Medicare supplement premiums are usually locked in during the first year of the policy. After 12 months and on your policy anniversary, you may find that the insurance company has increased your monthly rates substantially from the base rate.
Many carriers are enacting price increases of ten percent or more year over year and some are raising prices more than once in the same year. Rest assured however, there are several ways to reduce your monthly premiums.
The short answer is: you can switch Medicare supplements anytime you want. In most states, there is no open enrollment period once you are already a Medicare beneficiary. If your premiums have increased dramatically, then you simply contact an independent agency (like us) and we can help you find a new carrier offering the exact same coverage at a lower rate.
There is one caveat however. You must be in reasonably good health to medically qualify for a new supplemental insurance plan. Most companies have about ten questions on their application and if any are answered yes, you will be ineligible for new coverage.
In some cases, a certain amount of time must have elapsed since a particular health event occurred before you can be underwritten. In our experience, most consumers can be underwritten for a new plan as these questions and time limits do not apply to the majority of the general population.
Mutual of Omaha and some of its subsidiaries (United of Omaha and United World Life) have increased premiums somewhat substantially over the last year in several areas of the country. As long as you are in decent health, you will be able to purchase the same coverage (Plan F for instance) with one of their sister companies (Assured Life and Gerber Life) or one of their competitors (Aetna, Central States Indemnity, AARP, American Continental) at a much lower rate.
However, for those who cannot medically qualify for new coverage, Plan N will be available from Mutual of Omaha on a guaranteed issue basis in most states after June 1, 2010. While this is a cost sharing type of plan, premiums will be considerably lower and may offset any additional out of pocket expenses that you might have. (Editor’s note: Mutual of Omaha no longer offers Plan N on a guaranteed issue basis.)
It is conceivable that other carriers will follow suit and offer guaranteed issue plans as well. However, Plan N through Mutual of Omaha or any of its affiliates will be a good option if you are stuck in an expensive Medicare supplement plan because you cannot be underwritten elsewhere.
Two states offering a yearly open enrollment that we serve are Missouri and California. They both offer an annual open enrollment period when you can switch to like coverage (Plan F to Plan F for instance) without medical underwriting. The open enrollment window is different for everybody and occurs on either the anniversary date when you purchased the coverage or your birthday.
If you live in either of these states and are unsure of your options, then contact our agency and we can discuss the best way to purchase a new Medicare supplement without any medical underwriting.
We are an independent agency licensed with many carriers in several states and we offer several competitively priced Medicare supplement insurance plans. There is no additional cost to use our services as Medigap prices are controlled by law. You are buying direct through us.
We will provide you with quotes on the plan(s) of your choice and can advise you on your options when it comes to changing coverage when your monthly premiums have increased or when you are in your open enrollment period.
Contact us to learn more about lowering your Medicare supplement rates today.
Category: Medicare Supplements