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jimmac28

Medicare Supplemental Insurance

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I should assume you know the definition of the terminology you are using - but I'm not so sure since you are asking this question. So I will back up just a bit. To use your terms means that you have Original Medicare A&B and not a Medicare Advantage Plan ©. As such, the supplemental plans of the various insurance companies MUST be accepted wherever Medicare is accepted. And since Medicare is accepted across the country without regards to where you call "home", so is your Supplemental Ins (Medigap). Whether it is BC or Aetna or Humana or Jim's Ins Co. does not matter. Various companies may be better than others in terms of their customer service, speed of payment or other administrative items but those things have nothing to do with whether or not you are full timing or whether you are in x state or y state.

 

Medicare also regulates the various plans offered by the Medigap insurers, like Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and more. A Plan A offered by insurer #1 will be identical to the Plan A offered by insurer #2 etc. All Plan B's are the same as are all Plan C's. Further a Plan A or B or C etc. issued to a resident of state # 1 will be identical to the same Plan letter issued to a resident of state #2 or #3 etc.

 

What will differ is the price for each Plan. Also an insurer can pick which of the various Plans it will offer in each jurisdiction and what price it will offer the same plan in various areas. So if you are domiciled in State A, County (Parish) B, you may find 7 insurers that offer Plan C in your county and those will all be identical coverages across the country. You just need to pick price (unless you have a great need to pick based on heavy advertising). You may find that of those same insurers, not all will offer Plan B and you may find that if you lived in a different corner of your state, the same plans may not be available from the same insurers or they may be priced differently.

 

So you need to learn what each of the generic Plans offer for coverages, for deductibles, co pays etc. and, based on your forecasted hospital and doctor needs for the upcoming year or based on your willingness to handle risk, pick the Plan that suits your needs best. Then price that Plan amongst the insurers that offer that plan in your domicile and make your choice. Your Medicare and You booklet will best describe your options and what each Plan covers or doesn't cover. If you don't have the booklet, you can google it and read it online. Medicare also has a great website for picking your plan, entering your zip code and it will tell you what companies offer which plans in your zip code. From there you can then start pricing them. Whatever you buy will be accepted wherever Medicare is accepted across the country.

 

All bets are off if you should choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C) as those plans need not be accepted all over, need not be standardized etc.

Edited by avan

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avan has provided an excellent overview. To provide an answer to the OP's general question of "what's best?" the most comprehensive "Medigap" plan is the so-called "Plan F". It's also the most expensive.

 

One thing about Medigap plans that often is overlooked is that when you are first eligible for Medicare you can select any plan and have guaranteed acceptance. If you, subsequently, in a future year, wish to change to a Medigap plan offered by a different insurance company you no longer have guaranteed acceptance. That's not such a big deal because all plans with the same "letter" will have the same benefits, just variations in premiums.

 

This issue relative to changing insurance companies is NOT true of Part D (prescription drug) plans. If you have a Part D plan for this year and want to change to a different one for next year there are no concerns. We did just that because our broker helped us identify we could save a few $$ by changing carriers based on an analysis of our specific prescription usage and the relevant co-pays for those drugs.

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Dutch has Used United Teachers as his supplement since 1994. when I was ready, I called them and while he is still under UT, they had changed to Cigna. No problem getting signed up and they knew we traveled constantly. I have never had a claim denied because where we were at the time. Good Luck. Hugs, Di

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Since Medicare and Medicare Supplements (Medigap) are Federally controlled programs, it makes no difference if you travel from state to state. The only issue in a new area is finding a doctor that accepts new Medicare patients. The coverage & costs are the same. You must sign up for the supplement policy of your choice using your home state (domicile) address, but once you're signed up its good all over the country.

There are different Supplement plans with slightly different coverages, but no one can say which is best for you. Its entirely personal preference based your your individual health status, medical needs, budget and priorities. But no difference based on travel within the USA.

Review the different plan options at the Medicare web site. I'm told that Plan F is the most popular since it has the most coverage, but its also the most expensive. Plan G is exactly the same as F, except you pay the Medicare annual deductible, about $150 but it changes slightly every year. So if you find a Plan G that's $15/mon or more cheaper than the Plan F, its a better deal if you don't mind paying the deductible yourself.

 

https://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/compare-medigap/compare-medigap.html

 

 

What is the best Medicare Supplemental Insurance for full timers that travel from state to state?

Edited by Jim2

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To provide an answer to the OP's general question of "what's best?" the most comprehensive "Medigap" plan is the so-called "Plan F". It's also the most expensive.

To answer this you need to define the term "best." In my opinion the intention was which is best for the premium required. If you compare the cost and the coverage's of plan G to those of plan F, you will find that while the premiums for G are significantly lower, the benefits are the same except that with plan G you have to pay the Medicare deductible. That is the only difference and so we have changed from F to G and it is saving us about $60/month each.

