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Huge cost variations in Plan G supplement insurance
Old 02-16-2020, 10:05 AM   #1
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Huge cost variations in Plan G supplement insurance

Since all Medicare supplement G plans provide the exact same benefits, this price survey of 10 Zip codes around the US shows how those turning 65 can pay thousands of dollars more per year in premiums if they don't shop around. One example:

Quote:
Take Dallas, Texas (Zip Code 75001) as an example. The LOWEST cost for Medicare Plan G is $99 per-month (female, age 65). The HIGHEST price is $381-per-month (female, age 65).

That is a significant monthly difference. Now imagine the yearly difference. And, because Medicare Supplement plans are pretty much identical, you have to ask why someone would pay over $3,000 a year more?
Interesting that there was no consistency as to which insurance company had the lowest or highest premium costs:

Quote:
No one Medicare insurance company was consistently the LOWEST cost for Plan G. No one company was the HIGHEST. In fact, for the 20 Zip Codes – our survey found 13 different Medicare insurance companies had either the lowest or the highest prices.
More examples:

Quote:
LOWEST AND HIGHEST PLAN G PREMIUMS FOR 2020

To give you a flavor of how much prices for Medicare Supplement can vary from one insurance company to the next, we share the example from our 2020 Price Comparison.

LOWEST FOR WOMEN (2020): The least expensive cost for a woman turning age 65 was $99 per-month in Atlanta (Zip Code 30313), Dallas (75001) and Washington D.C. (20005). Three different insurance companies offered these rates.

HIGHEST FOR WOMEN (2020): The most costly Medicare Plan G rates for a woman turning 65 was $476 per month in New York (10012) and $451 in Philadelphia (19050).

LOWEST FOR MAN (2020): For a man turning 65, the least expensive plan was $109 per-month in Dallas. It was $115 in San Francisco (94105).

HIGHEST FOR MAN (2020): The most costly Medicare Plan G for a man turning 65 was $509 in Philadelphia (19050). The next most costly was in New York City (10012) where the monthly high premium was $476.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:22 AM   #2
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I would love to see something that compares typical rates in various areas of the country, e.g. average premium by zip code. Does anyone know of a source for this?
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:24 AM   #3
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Could at least some of the variation be due to attained-age rated vs. issue-age rated vs. community rated plans? I know for our area we did not choose the lowest cost plan. We chose a reasonably priced plan that was community rated. The premium in a few years will be lower by comparison.

Some people I talk to simply go with the plan provider they had while under a work health plan with no further thought given to price now or later. Since we are a free economy, companies can price it as they wish. Perhaps the few who do not think about cost make the companies who charge the higher premiums lots of money. I hope we all have at least some of those companies in our investment portfolios.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:24 AM   #4
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Yes, because there are so many carriers all at different pricing is why in only our 2nd year on Plan G we changed carriers, Thankfully we are healthy and able to pass medical underwriting.

After year 1 we were going to see a 16% increase in cost from carrier 1. Changing to carrier 2, even though 1 year older, ended up reducing our premiums below what we paid in year one.

PS: all the carriers in our state are attained age insurers.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:27 AM   #5
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Wow. I’m paying $126.60/mo (up from $124.60/mo in 2019 when I turned 65) with MoO for my Plan G supplement. Good to know it’s reasonably competitive.

Great heads up thread.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRLLS View Post
Could at least some of the variation be due to attained-age rated vs. issue-age rated vs. community rated plans? I know for our area we did not choose the lowest cost plan. We chose a reasonably priced plan that was community rated. The premium in a few years will be lower by comparison.

Some people I talk to simply go with the plan provider they had while under a work health plan with no further thought given to price now or later. Since we are a free economy, companies can price it as they wish. Perhaps the few who do not think about cost make the companies who charge the higher premiums lots of money. I hope we all have at least some of those companies in our investment portfolios.
Yes, attained-age rated vs. issue-age rated vs. community rated must be part of the difference.

Doesn’t BCBS usually fall at the higher end of the range? I always figured people went with the familiar name, even though they don’t need the famous BCBS network anymore. So BCBS keeps prices high.

I hadn’t shopped much yet, but I did see that lowest for DH in our area was $99, and I think I saw AARP/UHC should be around $118, I think, which was a pleasant surprise.

Now does he have to join AARP to get that rate? Or can he get it direct from UHC? Or are there other future benefits such as family discount when I get a plan, or more flexibility with future plan changes?
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Old 02-16-2020, 01:15 PM   #7
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Yes, attained-age rated vs. issue-age rated vs. community rated must be part of the difference.

Doesn’t BCBS usually fall at the higher end of the range? I always figured people went with the familiar name, even though they don’t need the famous BCBS network anymore. So BCBS keeps prices high.

I hadn’t shopped much yet, but I did see that lowest for DH in our area was $99, and I think I saw AARP/UHC should be around $118, I think, which was a pleasant surprise.

Now does he have to join AARP to get that rate? Or can he get it direct from UHC? Or are there other future benefits such as family discount when I get a plan, or more flexibility with future plan changes?
For us, BCBS was not the highest but was also not the lowest, at least at age 65. The rates for all companies, plans and ages 65, 70, 75, 80 and 85 years of age were posted on our state SHIP website for all to make their decisions.

One must be a member to enter the AARP/United plans. I believe that membership is not required to continue though. I'm not sure on that point.

