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Medigap: How And Why Seniors Choose A Medicare Supplement Plan

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MedigapChoosing a Medicare supplement insurance like Medigap or Medicare Advantage isn’t easy.  The variables and options are many, the system is complicated and, for many seniors, using a computer to access the internet for information is daunting.  Most people who are eligible for Medicare and who are looking to purchase a supplemental insurance plan have a primary focus, and that is to keep their costs low; so they often bypass other critical but confusing information about plan coverages to concentrate on costs.

Medicare Supplement:  Premiums Aren’t The Only Costs Seniors Must Consider
According to a report done by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, there are a number of cost factors that Medicare beneficiaries, most of whom are on fixed incomes, find important when they’re choosing or changing their health insurance plans. For those in good health, the overriding cost factor is the monthly premium.  For those in poorer health, the assumption is that they will have to use their insurance often, so the costs they must consider include deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses.  Some beneficiaries in poorer health try to anticipate the kind of care they’ll need in the future and tend to define the lowest cost plan for them as the one that puts them at the lowest financial risk when they have to seek help for that care.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance: There Are Important Factors Other Than Costs For Seniors
In the same Kaiser Family Foundation report, seniors noted a number of other factors that were important to them when choosing a Medicare supplemental insurance.  These other factors included:

  • Access to specific healthcare providers, especially providers who are currently treating them
  • Familiarity with the name of the insurance company, especially one with a good reputation
  • Customer service that is courteous and gives easy-to-understand answers
  • Being able to choose the same insurance as a spouse
  • Coverage for specific drugs or healthcare needs or plans that have extra coverage for dental or vision

Medigap:  Trying To Compare Plans Is Confusing And Frustrating For Most Seniors
Though the Medicare website has information for seniors who want to compare Medigap plans and also has information about Medicare Advantage, many beneficiaries find the detailed, technical information too difficult to understand much less to use to compare plans.  Additionally, they find that calling Medicare’s toll-free number for help often doesn’t result in any useful information.  For that reason, seniors turn to friends and relatives, doctors and pharmacists and insurance brokers and advisors for information.  These trusted sources of information are often more helpful to them in choosing a Medicare supplement plan than information disseminated by Medicare.

If you are a Medicare beneficiary or you know someone who is and who needs help in selecting a Medigap insurance policy and in understanding the many different plans available, call us at The Benefit Link at (877) 805-2952.  You can also visit us online at to learn more about how we help seniors with Medicare supplement insurance.

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