Selecting a Medigap plan
To find the best Medigap plan for yourself or a loved one, follow these five steps:
- Determine what benefits you need. You’ll need to consider your income, family medical history and whether overseas travel plans should be factored into your decision.
- Find out which policies are available to you.
- Compare the premiums. There are three ways that insurance companies set prices for Medigap policies: Attained-Age Rating, Issue-Age Rating or No-Age Rating or Community Rating. In order to compare premiums charged by insurers for the same plan, you’ll need to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. No matter which type of pricing your Medigap insurer uses, the price of your policy will likely go up each year because of inflation and rising health care costs.
- Decide whether catastrophic illness is your primary concern.
- What is the insurer’s financial strength rating? Financial strength ratings help you identify insurance companies that will be around to ensure your benefits are paid as promised. If you were to experience the double misfortune of becoming seriously ill and having your insurer fail, you may be responsible for much of your unpaid claims, and it would be difficult to find replacement coverage.
Weiss Ratings recommends that you choose a company with a B+ or higher Weiss Financial Strength Rating if you can. You should also consider an insurer’s level of customer service and timeliness in reimbursing claims. Ask friends about their experiences and contact your state’s insurance department or counsel for aging to find out if they keep public complaint records. As an industry, Medigap insurers have a good reputation for paying claims.