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Message 11 of 17

Carriers are not really predictable. UHC is large enough to do what they want. My guess, and it is only a guess, the G rates will be competitive for a while.

 

UHC, Omaha and BX write the bulk of their Medicare business from name recognition, not competitiveness. They know people will buy from them without regard to shopping rates.


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Message 12 of 17

Thanks for the persepectives, somarco.  I'm surprised to learn G has been around that long.

 

So what do you think of the possibility that AARP/UHC's making their newish G offering more competitive with N might be a temporary strategy, until they can meet their current G enrollment goals (at least in Illinois)?  And then within a year or two might go back to a currently-more-typical $20+/month gap between the two?  Thanks.

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Message 13 of 17

Plan G has been available for probably 20 years, perhaps longer. Pretty sure when Medigap was standardized in 1992 the G plan was introduced . . . along with F, C and a few others.

 

Plan N added in 2010 when plans were Modernized.

 

Most carriers offered G for years. Otbers, like UHC, Humana and some BX plans did not include the G plan until 2018.

 

Carriers are not equally competitive from state to state or plan to plan. There are a few states, like CA and FL where UHC dominates.

 

Carriers that jumped on the "G bandwagon" last year came in with competitive rates while their "go to plan F" is often priced in the middle of the pack.

 

When F is no longer an option for new entrants (2020) plan G will become the new guaranteed issue plan in permitted situations.

 

For the last 8 years that N has been around the increases across all carriers has been lower vs other more popular plans. The exception is N plans first offered by the Omaha group.

 

Excess charges are rare but some specialty clinics like Mayo do not accept assignment and will bill xs charges.

 

HDF is a good option if looking at low stable rates.

 

 


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Message 14 of 17

Wasn't sure whether to reply or or start a new topic...

Anyway, I am 65 and planning on buying an AARP/UHC (Illinois) Medicare Supplement to start March 1, 2019 (still in my Guaranteed Issue period), with my eye on plan N...although G was "enticing." I had been comparing rates for awhile, and until recently AARP's N rate had been about $110/mo, while G was about $131/mo IIRC.

But last night I checked the AARP/UHC website, and N had gone up to $116, while G had actually *dropped* some to about $127. In fact, the rate page touted something along the line of "new lower cost for Plan G!" So now we're only talking about $132 difference G vs. N for the whole year, compared to the previous $252.

So I am rethinking things... But at the same time I have to wonder, is there some reason they are trying to build up their G business at present, with people who have just turned 65 (and maybe also F-to-G switching by those who can pass underwriting)? And then, once they have that mass, maybe start jacking up G rates *faster* than N? So, while I'm really tempted to pick G instead, I am wary...

 

Also, while I may be overthinking this, I wonder if another reason G rates may start rising in coming years (at least relative to N) is that new 65's who have a condition requiring many doctor visits (which incur $20 copays on N but not G), or want excess payments covered so that they can get 100% coverage at, say, a Mayo Clinic will want to take advantage of G...again putting upward pressure on G costs in the future through creation of a somewhat riskier pool than N's?

Because of a recent development, I am thinking there is a possibility I might be stuck in whatever plan I pick now -- i.e., I might fail future underwriting (although it's not a development that has me overly wary of N's Dr. visit copays or non-coverage of excess charges).

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Message 15 of 17

UHC plans are not community rated in all states. Your observation with regard to the OP is fine but not completely accurate since age rating (entry or attained) applies in some states.

 

Many consumers would be better off avoiding community rated plans if they are available.

 

UHC does not include "discounts" in every state. But you are correct that discounts are added back in over a 10 year period in states that have discounted initial rates. I believe some states may use something other than 10 years.

 

Plan G pricing is generally more favorable than F in most states but in some situations the premium savings (G vs F) is not enough to pick G. In those areas N or one of the other plans may be a better value.

 

One carrier that just recently started offering G is actually priced HIGHER than an F plan. This particular carrier employs a community rated basis.

 

The DOI does not actively participate in renewal rate increases in all states. Stating that renewals must be approved by the DOI as a blanket statement is not accurate.

 

Some carriers offer HH or family discounts based on any number of criteria. When the qualifying spouse dies, divorces or moves out of the home the discount is lost for future renewals.

 

 


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Message 16 of 17

@GloriaM223166

 

Yes your AARP Medigap plan F insured by UHC is Community Rated and for the long term that is the lowest rating method compared to Issue-age or Attained age.  - but that is not all that affects the premiums.  

  • Medical inflation in your area adds to the premium cost too
  • The reducing discount which began when you began the policy could also play a part in it too
  • it may also have something to do with the number of people that are dropping Plan F for another plan - like Plan G or those new Medicare eligible seniors aren't buying Plan F with such vigor since it will stop being sold in 2020 - premium should be cheaper for Plan G or any of the many other plans since they aren't as lucrative with more out of pocket for the beneficiary.

You don't have to wait for the annual open enrollment to switch a Medigap plan - you can do it at any time but a word of caution - any new insurer could determine to underwrite you - that could result in denial of coverage, a heftier premium or they might not cover any pre existing for a specified period.  Follow the Medicare guidelines and cautions when trying to switch Medigap insurers.

 

Your states' Dept of Insurance has to approve all premium increases; they might be able to give a more definitive answer if it concerns community rating or medical inflation - I would assume any declining discount rate off the premiums would be covered generally in your policy.

 

The only thing that is certain with premium increases for Medigap plans is they will continue to go up just like the deductibles for Medicare Parts A and B as well as the premium for Medicare Part B.

 

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Message 17 of 17

My AARP/United Health Care Plan F Premium went up by a whopping 10%.

This plan is listed as a "Community Rated" plan, which I understand to mean that the premium's rate is the same  regardles of age attained. 

 

The plan has provided good coverage, with not problems with any claim, but I am uncertain of how well informed the customer service agents are.  One agent who was nice enough, told me that the increase had come about because I am a year older.  This contradicts the information about this plan that appears on a Medicare page listing Companies offering Medigap plans, where AARP/United Health Care appears listed.  (Medicare.gov, navigate from Home to View All Medigap Policies-Medigap Policy Details-Companies Offering Medigap Policy).

 

Then she transferred me to a different department.   

 

The second agent, not as nice, told me that the change in rate happened becasue my state no longer received a "multiple member" discount.  Then she went on to provide some sophistry about the rate increase.  She told me that it was not really an increase, but the elimination of a discount, so my rate had really not increased.  Additionally she said that the increase "that was not an increase" was due to the recent hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters in the past year.  

 

I would like some clarity on this.  

 

Had I been advised in a timely manner of the premium increase, I might have shopped for other plans during the Open Enrollment period. They claim to have sent me a letter last October, but I never received such a letter.   I will be shopping around still, just in case I find a better deal. 

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