Medicare Supplement: Switching Isn’t Easy

Did You Know You May Not Be Able To Easily Switch Your Medicare Supplement?

I am not a Medicare Supplement expert, but I’m well on my way.  Over the years I have been asked to help clients with their Medicare Supplement, and it seems each time I learn something new.  I learned something today that I deem good information for a lot of my clients that are nearing 65, and will be signing up for Medicare soon.

Medicare Supplements are not medically underwritten when you first become eligible for Medicare Part B, but they ARE medically underwritten and subject to pre-existing condition rules after that initial time.  In other words, you are pretty much stuck with the plan you choose once you sign up for a Medicare Supplement.  This is very important because I have a client who has had a Sierra Life & Health Medicare supplement policy and her renewal premium this year is almost $6,000.  I decided to check online with AARP to see what their’s cost, and it was only $4500.  BOTH plans were United Healthcare policies.  In fact, Sierra Life is owned by United Healthcare.  However, when we went to enroll the client in the AARP plan, we found out it was medically underwritten and subject to pre-existing condition rules.

AARP is a large organization with many members, so I would guess they have pretty strong negotiating powers to keeps costs down for their members.  Therefore, it makes sense to me that going through them for your Medicare supplement policy makes sense.  I could be totally wrong in that opinion, so you should seek out other advice on that subject.  However, the lesson to learn is….be sure you fully analyze the Medicare supplement policy you are intending to purchase as you may not be given a chance to switch to another plan later.