Plans: 10 Important Shopping Tips
supplement plans have standard policies that are pretty much the same
although the prices can vary widely, so you need to shop around. You
should consider how much your parent needs to spend on health care
each year (premiums, deductibles, co-payments, excess charges,
prescription drugs, etc.), how a Medicare supplement policy may affect
these costs, and other factors as to what your elderís future
healthcare might involve. Other shopping tips for Medicare supplement
(1) Don't buy more
coverage than needed.
is expensive, unnecessary and is also usually prohibited.
(2) Always be
careful when replacing an existing Medicare supplement policy.
A parent must
be given credit for the time spent under the old Medicare supplement
in determining if any restrictions or pre-existing conditions apply
under a new policy. However, your parent will need to verify that
they intend to terminate the old Medicare supplement and make sure
that they are set up with the new policy before they cancel.
(3) Don't be
pressured into purchasing a new policy.
You need to take
your time and make sure that you purchase the best Medicare
supplemental policy available. Never allow yourself or your parent to
be forced or frightened into purchasing a policy or switching from one
policy to another. (Pressuring prospective buyers of these policies
is actually illegal.)
(4) Make sure to
know the company that you're dealing with.
You should always
check with your state insurance department to make sure the company
and agent are licensed. Also, you should always beware of any claims
that a specific policy is sponsored by a state agency or an insurance
agent is working for the state or federal governments.
(5) Always make
sure that you can renew your new Medicare supplement policy.
that these Medicare supplement policies be renewable. What this means
is that the company must renew these policies unless an individual
fails to pay the premiums or lies about their health on the
application. You need to beware of older policies that may allow the
company to cancel on an individual basis.
(6) You should
check for preexisting condition exclusions.
Don't be misled by
phrases such as "no medical examination require". If your parent has
had a recent health condition, the new policy may not cover that
condition for a period of six months.
(7) You need to
decide on a date for the policy to become effective.
Your parent may
not need the new policy until the previous policy has expired or some
other condition has occurred to determine the effective date of your
parentís new Medicare supplement policy. This is usually not a
problem, but, you need to get this in writing.
complete your new application very carefully.
Never believe it
if an agent says your previous medical history is not important. If
you or your parent leaves out pertinent medical information, coverage
could be refused for a period of time for any medical condition that
you or your parent neglected to mention. This omission may also allow
the company to cancel the policy.
(9) Use the "free
companies must provide at least 30 days for you to review a new
Medicare supplement policy. If your parent then changes their mind
during this time, they may cancel the policy and receive a free refund
of monies already spent.
(10) Never pay
cash for your Medicare supplement policy.
You should always
pay with a check, money order or bank draft payable to the insurance
company rather than the agent. Always be sure to get a receipt that
includes the insurance companyís name, address and telephone number.
from How to Care for Aging Parents by Virginia Morris
information and web page by Paul Susic M.A. Licensed Psychologist
Ph.D. Candidate Clinical Director-
Senior Care Psychological