AARP/UHC Plan G was less expensive than buying direct from United Healthcare. Prices do vary from area to area. You would have to check your area to be certain. AARP/UHC is a community rated plan where we are. I'm not sure if the one purchased direct from UHC is, or not.
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Old 02-16-2020, 01:25 PM   #8
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............................
One must be a member to enter the AARP/United plans. I believe that membership is not required to continue though. I'm not sure on that point.

............................................
When I first signed up,I needed to be a member to join but it was not required to continue. Since then I have switched from Plan F to G and needed to rejoin.
Suspect same is true about not needing to be a member to continue but not sure since they had a bargain membership for 5 yrs and I still have that.

btw your state dept of insurance may have stats on medigap prices vs age for various companies for comparison.
https://interactive.web.insurance.ca...prd/f?p=111:30
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Old 02-16-2020, 03:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by CRLLS View Post
For us, BCBS was not the highest but was also not the lowest, at least at age 65. The rates for all companies, plans and ages 65, 70, 75, 80 and 85 years of age were posted on our state SHIP website for all to make their decisions.

One must be a member to enter the AARP/United plans. I believe that membership is not required to continue though. I'm not sure on that point.

AARP/UHC Plan G was less expensive than buying direct from United Healthcare. Prices do vary from area to area. You would have to check your area to be certain. AARP/UHC is a community rated plan where we are. I'm not sure if the one purchased direct from UHC is, or not.
Thanks very much, I appreciate that info. Looks like DH and might be joining AARP family membership.....

I’ll be signing up for Medicare 4 1/2 years later, and using the same membership number we should each be eligible for the 5% household discount?
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:18 AM   #10
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When I first signed up,I needed to be a member to join but it was not required to continue. Since then I have switched from Plan F to G and needed to rejoin.
Suspect same is true about not needing to be a member to continue but not sure since they had a bargain membership for 5 yrs and I still have that.

btw your state dept of insurance may have stats on medigap prices vs age for various companies for comparison.
https://interactive.web.insurance.ca...prd/f?p=111:30
Interesting that this link doesn't include AARP Plan G for my CA Bay Area zipcode, but when I check it on the AARP website, it does, and is cheaper than any listed in the link. Wonder why?
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Old 02-17-2020, 06:48 AM   #11
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I as just looking at the AARP Plan G for Florida where we live. There are 2 plans that look identical, but one is $20 a month less than the other.

Does anyone know the difference between UHC Plan G "SELECT", vs UHC Plan G?
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Old 02-17-2020, 06:52 AM   #12
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A "select" Medigap plan usually involves a network of hospitals and providers.
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Old 02-17-2020, 06:56 AM   #13
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Interesting that this link doesn't include AARP Plan G for my CA Bay Area zipcode, but when I check it on the AARP website, it does, and is cheaper than any listed in the link. Wonder why?
sorry bout that........wondered about that myself in the beginning.forgot to mention that it took a number of yrs before I realized that UHC is listed under group, not individual, plans. fwiw........one data pt agreed between the CA site and the UHC AARP site but it is higher than what I am paying..........so if it is interesting,it may pay to contact UHC AARP and get a real quote.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:04 AM   #14
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A "select" Medigap plan usually involves a network of hospitals and providers.
Yes, but... Medigap plans are supposed to be the same, and work with any and all providers, providing Medicare does to. Hence the confusion.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:06 AM   #15
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Yes, but... Medigap plans are supposed to be the same, and work with any and all providers, providing Medicare does to. Hence the confusion.
If you don't believe me, Google it.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:17 AM   #16
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If you don't believe me, Google it.
No, No, I agree with you that is the premise, that is exactly how it works for ACA Plans. I am just confused as to how it would work with Plan G Medicare Supplements as they are supposed to work with any doctor etc., as long as they take and abide by Medicare rules.

When one compares them side by side they are identical.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:18 AM   #17
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Boomer benefits explains what a Select Medigap policy is here: https://boomerbenefits.com/faq/what-...select-policy/

Medicare.gov spells it out to in their 2020 Choosing a Medigap Policy booklet
Quote:
What’s Medicare SELECT?

Medicare SELECT is a type of Medigap policy sold in some states that requires you to use hospitals and, in some cases, doctors within its network
to be eligible for full insurance benefits (except in an emergency). Medicare SELECT can be any of the standardized Medigap plans. (See page 11.) These policies generally cost less than other Medigap policies. However, if you don’t use a Medicare SELECT hospital or doctor for non‐emergency services, you’ll have to pay some or all of what Medicare doesn’t pay. Medicare will pay its share of approved charges no matter which hospital or doctor you choose.
https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/02...igap-guide.pdf
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:23 AM   #18
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Boomer benefits explains what a Select Medigap policy is here: https://boomerbenefits.com/faq/what-...select-policy/
Thanks, I did read that but made the assumption, probably incorrectly, that it was with respect to Medicare Advantage Plans not Supplemental Part G.

I must be mistaken as I "thought" that Medicare Part F & G were somewhat comprehensive Supplement plans, and thus support any doctor that takes Medicare. When I read the PDF explanations of benefits on the Medicare site, it did not say there were any exclusions.

This is what I was looking at.

https://www.ehealthmedicareplans.com...8,32136800-736
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:25 AM   #19
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I must be mistaken as I "thought" that Medicare Part F & G were somewhat comprehensive Supplement plans, and thus supports any doctor that takes Medicare.
You are correct, unless they are F & G "select" plans.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:47 AM   #20
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You are correct, unless they are F & G "select" plans.
How common are those and are they always clearly labeled? seems like an area ripe for deception. Medicare should put those in its chart of plans.
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