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10 Things You Need to Know About Medicare

1) Original Medicare is the Foundation of Your Coverage

To enroll in a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan, you must have Part A and Part B of Original Medicare.

2) The Best Time to Buy a Medicare Supplement Policy

The best time to buy is the six-month period that you’re new to Medicare Part B. Because insurance companies are not allowed to use medical underwriting to decide: how much to charge you or accept your application.

3) Medicare Supplement Plans Are All Created Equal

Medicare Supplement plans are federally regulated and identical for each insurance provider. For example, with Company #1, Plan F will have the same benefits as Plan F, with Company #2. The only thing that will vary between carriers is the price you pay.

4) Medicare Supplement Premiums

Rates for Medicare Supplement Plans are based on: age, gender, location, tobacco use, health status, and the plan type you select. So it pays to shop around for your best rates!

5) Rate Increase History… Check Before You Buy

Typically, rates for Medicare Supplement policies go up each year. However, some companies have historically higher rate increases than others. Therefore, it’s important to research the companies you are interested in and become knowledgeable about their rate increase history.

6) Do You Work For The Insurance Company or Me?

Most insurance agents represent one insurance company, and they’ll only show you rates for the company they work for. An insurance broker represents the client instead of the insurance company. Insurance brokers, like Medicare Hero, are contracted with several different insurance companies, which allows them to help you compare rates from various companies.

7) Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period happens every year from October 15 – December 7. This is the only time of year to enroll or switch your Medicare Advantage and/or Part D Drug Plans. Therefore, it’s important to reevaluate your coverage each year to ensure you still have the best plan at the best rate.

8) Make Sure You Have Part D (Drug Coverage)

You may have to pay a late enrollment penalty of 1% each month you didn’t have Part D Prescription Drug Coverage. This permanent penalty will be added to your premium if you take out prescription drug coverage. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription coverage, which satisfies the coverage requirement.

9) Networks are Important for Medicare Advantage

Each Medicare Advantage company has its own network of doctors and hospitals. Be sure to check your current doctors and hospitals are in-network for the plan you choose. Depending on your plan, you may also be required to get a referral before seeing a specialist.

10) Underwriting for Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans require minimal medical underwriting. Typically, End-Stage Renal Disease is the only condition that will prohibit you from qualifying for a Medicare Advantage plan.