If your parents were like mine, they probably taught you to spend your money wisely. Let me use a story here to make a point. Suppose you are shopping for a new refridgerator. Your first stop is at Sears where you find the perfect Frigidaire XL2014, and at a great price, $2100. But because your parents told you to shop before you buy, you decide to check a few more places. The last stop you make is at Lowes, where you find the same Frigidaire XL2014. Same make, same model, same features…they are IDENTICAL! Only the one at Lowes costs $1500. Do you go back to Sears and buy the one for $2100? Unless you own stock in Sears, or your son is the sales rep, I hope your response is…Absolutely not! Why would you spend $600 more on the same thing. But Retirees are doing that very thing with their Medicare Supplement insurance.
But you may ask, “How do I know I’m getting the same benefits?” The answer is simple, our government did something right. Prior to 1992, Medicare Supplement insurance plans were not standardized. What this meant was that each insurance company’s Medicare supplement plans offered different benefits. This made it almost impossible for the Retiree to shop their coverage from company to company. Compare it to shopping for a car today. You can’t really compare cost from one dealer to another because the options are completely different. This one has leather seats, but the other one has On-Star. This one has a DVD player, but the other one has alloy wheels. It is impossible to truly compare cost because you are never comparing “apples to apples.” The same was true with Medicare Supplement insurance prior to 1992. But in 1992 the federal government stepped in and “standardized” Medicare Supplement insurance.
They did this because prior to 1992, unethical salespeople were taking coverage away from Retirees in order to save them money, and they weren’t disclosing the fact that they reduced their coverage. So the government stepped in and standardized the plans so this couldn’t happen anymore. They did this by offering 11 plans and giving them the letter names of A through N. In other words, it means you can compare a Plan F with one company to a Plan F with another company and know that the benefits are IDENTICAL. So you no longer have to say, “I know my supplement is expensive, but I don’t want to change it because it pays so well.” As long as you stick with the same Plan letter name, the new company is legally obligated to pay the same benefits as your old one.
So what does this mean for you? It means it would be a good idea to know what premium you pay compared to what others your age and in your area are paying for the same plan. This is important because you may be paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars more per year in premium and not be getting any better benefits. For example, the premiums for a Plan F for a 70 year old female range from $130/month on the low end up to $276/month on the high end. That’s a difference of $1,752 per year. And worse yet, the person paying $276/month is not getting any better benefits than the person paying $130. And don’t forget, you can change your medicare supplement policy any time of the year…you don’t have to wait for the Annual Enrollment Period at the end of the year.
If you would like to see how your premium compares, you can go to our website at www.seniormark.com and click on the “Supplement Rates” tab. And don’t worry, you will get instant numbers and we won’t collect your personal information. If you are not tech savvy just call us at 877-492-8803 and we will provide you with a free comparison report.
I bet your momma never thought shopping would be this easy!