SOURCE: American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance

Medicare Supplement Insurance Association

March 03, 2017 10:18 ET

Comparing Medicare Supplement Insurance Can Save Money and Yield Better Benefits

Online Directory of Local Medicare Supplement Agents Helps Consumers Find Information and Costs

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - March 03, 2017) - Medicare insurance planning today can be complicated and getting the best health coverage for the lowest cost takes a bit of effort.

"Medicare is a great program but understanding options and choices is definitely not simple," explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance (AAMSI). "Comparing options, plans and some of the free perks insurers now include to benefit seniors can help reduce costs, secure care choices and even offer no-cost bonuses."

Over 55 million Americans are eligible for Medicare and another 10,000 turn 65 every day. "Choosing the right Medicare insurance coverage at the beginning can be the most important financial and healthcare decision made before or during retirement," Slome admonishes.

"During the working years, choosing a health care plan is relatively easy because two-thirds of Americans get health coverage through their employer," Slome states. "Employer plans generally offer limited options pre-selected for you. With Medicare, there's no pre-selection. Individuals make all the choices for what's best today, and tomorrow too."

Getting information from knowledgeable experts who focus on Medicare insurance planning is vital, Slome believes. "It's not just about comparing costs. An experienced expert can help and they'll pose questions people never think of asking."

"What's the better choice a Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Supplement insurance policy, often referred to as Medigap?" Slome asks. "Are policy changes in the future possible? What if the family moves to another city or state, starts taking more cruises or foreign trips during retirement; will that impact coverage?"

Slome offers the following Medicare insurance planning tips.

Focus On Both the Present and Future. Start with an understanding of the different Medicare insurance options. Be sure to spend time, thinking about future changes to health and where you'll be living.

Compare Costs. While Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, rates vary. An AAMSI study found rates for Medigap Plan F policies varied as much as 68 percent for the same location in 2016. "We often found a 20-to-40 percent spread between the lowest and highest costs," Slome shares. "No single company always has the lowest cost and no company always has the highest costs."

Weigh Out-Of-Pocket Costs. A zero cost Medicare Advantage plan may sound appealing today, but be sure to weigh any out-of-pocket costs and ask the insurance professional to share options that may be better if health changes occur.

Is Switching Plans Possible? We see ads from car insurance companies talking about saving when you switch plans. With Medicare, it is essential to ask what limitations exist if switching plans is desirable.

Ask About Available Discounts or Added Perks. Few individuals are aware that a Medigap insurer may offer spousal or household discounts. Some will offer lower rates for women. Some Medicare insurance plans offer added no-cost bonuses such as free gym membership or discounts on various health-related products.

Find Local Medicare Supplement Agents in Your Area

To find knowledgeable local Medicare Supplement agents check out the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance's online directory. There is no sign-in information required to access the only independent registry of local Medigap agents. To learn more visit the organization's website at www.medicaresupp.org or call 818-597-3205 to request information.

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