If you are looking for North Carolina Medicare Supplement Plans, this page will help you have a better understanding of what is important to know during your search. Getting bogged down in all the information on Medicare can cause you to freeze in your tracks. This information will get you “unstuck” and on your way.
What is a medicare supplement plan
Let’s first begin by reviewing what is a Medicare supplement plan and how it works. Medicare supplement plans (also known as “Medigap plans”) cover or supplements the coverage offered through Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). This coverage is often referred to as “medigap” plans because they fill in the “gaps” of Original Medicare.
Most common misconception about Medicare supplements
All Medicare supplement plans are standardized by the Federal government. What this means is Medicare Supplement plans with the same letter (F, G, etc) must offer the same basic benefits by law. This makes comparing plans much easier, but unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t mention this in any of their brochures. This is another benefit of working with a Medicare expert who can help you avoid common mistakes.
Apples and Oranges
As new enrollees are bombarded with enrollment material from all the different companies, plan selection quickly becomes confusing. To reduce this confusion, let’s discuss the two options most seniors choose.
Medicare Advantage Plans - “Original Medicare” (Part A and Part B) is replaced with a plan provided from an insurance company. Medicare requires this plan to offer benefits at least equal to Original Medicare, while also including some additional benefits. These plans often have restrictions that make it a less desirable choice.
Medicare Supplement Plans - These plans supplement Original Medicare. They coverage some or all of the out of pocket exposure from Original Medicare. These plan benefits are consistent from year to year. This and other benefits make Medicare supplement plans a preferred choice for My Medigap Consultant clients.
What plans are available in NC
Most of the major insurance companies offer Medicare supplement plans in North Carolina. At the publishing of this article, there are over 37 different insurance companies offering plans. Of those 37 insurance companies, each company offers at least 2 plan designs. Many offer as many as 10 different design plans. Trying to decided amongst that many options is quite a task.
For most people in North Carolina, there are only 3 medicare supplement plan designs to consider, which are Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N. Each plan design has an appear to a different group.
- Plan F - The most popular plan today. It offers first dollar coverage and covers every Medicare approved charge. Enrollees generally have no out of pocket expense with Plan F.
- Plan G - The second most popular plan today. Although it is gaining popularity among the general public, for My Medigap Consultant clients, it is the most popular and offers the best overall value. There is very little difference between Plan F and Plan G, however, the annual premium of Plan G makes it a smart choice.
- Plan N - The third most popular plan today. This plan is a great transition from those who are unhappy with a Medicare Advantage plan and choose to return to Original Medicare. This plan is also good for the budget minded. The premiums are lower, but there is more out of pocket expense for medical usage.
What is the pricing method of most companies
With North Carolina Medicare Supplement Plans, there are 3 different pricing structures used by insurance companies. These 3 different pricing structures have both pros and cons. Let’s briefly review these to show you the highlights of each.
Attained Age - The premium is determined by the age of the person when they enrolled. This gives the younger enrollee the lowest cost, but each year the cost of coverage increases as age increases.
Entry Age - The premium is based on the age you are when you buy your policy. This is a confusing structure for most to understand. Often it is sold to those as a plan whose “rate will not go up because you get older.” That is a partial truth. Medicare changes what amounts they cover each year, so each pricing structures has to make adjustments also. Anyone who tells you their plan will not increase over time either doesn’t understand how Medicare works or is trying to pull one over on you. No competitive companies offer "Entry Age" in North Carolina.
Community Rating - The premium is the same for everyone no matter the age. This is more costly for the younger enrollee, but more beneficial for the older enrollee. This pricing structure is not available with North Carolina Medicare Supplement plans.
With North Carolina Medicare Supplement plans, “attained age” is the most common pricing method. One of the main carriers does offer a tiered premium structure. Rates vary by age bracket instead of each year. An example would be different pricing for ages 65, 66-69, 70-74, and 75+.
How should you find rates?
Probably the most frustrating part of choosing a North Carolina Medicare Supplement Plan is finding rates for all 37 insurance companies and deciding which plan will best fit an enrollee’s situation. This is a major benefit of working with a broker. The broker you choose should have access to all the rates for each company and plan design. It saves the enrollee from calling multiple companies or filling out some form on a “shady” website that will sell your information to 10-15 companies.
Using a broker simplifies the process by having one point of contact. The enrollee can discuss financial strength, customer service, ease of applying with each company, rate increase history, etc. This time saver can allow the enrollee to dedicate more time to enjoying transitions to Medicare and their retirement years.
If you are starting Medicare soon and would like the help of a broker, we would love to help you with this process. Just contact us through email, phone, or completing our contact us form. We have helped thousands over the years and look forward to helping you.