Insurance companies cannot deny this group of people a supplemental policy within the first six months of signing up for Medicare. Also during this time period, insurance companies cannot charge this group more for their policy based on pre-existing conditions.
“If they miss that opportunity in the first six months when they sign up for Part B, then the company can make them fill out medical questionnaires, they can ask a whole bunch of questions, they can deny them, they can charge them more,” Walker said.
The state Insurance Department's Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program offers free Medicare counseling. Anyone with questions about coverage or plans can call the Oklahoma Medicare Assistance Program at (800) 763-2828.
Along with questions about coverage, you can also ask the Insurance Department whether the company has customer complaints against it.
It's important to know what kind customer service you'll be offered.
Moos, who works out of Dallas, said when selecting a Medigap plan, it's also important to keep in mind what you're paying for your prescription drug plan, or Part D.
If a person has a Medicare premium, a prescription drug plan premium and a supplemental insurance premium, that means they're paying three premiums, a cost that will add up, he said.
“One of the benefits to Medigap is — yes, there's yet another premium to pay for that coverage, but it does give the policyholder some predictability about their health care cost,” Moos said. “They know up front what it's going to cost them if they get sick. Many people want that peace of mind, that sense of security. That's why these plans are as popular as they are.”2012 Medicare Supplement Insurance Buying Guide
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AT A GLANCE
Facts about Medigap policies
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
You absolutely have to shop around. We tell people to get at least three quotes from three separate agents on three different products to make sure they're getting the best deal available.”