Those who depend on Medicare as their primary insurance source are all too aware that their policies may not cover all of their medical needs. This lapse in coverage can cause financial hardships due to out of pocket costs, or worse, lead to a lack of medical attention. For those reasons, and a host of others depending on your medical needs, Medicare Supplemental plans are available to bridge the gaps in coverage. To follow is a step by step guide to buying Medigare gap coverage.
STEP 1: Evaluate Your Medical Needs
In an effort to determine which benefits package will help you receive optimally covered medical care you must first evaluate your medical needs. Medicare Supplement plans are available in categories labeled A through N, and each provides a different set of benefits to the policy holder.
When choosing a policy it is important to not only consider your current medical needs, but also to forecast your future needs with your primary physician. This will help you choose a plan that is right for you now, and going forward. Once you decide on a plan, you may not be able to change it, depending on your state’s coverage laws.
STEP 2: Research & Interview Insurance Companies that Sell Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans in Your State
Medigap plans vary by state, and they can be sold by a number of different insurance companies. In addition, they may not all charge the same amount for the coverage you seek, which means you should interview more than one insurance agency at a time to insure you are getting the best coverage at the best price.
There are a number of resources in your state that can assist you in determining which insurance companies may be right for you. Contact your State Insurance Assistance Program, your State Insurance Department, or logon to the Medicare website for more information that is specific to your particular state. Talk to friends and family members about your needs, and do not be afraid to ask for help in making such an important decision about your healthcare coverage.
STEP 3: Compare Costs
Once you have identified more than one insurance company in your state that sells your specific plan, ask each of them for a quote for coverage. Since different insurance companies typically charge a different rate, it is necessary to insure that you are receiving the best price for your policy. Do not be afraid to ask questions about the coverage options that are available. It is the agency’s job to provide you with the proper information, and a quote for coverage, without making you feel pressured to make a decision. If, at any time, you feel like you are being treated unfairly or are being pressured to purchase a policy that is not right for you, do not hesitate to speak with a supervisor. This coverage is important, and it needs to be right the first time.
STEP 4: Purchase the Medicare Supplemental Plan
Once you have determined that an insurance company has provided you with all of the information you need to move forward with your policy, at a fair price, it is time to apply for coverage. Fill out the application in its entirety or double check the information closely if the insurance agent filled it out for you. Once the application is complete, make a note of exactly when your coverage will begin. It should start no later than thirty days after the completion of the application, so make sure the agent provides you with an actual start date. Next, pay for the policy with a notable means of payment. This means using a check, money order or bank draft, so you have a secondary record of the payment. Make it payable to the insurance company and never to the agent directly. Finally, ask for a receipt once the payment is made.