Can My Agent Negotiate Me a Better Medicare Supplement Rate?
If you've ever been to street markets in Egypt, Jamaica, or China, haggling is the norm. But once you come back to the U.S., most posted prices aren't negotiable. Today, we typically only negotiate expensive or one-of-a-kind items like cars, antiques, or real estate.
Sometimes, a product or service is negotiable, and many don't realize it! For example, medical bills are always negotiable – in fact, many hospitals will give you a 25% discount if you ask. The same thing goes for a Sirius XM radio subscription – you can lower your bill up to 90% by calling and asking.
So, what about your Medicare Supplement plan? Can your Medicare agent negotiate the price down for you?
Want a no-obligation Medicare quote? Our local Sams/Hockaday agents are at your service. Request a quote today!
Negotiating Medicare Supplement Rates
Unfortunately, Medicare Supplement insurance is not negotiable. You can't negotiate a better rate by going directly to the insurance carrier. Your agent can't negotiate you a better price, either.
Many assume an "agent" has negotiating power because they think of real estate agents who work with the seller to negotiate a better deal for the buyer and vice versa. However, an insurance agent doesn't have that power with the insurance company.
The insurance carrier establishes rates, and no one can haggle them down. Rates are the same for everyone, no matter where you buy your Medicare Supplement plan.
You can buy your supplement from an agent in an agency, an independent agent who works alone, or directly from the insurance carrier. Either way, the rate you pay is the same.
Same Rates, Different Value
There's a huge advantage when you buy from an agent versus purchasing direct!
1. You never have to call the insurance company when you have an issue.
If you've ever had to call an insurance company, you know how much of a hassle the process can be. Sometimes, you go through so many robots that you never reach a real person. Other times, you have to hang up and call again to figure out the secret to reaching a live representative!
You just call us when you have a question or concern, and we'll do all the legwork needed to get you a solution. If you got a bill you don't understand or the insurance company rejected a claim, we'll handle it.
2. We represent your best interest.
When you buy directly from an insurance company, the person helping you represents that company's best interest. When you work with an agent here at Sams/Hockaday, we represent your best interest.
3. We'll help you when you get a rate increase.
If you get a rate increase, we'll shop around to see if we can find a more competitively priced plan.
And that's the most valuable part of using an agent or broker versus buying direct – we can choose from over 30 carriers! We aren't married to any company – we like to say we're married to our customers.
If you buy direct, that company will only sell you their plans – they won't refer you to a competitor with lower prices. If you buy from an agent here at Sams/Hockaday, we can sell you plans from various companies.
Many don't realize Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, so the benefits you get with a Plan G are the same no matter which company you choose. You may as well select a company with the lowest premium!
Read more on this topic: 6 Reasons You Should Work With a Medicare Supplement Insurance Agent
Medicare Supplement Discounts
While your agent can't barter you a lower Medicare Supplement rate, they can select a company that offers a household discount, also referred to as HHD. A standard household discount is around 7%, but new companies are coming out with discounts as high as 14%.
For example, CVS Health's new Medicare Supplement products offer a 14% household discount in Illinois.
To qualify for a household discount, you typically have to live with a spouse with a supplement from the same company. However, some companies are more lenient on their requirements and will give you a discount if you simply live with another person.
While the discount is great, it shouldn't be the deciding factor when choosing a Medigap company.
For example, Company A might offer a 12% discount, and Company B might offer a 7% discount. However, Company A might charge $140 for their Medigap plan, and Company B might charge $110.
When you factor in the discounts, here's what you get:
The agents here at Sams/Hockaday will always get you the best price on a Medicare Supplement, regardless of the household discount. Our quoting software allows us to check a box for the household discount, so we can easily see the best price without any complicated comparisons or math.
Other Ways to Save on Medicare Supplements
If you want to get the best possible deal on your Medicare Supplement, we recommend a few ways to save:
1. Choose a better value plan, like a Plan G
Many Medicare experts refer to Plan G as a better value plan. It has excellent coverage, but it doesn't cover the Medicare Part B deductible, which is $198 in 2020. Plan F does cover that deductible, but you pay more premium for it.
Here's an example showing how Plan G is the better value compared to Plan F:
2. If you don't mind copays, choose a Plan N
Plan N covers everything Medicare leaves behind except for:
- Part B deductible, which is $198 in 2020
- Part B excess charges (this only occurs if you see a doctor who does not accept Medicare)
- Part B copayments (up to $20 for office visits and up to $50 for ER)
If you don't mind copayments here and there, Plan N can save you some money in premium. If you're comparing Plans F, G, and N, Plan N is the least expensive option.
3. Always get an annual review
When rate increases happen, you have a choice – you can shop around for a better premium from a different company. The only setback is your health. You have to be able to pass medical underwriting to switch plans.
Each year on your policy's anniversary date, you should have an agent run some quote comparisons. Are there any other companies out there that have the same coverage for a lower price?
You have nothing to lose. We schedule an appointment with each of our clients to compare their current Medicare Supplement against the other companies in the market. We do this each year.
Check out the Medicare Supplement savings our agents have helped secure:
- Taylor Thomas Saves Client Over $1,200 On Her Medicare Supplement
- Michael Sams Helps Couple Save $960 On Medigap Plan G
- Patty Gogerty Saves Couple $1,600 on Medigap Plans
While you can't negotiate your way to a better Medicare Supplement premium, there are plenty of ways to make sure you're getting the best deal:
- Get added value by using an agent to help with questions and claims.
- Shop the market each year to compare rates between different companies.
- Choose a lower premium plan such a Plan G or N.
Our agents at Sams/Hockaday will always help you save the most on your Medicare Supplement plan. Review your existing policy or get help choosing one for the first time by scheduling an appointment online or calling us at 217-723-8000!
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