Many Medicare subscribers who are on supplemental plans feel like they may lose some of their essential coverage if they try to switch to a different carrier. But that’s not something that should worry you. If you have Plan F or any other supplement plan, and you switch to the same letter plan from a different carrier, your coverage will stay exactly the same. The only thing that will change is the Medicare supplement rates that you pay.
The only way your coverage is going to change is if you switch letter plans, from something like Plan F to Plan G, or if you change locations. Other than that the coverage is identical, however the premiums are not. Companies charge different rates for the exact same plan letters so be sure to get quotes from multiple carriers.
Switching Plans in 2016
And switching carriers can be great for your financial situation, and many of them offer far lower prices than some of their competitors. But you should also know that many carriers don’t just have a set rate for each plan. They may also offer rated plans that allow you to customize how much you pay over time.
There are three ratings that can affect Medicare supplement rates for 2016. These are community, attained age and issue age.
With a community-rated plan, you will only pay as much as the rest of people in your designated community. Whatever rate they pay is what you will pay, no matter your age. This rate increases in time, usually annually, but it increases for everyone simultaneously within the same community.
Issue Age Rated
You can have a rate that stays the same from the moment you are approved for it. This would be through an issue age premium. The rate you pay is dependent on the age you were approved for the premium. After that, premiums will not raise based on your age. They will however raise based on risk pool and economic factors, so don’t think that you will not get rate increases on Issue age plans. If you switch plans or carriers, then your rates may change.
You can start off with a low-cost premium, if you like. These are known as attained age premiums, and they gradually increase as you age. You pay more over time, but it can be a great way to reduce your costs initially.
When Can You Change Plans?
You may actually change supplement plans at any time during the year. Most people choose to change at the end of the year during the annual election period as this is also the time they can change their drug plan.
To change plans you must simply answer medical questions on the new application to get approved. Some states like California have a birthday rule where you can change with no medical underwriting on your birthday, and some states are guaranteed issue all the time. This means regardless of the time of year you can change plans with no underwriting.
Shopping the Rates to Save Money
Know that rates are going to increase over time if you are not on a plan. If you haven’t subscribed to a plan yet or you are looking to change a plan, then you should keep checking the rates to see how they have changed over time. We offer a free method of receiving quotes on all the plans you are interested in. On our website is a free quote generator that gives you instant quotes from all the major insurance providers in your area. You can use it as often as you like to determine how much you are going to have to pay in Medicare supplement rates in 2016 when you finally get the plan you want.
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