Everyone wants to know which questions to ask your Medicare Agent and what to have during your call to make the process easier.
Before calling to enroll, Medicare beneficiaries should have certain information readily available.
Specific details can determine which plan is right for you. Ensuring beneficiaries find the best option, agents review an individual’s information; then, they match it with a plan that makes the most sense for the beneficiary.
Before calling a Medicare agent, beneficiaries should do some research and have some information handy. Prepare for your agent to ask questions about your health, personal information and more.
Important Questions to Ask your Medicare Agent
Beneficiaries shopping for a Medigap policy should also have a list of questions to ask their agents. While researching and reviewing plan options, any questions you have – you should write down.
Have this list available before you call your Medicare agent. If you’re unsure what to ask, we started a list of important questions beneficiaries should know the answers to.
Have Personal Information Ready
Medicare eligibility begins for most at the age of 65. During this time, beneficiaries may wish to enroll in a Medigap plan. Joining a plan during a beneficiary’s six-month Medigap
Open Enrollment Period (OEP), insurance carriers may not use medical underwriting to determine application acceptance.
Moreover, carriers may not deny coverage when enrolling during the OEP. Insurance companies use medical underwriting to determine coverage or cost of a plan. Medical underwriting uses a patient’s health condition to make decisions.
Agents ask for your zip code. Providing your zip code helps agents find plans available near you. Agents may also ask for your phone number and email address as a future reference for contact information.
Beneficiaries calling outside of the OEP can expect agents to provide information about current options and cost. If you qualify for Medicare because of a disability or medication condition and are under 65, you may not qualify for Medigap.
States that do offer Supplement Insurance to those under 65, often charge beneficiaries more.
Have Your Medicare Card
After enrolling in Medicare, you may enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan. Then, Medicare issues a Medicare card with the beneficiary’s Medicare number on it.
Having your card ready helps your agent verify coverage by using your Medicare card number.
Provider Preference List
Before calling a Medicare agent, you likely did some research. Having a list of Medicare Supplement Plans you prefer, can help your agent compare rates. Likewise, write down all the doctors and health care facilities you often visit, or that you prefer.
Not all doctors and health care facilities accept Medicare assignment. Although, it’s important they also accept Medicare Supplement Insurance.
Include a list of all your health concerns and/or medical records. Providing agents with specific healthcare needs can help them decide what plans may be best for you.
Each Medigap plan provides different coverage options. To ensure proper coverage, be open about any healthcare needs you may have. Leaving gaps in coverage can result in unnecessary, hefty, out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Determining Premium Plan Cost
Enrolling in Medigap during the Open Enrollment Period means joining during the first six months of turning 65 and joining Medicare Part B.
During this time beneficiaries have Guaranteed-Issue rights to buy a plan for additional coverage. Meaning, beneficiaries won’t pay extra due to pre-existing health issues.
Joining outside of the OEP may result in additional charges. You can ask your agent if a company will deny or accept your application. Additionally, agents can tell you how a plan determines premium amounts and costs.
Without Guaranteed-Issue rights, companies can base premium rates on many factors. Including, gender, marital status, tobacco use, pre-existing health conditions and more.
Ask Your Medicare Agent Questions About Popular Plans in Your Area
When more people in one area enroll in a specific plan, premiums can sometimes become lower for that policy.
Ask your agent what are the most popular plans in my area?” Medicare agents compare the cost and benefit values for the plan you want.
Waiting Periods before Coverage
Let’s say you got a diagnosis with a certain medical condition 6 months before you bought a Medigap plan. In this case, you may need to wait up to 6 months before your Supplement Insurance coverage begins.
However, enrolling during the OEP gives beneficiaries Guaranteed-Issue rights. Carriers cannot enforce the waiting period during this time due to GI rules.
Talk to your agent, ask “Is there a waiting period before a policy covers my pre-existing conditions?”
When Medigap Coverage Begins
Depending on when you purchase a policy, will determine when the coverage begins. Your agent should know exactly when coverage starts.
Don’t forget to ask, “When will my Medigap coverage begin?”
Are there Similar Plans for Lower Premiums
Finding a perfect plan for yourself is exciting! Even if you’re sure you found the perfect match, ask your agent if there are other plans available.
Plans with identical benefits may be an option, at a lower cost. Some plans have extra benefits you don’t really need. In turn, you may end up paying more for benefits you don’t use.
What are the Out-of-Pocket Costs
Ask your agent what out-of-pocket costs your responsible for. Understanding your expenses for doctors’ visits, medicines, and medical services is important. Unexpected changes can be financially exhausting.
Signing up for a policy after your OEP may be more expensive. However, you should feel comfortable and secure with your plan choice. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent any questions you have before deciding.