Rights of passage – you got your drivers license, became old enough to drink, got married, had children, hit 40, then 50 and became entitled to United of Omaha, retired, and now you’re 65 and are entitled to Medicare. Embrace it and the challenges that come with it. Shopping for a Medicare supplement plan is some of those challenges – but this really is not too difficult.
If you’re over age 65 and do not need a retiree medical plan by way of a former employer or union or even a government retiree plan and are not on Medicaid for medical coverage then you’ve likely had the pleasure of researching your options.
It’s especially difficult if you’re looking into this insurance when you’re first turning 65. If you’ve already experienced this you’ll know what I am talking about find medicare premiums online when I say your mailbox becomes cluttered with the marketing materials from all the various providers of Medicare supplement providers and all the educational material from Social Security and Medicare. You’ll get brochures and outlines of coverage and applications and scores of “Choosing a Medigap Policy” Guides (Medigap is another term with this insurance) and Medicare and You and notices and requests to send your information back on a card.
Possibly even worse are the device calls and the unexpected visitors at the doorway all wanting to help you understand why their plans are best.
It is one of the worst types of information overload you’ll ever experience. You’ll have stack of Medicare and Medicare supplement guides 1 foot tall. They start about 6 months before your 65th birthday and just keep coming until almost a year after. Even after age 65 you will end up bombarded towards the end of each year with offers from different companies. Many seem a little too good to be true – and they often are.
To create things even a little more frustrating is that you have to forget everything you’ve ever known about medical insurance before the age of 65.
You see, this insurance policies does not need doctor’s networks. They are not PPO’s or HMO’s. Once you obtain a Medicare supplement you don’t have to worry about your doctor taking, as well as preferring, one Medicare supplement companies plan over another’s. Your network could be the Medicare network and the doctor’s office files medical claims using them – not with the Medicare supplement insurance company. Once Medicare approves the claim they will notify your Medicare Supplement Insurance provider that they have to pay their part. So, the Medicare supplement insurance company can’t come to a decision if they would like to pay a claim or not. If Medicare approves they’ve to pay their part. If Medicare does not approve the insurance company doesn’t pay anything either.
Also, the plans are standardized groups of benefits classified into plan letters. So, you might end up buying a plan F or a plan G or C. Regardless of which plan letter you opt for it will work identically without regards to which company you obtain it from.