4 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Medigap Plan

If you're eligible for Medicare, you might want to consider looking into Medicare supplement insurance plans as well from companies like Brown & Brown of Prescott. After all, Medicare typically doesn't cover all of a person's medical expenses. For example, many prescriptions are not fully covered on Medicare, which means you'll be left paying out-of-pocket--unless you have a supplement policy, such as a Medigap plan. Before you purchase Medigap insurance, however, there are some important questions you'll want to ask the agent.

Which Factors Determine Policy Premiums?

First and foremost, find out what kinds of factors and considerations go into determining your policy premium. Some common factors that will go into this include:

  • age
  • marital status
  • whether or not you smoke/drink
  • gender

Depending on your age, your current or existing health problems could also affect your premium. Once you're 65 years of age, however, a Medicare supplement insurance company cannot quote you a higher policy premium (or deny you coverage) based on past or current health problems, provided that you bought your policy within six months of your 65th birthday.

How Do You Handle Pre-Existing Conditions?

While Medigap insurance companies cannot charge you more based on a pre-existing condition you have, they can place restrictions on your coverage of these conditions. Specifically, some Medigap insurance companies will have a "waiting period" after your enrollment where you will not be able to receive payment for services related to these pre-existing conditions. After that waiting period, however, you will be covered. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see whether or not a waiting period will apply to you and, if so, how long it will be.

When Will the Coverage Begin?

Understand that your Medigap insurance coverage may not begin as soon as you enroll. Generally, insurance companies hold what is referred to as an "open enrollment" period during certain times of the year. Once you've enrolled, however, your actual coverage may not begin until several weeks or even months later. Be sure to get a definitive policy-start date from your insurance agent before you sign any contracts or make any payments on your Medigap policy.

Will Rates Increase Based on Age?

Finally, find out ahead of time whether or not your age will affect rate increases down the road. Some Medigap insurance policies will allow you to lock-in a rate based on how old you were when you bought the policy, whereas others will increase your rates as you age. Others still have "community-rated" premiums, where everybody in a certain geographical area pays the same amount regardless of age.