When shopping for Medicare supplement plans, it’s important to know many providers offer spousal and/or household discounts for married applicants – or those who share a residence.
These discounts usually range from 5-12% depending on the insurance company guidelines.
There are several providers offering supplemental premium discounts to those who qualify. AARP United Healthcare, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Bankers Fidelity, Cigna, Heartland National, Humana, IAC, Manhattan Life, Medico, Mutual of Omaha and Sentinel Life are just a few that do. (There are some carriers that do not offer any discounts no matter your circumstances.)
The most common type of discount for Medicare supplement insurance requires both spouses make application and be accepted. Couples don’t have to choose the same plan, but both parties must enroll with same company.
For instance, one spouse may apply for Plan F and the other Plan G or Plan N. So long as both are accepted to the plan of their choice, a spousal discount will apply to each policy. The discount percentage will not differ depending on the chosen plan. If the selected insurance company offers a 5% discount, then both policies will be reduced by that amount.
A new trend with Medicare supplements is to offer a household discount to applicants who are living with someone else. The other household member does not need to apply (or own a policy) for the applicant to enjoy the same discount offered to couples.
In this case, living with a spouse, sibling, adult child, roommate or significant other may qualify the applicant for a premium discount. In most cases, the household member not applying must be above age 50 (sometimes 60) for the applicant to qualify. Additionally, most insurance companies will require that the two household members have lived together for at least the last 12 months.
Some states allow for a Medicare supplement household discount while others do not. It’s important to inform your agent about your living situation to see if you might qualify. Undoubtedly, there are those who are missing out on available discounts because they did not work with a knowledgeable broker.
Medicare supplement discounts are not usually lifetime programs. With most, you must meet the ongoing requirements of either being married and both insured – or living with someone of the proper age and for the required length of time.
In the event of divorce, death or permanent move – the applicant(s) can lose their premium reductions. Insurance companies do not necessarily audit their members, but they will be aware when another applicant is no longer on the plan for any reason.
Another easy way to save on your supplemental insurance costs is by choosing the payment method(s) most preferred by the provider. In most cases, paying by monthly bank draft or one annual lump sum is least expensive option. If you prefer to be billed monthly, quarterly or semi-annually, then you will almost always pay more overall.
And we are often asked about premium discounts with Medicare Advantage and Part D drug coverage. Unfortunately, there are no marital or household discounts of any kind for these policies. You must pay full price even if someone you live with chooses the same plan with the same company.
It’s also important to know that some states (Florida is a good example) do not allow for spousal discounts on any of their Medicare supplement plans. It’s hard to say why, but Insurance Departments across the country all have different rules.
There are several ways you can qualify for discounts on your Medicare supplement insurance plans and you don’t necessarily need to be married to do so. Each carrier (and state) will have their own rules and guidelines, so it’s a good idea to speak with an informed broker who represents several insurance companies to find your best deal.
It does not cost a penny extra to place your business with an agent or broker and you can end up saving money simply by being aware of the savings options available in your home state.