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Medicare is truly a process, not a product. Deciding what’s best for you can be complex. There’s no ‘one-size fits all’. The decision is so important because it’s not just a matter of money, it’s a matter of your health.
The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance does NOT sell insurance. We are here to provide the best information we can … from the industry’s best minds and resources.
We do recommend consumers speak with a knowledgeable agent who can answer questions, compare options and help you make good decisions based on your needs and desires.
You enter NO information.
You’ll NEVER be marketed to.
Simply ENTER YOUR ZIP CODE and
you’ll see a listing of Medicare agents in your area.
You DECIDE who to connect with (if anyone). And, it’s FREE to use.
We believe this is what consumers need to know. There are many insurance companies offering Medicare Supplement (also commonly called Medigap). Some sell in all 50 states. A few sell regionally. And there are those who sell in only one or two states.
NO single Medicare Supplement company always has the CHEAPEST price.
NO Medigap insurance company consistently is the MOST EXPENSIVE.
THE PRICE DIFFERENCE FOR VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL MEDIGAP COVERAGE CAN BE SIGNIFICANT. We post an annual Medicare Supplement Price Index that shows the lowest and highest prices for major markets.
WHY DON’T WE PUBLISH THE COMPANY NAMES? That’s simple. Because insurance companies can (and do) change prices. And, frankly, we have to work with everyone. Price is important but it’s just one factor. Read our section on BEST QUESTIONS TO ASK.
When you dial the phone number promoted on television, you’ll speak to an insurance agent. When you reply to one of the mailers filling your mailbox, you’ll speak to an insurance agent. And, yes, when you use the Association’s directory, you’ll see a listing of insurance agents.
We won’t tell you who to work with. We can share some information you might not know (and that can be most helpful).
THERE ARE ‘AGENTS‘ and THERE ARE ‘BROKERS‘ (even though we all call them agents. BUT THERE IS AN IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE. Insurance agents generally only can sell insurance products from ONE insurance company. Brokers typically can sell from many companies. That doesn’t mean MORE is BETTER … but you need to know that there’s a difference.
Here are questions to help make you a better Medicare insurance shopper:
1. How many years have you been selling Medicare insurance?
2. How many Medicare insurance companies are you ‘appointed‘ with (able to actually sell)?
3. Do you sell Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and Medicare Drug Plans?
In addition to asking questions of the agent (even if they are a call center agent), here’s some information shared by many of the nation’s top Medicare advisors. You can access other Medicare tips on our website.
1. INSURANCE COMPANY’S HISTORY OF RATE INCREASES. As we said, prices can and do change (typically they go up), and a good insurance agent can share the comp[any’s history of raising rates for their Medigap policies.
2. WHAT DISCOUNTS ARE AVAILABLE AND HOW DO THEY WORK? Many plans offer spousal and partner discounts. They can range from zero to as much as 14%. Find out how they work and ask whether both spouses have to be insured with the same insurance company.
3. ARE MY DOCTORS COVERED? One recent study reported that up to 40 percent of people switch plans (typically Medicare Advantage plans). And a key reason is that their preferred medical providers have dropped out of the plan. Changes happen and you really want to work with someone who knows what’s taking place in your particular area.
Read what the Medicare.gov website doesn’t clearly tell consumers.
Access the Benzinga article: Best Medicare Advantage Plan
Link to the Benzinga article: Best Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
Find 2021 Medicare Supplement Prices for top-10 Metro markets
Read How To Appeal Medicare Charges
Millions of Americans today favor Medicare Advantage plans. And, they are the ones you generally see advertised on television. The celebrity sports endorses obviously talk about all the great new features like no-cost hearing and dental benefits. And, yes, it is true that some actually offer what is called ‘zero-premium’ plans (also known as no cost coverage).
All of these perks are clearly the reason that many individuals select to have their health coverage provided under a Medicare Advantage plan.
There are of course things you should consider. Generally these plans specify what health care providers you must use. That compares with Medicare and Medicare Supplement where you can see any doctor or use any provider that accepts Medicare.
Plans typically have not been national. So, if you live in two homes (especially if you travel between two different states) Medicare Advantage may not be for you. However, plans do recognize this past shortcoming and are starting to address the issues.
As with all your decisions, our recommendation is to very carefully ask questions and get any answers in writing. When it comes to insurance, verbal information is as valuable as the paper it’s written on (a little bit or sarcasm). Only things in writing are binding.
Choosing the right prescription drug plan can be as important as any of your other Medicare decisions. Especially when you consider the cost of drugs today.
COMING SOON: The Association hopes to make available an incredibly valuable free tool for consumers. It will allow you to easily enter your drug information and check if there is a better (less costly) option available for you. This way you do not need to speak with an insurance agent who might try to sell you on a different plan. The automatic online system will be prominently featured on our website.
The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance (AAMSI) is an independent organization that advocates for the importance of this protection. AAMSI organizes the Medigap industry’s annual conference and make available the only independent national directory of agents. In addition, we have two sister organizations, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance.
We welcome hearing comments and feedback.