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To answer this you need to define the term "best." In my opinion the intention was which is best for the premium required. If you compare the cost and the coverage's of plan G to those of plan F, you will find that while the premiums for G are significantly lower, the benefits are the same except that with plan G you have to pay the Medicare deductible. That is the only difference and so we have changed from F to G and it is saving us about $60/month each.

 

With all due respect, I think you have overstated the difference between plans F and G. I just used my broker's website to compare a particular company (Cigna) that happens to sell both plans in South Dakota (not all carriers have both plans). According to the website the difference between Plans F and G for a 69 yr old male is $143 per year. That's not zero but it's far from $60/month for each. But you are correct that the only difference between the two plans is that G doesn't pay the Part B deductible which is $147 in 2016.

 

It's important to have done the comparison this way with premium quotes from the same insurance company for both plans. Some companies, Humana, for example, sell only one plan or the other but there's enough variation in prices between them to make it impossible to compare a Plan G from one company to a Plan F from another.

Edited by docj

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Thanks everyone for the good info, I'm in Illinois right now but that's another question. Now I have to process all this information, we are targeting this fall to start full timing, both of us are hitting 65 this year.

 

I'll be back with more questions thanks again.

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With all due respect, I think you have overstated the difference between plans F and G. I just used my broker's website to compare a particular company (Cigna) that happens to sell both plans in South Dakota (not all carriers have both plans). According to the website the difference between Plans F and G for a 69 yr old male is $143 per year. That's not zero but it's far from $60/month for each. But you are correct that the only difference between the two plans is that G doesn't pay the Part B deductible which is $147 in 2016.

In our case for the year 2016, Plan F premium was $228/month and we are paying $167/month for Plan G, or a difference of $732 while the deductible is $147/year. That is for Pam. In my case the Plan F premium would have been $224/month and for me Plan G is $161/month so my savings is $63/month or $756 for a total of $1,498, less a deductible of $284 for a total per year of premium savings of $1,204/year.

 

We are a few years older than you and we did compare all plans across all insurance providers. The Plan F that we began with was from Mutual of Omaha which was best for us two years ago and the savings from plan G at that time was not significant, this plan year by changing to a Plan G from BCBS which does have significantly lower premiums for us than would have been true had we stayed with Mutual of Omaha. Had we stayed with Mutual of Omaha, the savings in changing from Plan F to Plan G would have been slightly less than half what it is with the change of underwriters.

 

But my point remains the same that you need to compare plans, plan coverage's, and plan premiums and work the math to be sure and you need to check again each year or perhaps every two years. Plans do vary by both state and to some degree by county, although the county factor seems to be less for Medigap coverage than it does for plans for those not yet on Medicare.

 

But Joel's post does give an additional point to the subject in that I happen to be 4 years older than he and that may account for the difference in what he found as compared to what we found. In fact, when we were forced on to Medigap by the ACA actions toward my former employer's health plan, the premium differences between Plan G and Plan F were not much different from what Joel has stated here and we did at that time choose to go with Mutual of Omaha, plan F. Going back to 2011 we were paying $148.87 & $142.58 each in premiums for Mutual of Omaha, plan F while for year 2016 our premiums, had we stayed with Mutual of Omaha, plan F would have been $228/224 or $452 per month compared to $291.45 back in 2011, or a 55% increase in premiums in 5 years. No doubt that part of this increase is due to age but the very fact that changing underwriters makes such a premium difference would seem to indicate that we were being ripped!

 

In today's government controlled health insurance markets, there is no reward for brand or plan loyalty. What this comparison really points out is that for the most coverage for the amount spent in premiums, we need to review and compare every year and we should change underwriters and coverage's by cost/coverage analysis frequently. I like to think that I compare insurance coverage's and costs every other year but the example above points out how easy it is to just do nothing and stay with what you have, when one really should be changing for best return on the money spent. I knew that it was time to look again, but didn't get going to do so until the rising cost was enough to wake me up.

Edited by Kirk

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You can decide which letter plan you need based on your medical needs. The carrier of that plan is another choice. I used AARP for two years but have now changed to one offered to retired Teamsters. A bit of a monthly savings. I also increased my coverage to plan F. Some doctors charge a premium over medicare and only F covers that. Different insurers charge different premiums for the same plans. Your permanent address makes the biggest difference in premiums, in general. Most policies also increase with your age.

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You have received some good information from fellow Escapees here--particularly from avan and Kirk. I, too, recommend Plan G to most of my clients except in states where it is not competitively priced relative to F.

 

Two things to add...

 

1. Some carriers in some states give discounts of up to 12% for households. So be sure and ask about that when getting quotes since those discounts aren't automatically quoted in many cases.

 

2. Although you only have one Initial Coverage Open Enrollment to get a guaranteed issue supplement (upon Part B enrollment), some states do have laws that allow you to switch later without health underwriting as well, such as Washington, California, and Florida.

Edited by KyleHenson

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