance plan?
The application typically takes less than 20 minutes to complete. Once the application is completed expect the normal underwriting process to take 2-3 weeks from submission date.

Do I have to take a physical exam in order to obtain Medigap insurance coverage?
Although it is conceivable that a Medicare supplement company could request a medical exam in order to offer a Medicare supplement insurance policy, it has been our experience that this is a very rare occurrence.

What are the options for making my Medigap insurance premium payments?
Depending on the insurance company, you can elect to pay your initial premium for anywhere from first month.to the full year in advance using a credit card, check, money order, cashier’s check, or via draft from your bank account. Ongoing premiums can typically be paid monthly (usually only via bank draft) or quarterly, semi-annually, or annually via check, cashier, or money order.

Will a new Medicare supplement insurance policy cover my pre-existing condition?
Maybe. Insurance companies typically want some proof of prior coverage to cover pre-existing conditions from the start. There may be some exceptions to this. Talk with an e-Medigap agent to determine which company and plan will be best for your situation.

For how long am I committed to keep any Medicare supplement insurance I purchase?
Medicare supplement insurance companies are a month-to-month contract. You can cancel any time you would like. However, the insurance company can only cancel your coverage for the 3 reasons listed above.
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