Medicare and Medigap Trends – Five Things to Keep Your Eye On

going on medicareLike many things, insurance is always changing. This has been particularly true over the last few years, and we believe it will continue to be the case into the future. As such, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on some trends that affect Medicare and Medigap insurance. We’ve listed five Medigap trends here that are pertinent for people on Medicare.

  1. Doctor acceptance of new Medicare patients. Some people have been concerned about this for years, and we have heard reports of doctors not seeing Medicare patients in certain geographic areas. Overall, I don’t think this will become a prohibitive problem. But nevertheless, if it occurs in large numbers, it could create quite a “bottleneck” effect for Medicare patients at doctor’s offices that do accept Medicare patients.
  2. Reduction in number of choices in Medicare Advantage plans. This is a trend that is certainly already under way. In many counties, there were 20/30 + plan choices in past years. Those numbers have been greatly reduced, and there are now some counties that have just a couple of companies offering plans. This is due, at least in part, to government regulations that have made it more difficult to make money in and participate in this market. Overall, I think its clear that lack of competition will be a bad thing for the overall appearance of these plans.
  3. Growth of “newer” Medigap plans – a move away from Plan F. This, too, is a Medigap trend that has already begun in earnest. Plan F, which is the most comprehensive Medigap plan, still has the majority of the market share in Medigap plans. However, with the onset of the 2010 re-standardization of plans, there are new offerings, some of which may appeal to different people and have a lower premium. One of the plans that appears to have caught on the most is Plan N, which is a lower level of coverage that still offers comprehensive Part A coverage but does have some out of pocket costs under Part B charges.
  4. The Online Movement. Because you’re reading this online, we’ll assume this comes as no surprise to you. As the next generation of “age-ins” turns 65, the likelihood will continue to increase that they are computer-savvy and more and more comparing and shopping for Medigap and Medicare plans will be done online. Companies will continue to endeavor to meet this demand by making more and more information available online. This and other Medigap trends will certainly have an impact on how companies “market” to the new generation of turning-65ers.
  5. New Medigap Companies Entering the Marketplace. We have seen several companies that are new to the Medicare market enter the fray over the last couple of years, trying to capture the large influx of Baby Boomers aging into Medicare. This includes companies like CIGNA, AFLAC and others, who have either begun or expanded their Medicare plan offerings recently. This will likely continue, with companies that have not offered Medigap plans beginning to do so.

Overall, it is a good idea to stay apprised of any changes to Medicare and Medigap insurance. Certainly, all of them will not affect you, and some may not come to fruition, but being aware of them allows you to be prepared if or when they do.

As always, if you have any questions or want to discuss further, you can contact us at 877.506.3378 or online.

About Garrett Ball

"We discovered Garrett Ball online. Over the years he has saved us thousands of dollars in premiums for both Supplemental Part B and Part D drug policies with his cost comparisons and advice. He is uniquely prompt in responding to our e-mail inquiries and very professional in all areas. Highly recommended for all Medicare needs." - Ron T, IN
" I am so happy to review this company and Garrett Ball, the President. He has helped me through the confusing maze of Medicare, Supplements, and Advantage plans and the plans I am on now have been outstanding. Do not hesitate to contact Garrett Ball. You will not be disappointed. Response time is within 24 hrs., and always with thorough information to help his customers. Even when I have not contacted him for many months, he seems to remember and respond like it was yesterday. Great customer service seems to be hard to find these days, that is why I am so impressed with Secure Medicare Solutions. You will truly find a solution to any of your questions or problems." - Sandy W, SC/FL

Comments

  1. Shirley Brogan says:

    Just wanted to say that it appears that the same thing is happening with the “good” plans that happened with Plan J… Increase the premiums so that the average retiree can’t afford it.!! Plan J was “Discontinued” because it was TOO good for the peasants. However, for those of us that were grandfathered in to it we quickly found out that a way to get rid of you was to INCREASE the premiums so high that nobody could afford it. Unfortunately getting into another plan was difficult because the rules also changed and now you had to answer a bazillion medical questions and IF you answered “Yes” to any one question you were denied. How many people over 70 years old can answer “No” to any and all medical questions???
    Garrett Ball was wonderful and helped get me into plan G which is about the same as plan J with the only difference of having to pay the $147 yearly deductible. Yup… just received the letter in the mail that tells me that the Premium for plan G is Increasing by about $20./month. Wonder what it’ll be next year.??? By that time I still won’t be able to answer “No” to ALL the medical questions and will be forced to cancel out and have Nothing but basic Medicare or go to one of those advantage plans that have a bazillion “Co-pays” for everything plus a monthly premium. Not to mention the Medicare premium will probably also increase. So…. it’s the ole “Pay More for Less Coverage” !!!

    • Hi Shirley,
      Thank you for your kind words about my help – glad the plan is working out coverage wise. I know the ‘G’ was a huge savings off of your ‘J’ rate – looks like about $600+/year.

      I will contact you separately regarding your plan to see if we can reduce your costs. Unfortunately, rates do go up each year on all of the plans, which is why it is important to review at least bi-annually if not annually.

      Thank you!

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