How to Find the Right Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

Buying the right Medigap policy is a challenge because everyone has different circumstances and needs. Here are some basic steps that will help you find the right Medigap policy for your needs.

  • Understand Plans A-N
    Look over the various different types of A-N plans and narrow it down to three plans that you think you would want.
  • Find the Medigap Plans in Your Area
    Locate the companies the companies that sell these policies in your area. The easiest way to do this is online. You can also call your local SHIP office and have a representative help you choose a plan.
  • Research the Plans
    Call the companies, talk to the representatives and if possible go and talk to an insurance company representative face-to-face. This is like the dating period. Do you like what you see? How much does the plan cost? What things are excluded and included?
  • Compare Costs and Benefits
    Sit down and compare the costs and benefits of all the plans you are interested in. Narrow the plans down to a couple and then discuss the pros and cons of the plans with a good friend or family member if you can't decide.

The 2011 publication from Medicare, "Choosing a Medigap Policy," has an excellent questionnaire that will help guide you through appraising the suitability of each insurance company. A summary of this questionnaire is below. If possible use this when you are calling the company to make sure their policies meet your basic needs.

Auntie Lou says, "You will need to ask these questions:

  • Is the company licensed in your state?
  • So they offer the A-N plan you are interested in.
  • Is there any medical underwriting with this policy?
  • Do they have a waiting period for pre-existing conditions?
  • How do they price Medigap policies? What is the premium?
  • What was last year's premium compared to this years. How much compared to three years ago?
  • What is excluded from coverage?
  • Are there any additional benefits?
  • Are there any additional charges related to processing claims?

These are private insurance companies not governmental programs. Keep on your toes and read all the small print!"