1. Coverage – Are the services you need covered?
2. Your other coverage – If you have other types of health or prescription drug coverage, make sure you understand how that coverage works with Medicare. If you have employment-related coverage, or get your health care from an Indian Health or Tribal Health Program, talk to your benefits administrator, insurer, or plan before making any changes.
3. Costs – How much are your Medigap plan premiums, deductibles, and other costs? How much do you pay for services like hospital stays or doctor visits? Is there a yearly limit on what you could pay out of pocket for medical services? Make sure you understand any coverage rules that may affect your costs.
4. Doctor and hospital choice – Do your doctors accept the Medigap coverage? Are the doctors you want to see accepting new patients? Do you have to choose your hospital and health care providers from a network? Do you need to get referrals?
5. Prescription drugs – What are your drug needs? Do you need to join a Medicare drug plan? Do you already have creditable prescription drug coverage? Will you pay a penalty if you join a drug plan later? What will your prescription drugs cost under each plan? Are your drugs covered under the plan’s formulary (drug list)?
6. Quality of care – The quality of care and services given by plans and other health care providers can vary. See the “Resource Locator” for more help comparing plans and providers.
7. Convenience – Does the Medicare Supplement Insurance plan include the doctors you see and the pharmacies you use? Can you get your prescriptions by mail? Do the doctors use electronic health records or E-prescribe?
8. Travel – Will the plan cover you if you travel to another state?
Company reputation and rating is important, but it is not everything. There is no doubt that it is better to choose a company that has been worked for 100 years than that has been in business 100 days. Since Medicare supplement plans offer standardized benefits, meaning Plan F works the same no matter whose Plan F you have, most consumers will simply opt for the plan with the lowest monthly premium.
If you have additional questions, or need assistance in finding the best Medicare Supplement plan for your situation, contact Medigap Advisors at 866-323-1441.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.