What to do when monthly premiums go up.
Each year I hear from retirees in Maine and New Hampshire who have purchased expensive Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policies. They have talked to a friend or neighbor who has worked with me and want to know why they are paying so much more.
If you have a Medicare Supplement then last year was particularly painful because there was no cost of living increase to your Social Security check yet the insurance companies still increased your rates. And it looks like that will happen again this year with trustees projecting a 0.2 percent increase for 2017 and insurance premium increases are expected to be 3-5%.
So, what are your options?
Option #1 - Look at Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)
The first and most obvious choice for lowering costs is to look at Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C. These plans are required to offer everything that’s covered under Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, and may include other benefits as well, such as prescription drug coverage, dental, and vision.
These plans have much lower monthly premiums and unlike your Medicare Supplement the monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage plans have been going DOWN with a few plans now charging $0 per month. These plans have cost shares that you pay when you go to the doctors or hospital but if you are only seeing a few doctors each year the savings can be big.
Option #2 - Shop Around
Your second option is to shop around and find out if there is a less expensive plan that will suit your needs. There are many plan choices that offer lower monthly premiums with more out of pocket costs. If you have Plan F then you are on the most expensive plan available.
Look at the differences between Plan N, Plan G and Plans K or L to see of those would be better. Be careful when changing plans and make sure you talk to your agent to make sure you are aware of all the costs. Click here to compare Medicare Supplements in Maine and New Hampshire.
Option #3 - Change Insurance Companies
Another option is changing insurance companies. Medigap plans are standardized and the coverage is identical from one carrier to another. If you have Plan F with Company A and see that Company B is offering Plan F for less, you can switch to the lower cost plan and your benefits will not change.
Again, when changing plans it's always best to talk to your agent to make sure you are aware of all the costs. Click here to compare Medicare Supplements in Maine and New Hampshire.
Option #4 - Work with a local Independent Agent to help you.
Last but not least, if you are not working with a local agent then you should. Unlike purchasing auto, home or life insurance, buying a health insurance policy is just the beginning, not the end of the process. Why? Your health and that of your family can change constantly -- and so can your insurance needs.
About 80 percent of what an agent does comes after you are enrolled in the insurance plan. With health insurance, an agent remains your advocate. Since most people receive their health insurance through an employer before retirement, they see very little of the ongoing services that agents provide. To give a few examples, agents:
- Assist clients with claim issues, and answer questions throughout the year.
- Review rates and plan changes each year.
- Explain plan designs, benefits and options.
- Assist in resolving billing issues.
Licensed agents act as a single point of contact between you and the insurance company. There is no cost to work with an agent. Agents are paid in the form of a commission based on your enrollment in a plan. These commissions are paid by the insurance company, not you!
"It really is a win-win situation for all my clients!"
If you don’t have an agent and would like one on your side then send me a message or give me a call. I would love to help you save money!
You can reach me at (207) 370-0143 or by email using the form on my CONTACT page here.
"My goal is to help people and I have found great joy in being able to offer my services to people who need my help."