The Puritan Advisor*

Understanding the Medicare Supplement Market


by Jason Elwonger on October 3, 2011

Understanding the Medicare Supplement Market

                Today, the majority of senior citizens do not fully understand the healthcare options that are available to them. Obviously, Medicare is the primary source of coverage for seniors upon reaching the age of 65. However, many people do not quite realize that Medicare will not cover all of their expenses.  Medicare is only designed to cover 80% of one’s approved medical expenses which leaves the remaining 20% to be covered by the members themselves. Those who cannot afford to pay everything out-of-pocket opt to enroll in Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, policies to help take care of the remaining costs for them.

            Understanding the Medicare Supplement market starts by learning what Medigap plans are in effect for and how you can go about the enrollment process. Anyone enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B is eligible to apply for a Medicare Supplement plan. There are a number of plans available to choose from based on your budget and needs. Plans of this type are standardized so you can be sure that once you decide on a particular desired policy, the benefits will be the same regardless of which company you purchase the plan through. On the other hand, premium amounts are not uniform in nature meaning the prices will vary from one carrier to the next.

            A few things that insurance carriers consider when quoting your monthly premium are:

  • Your Current Health Status
  • Whether or Not You Use Tobacco Products
  • Your Zip Code
  • Your Gender

            These things all help insurers decide what risk you might present and in turn, how much you should pay each month for your health insurance. Since Medicare Supplement policies are not based on your income, it is important to figure out what budget you will have to work with. While one company may quote you a certain price, another Medigap insurer could quote you a much lower amount for the exact same benefits. Because each company is competing for your business, it is essential to comparison shop before making a final decision. Medicare Supplemental provider ratings can give you an insight to each insurer’s reputation. Once you have decided what benefits best fit your needs, it is fairly easy to obtain free and personalized Medigap quotes online or via telephone.


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