Medicare Supplements

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rbslos36
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:56 pm

Medicare Supplements

Post by rbslos36 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:46 am

The two lowest priced policies for Plan G for my area are Cigna and Mutual of Omaha. The price is nearly the same. Cigna is owned by shareholders and Mutual of Omaha is owned by policyholders. Should this be a factor in my decision?

Thanks for your wisdom.
RB

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cheese_breath
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Re: Medicare Supplements

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:00 am

IMO no. The benefits are the same, and they can't change them. The only thing one or the other might do someday is discontinue offering Plan G, and in that case you have the right to go somewhere else without underwriting.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

amazonchic
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Re: Medicare Supplements

Post by amazonchic » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:31 pm

Absolutely. The rate increases from one company to the next vary a great deal. The company makes decisions based on its shareholders, profits, or its customers depending on how they are set up. You can Google search the performance of both of these big players. You can also do a search on AM Best's website to see how most major financial services companies are rated.

If you work with a local agent, they can tell you how the plan rates have held up in your area. Mutual of Omaha gets bad press in some parts of the country for jerking rates around and massive rate increases, but this is not to say they do this in your area. Your rates will be the same whether you work with a local agent or purchase directly, so there isn't usually any incentive for a local independent agent to screw you over by putting you with one plan vs. another.

While it is true that the benefits can't change, the customer service, premium rates, etc. vary a great deal from one plan to the next. Is it worth it to save a little in premium but get the runaround if you have to call into the insurance company? I'm not saying you should spend significantly more by going with one carrier vs. another. Just do your homework and go with your gut.

disclaimer: I am a licensed insurance agent.

khh
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Re: Medicare Supplements

Post by khh » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:25 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:00 am
IMO no. The benefits are the same, and they can't change them. The only thing one or the other might do someday is discontinue offering Plan G, and in that case you have the right to go somewhere else without underwriting.
My Plan G contract says its renewable for life. I don't think they can cancel it, even if they decide to stop offering the policy.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Medicare Supplements

Post by dodecahedron » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:03 pm

khh wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:25 pm
cheese_breath wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:00 am
IMO no. The benefits are the same, and they can't change them. The only thing one or the other might do someday is discontinue offering Plan G, and in that case you have the right to go somewhere else without underwriting.
My Plan G contract says its renewable for life. I don't think they can cancel it, even if they decide to stop offering the policy.
Renewable means that they can´t cancel your particular contract specifically, but they can certainly stop offering Plan G to everyone in your particular state or in fact decide not to do any business in your state at all or just decide to get entirely out of the health insurance business nationwide for that matter. They could also be forced out of business if state regulators feel they have egregiously broken your state´s insurance laws. Or they could just go bankrupt.

They could also raise their Plan G premium in general to a level where you might wish you had the right to switch to another company without underwriting.

Renewable for life just means that IF they continue to offer Plan G to anyone in your state, they must continue to allow you to renew at the same price they are charging everyone else in the ¨no underwriting¨ group.

khh
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Re: Medicare Supplements

Post by khh » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:13 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:03 pm
khh wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:25 pm
cheese_breath wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:00 am
IMO no. The benefits are the same, and they can't change them. The only thing one or the other might do someday is discontinue offering Plan G, and in that case you have the right to go somewhere else without underwriting.
My Plan G contract says its renewable for life. I don't think they can cancel it, even if they decide to stop offering the policy.
Renewable means that they can´t cancel your particular contract specifically, but they can certainly stop offering Plan G to everyone in your particular state or in fact decide not to do any business in your state at all or just decide to get entirely out of the health insurance business nationwide for that matter. They could also be forced out of business if state regulators feel they have egregiously broken your state´s insurance laws. Or they could just go bankrupt.

They could also raise their Plan G premium in general to a level where you might wish you had the right to switch to another company without underwriting.

Renewable for life just means that IF they continue to offer Plan G to anyone in your state, they must continue to allow you to renew at the same price they are charging everyone else in the ¨no underwriting¨ group.
I wrote to my state's SHIP office and asked re Cigna Plan G:
Suppose Cigna decides to quit writing policies in _______, or gets out of the Medicare supplement business entirely. Do they still have to honor my contract with them, which says it's guaranteed renewable for life?
I got this response:
Cigna would only be able to stop selling new policies. They would have to honor all of their current policies. It is only when a company is in financial ruin that they could end their policy contracts. In that case, you would have a guarantee of a policy from another company.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Medicare Supplements

Post by Steelersfan » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:31 am

SHIP is an organization of volunteers and are not stating official state policy. What you got was one volunteer's opinion.

States have different rules and laws so my experience does not apply in your state. I had a Medicare Advantage plan from a financially healthy company, then and now. They just decided to cancel all of one particular Advantage plan. I got to switch to any other plan without underwriting, from that company or any other.

If you want an official statement, ask whatever state agency oversees health insurance plans in your state. Any answers here are anecdotal based on that person's knowledge and experience in their state.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Medicare Supplements

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:02 pm

Steelersfan wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:31 am
SHIP is an organization of volunteers and are not stating official state policy. What you got was one volunteer's opinion.
Agreed. Also, read the fine print on your contract. Did you share the entire text of the so-called guarantee (including the fine print) with the SHIP volunteer?

Note that they are surely not guaranteeing you can renew in future at same price as you are paying now or at any particular specified future price, which is essentially means you have an worthless guarantee if they no longer want to sell that type of insurance. Even if they are technically required to keep offering it to grandfathered customers, they can raise the price to the point where nobody wants to keep paying for it. (That is what happened to many LTC insurance products.)

You might think: ¨Well state regulators would surely limit the annual price increases.¨ And regulators indeed might limit future increases quite stringently, indeed so stringently that the company just does not want to continue to offering that particular type of policy. I am pretty sure that any well-run insurance company has an escape clause in the fine print allowing them to stop offering a particular type of plan in a state if they deem that state regulated prices made it impossible to do so on a financially sound basis.
Steelersfan wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:31 am
If you want an official statement, ask whatever state agency oversees health insurance plans in your state. Any answers here are anecdotal based on that person's knowledge and experience in their state.
Talking to a knowledgeable state regulator is indeed a good idea. That said, regulations can change in the future in unpredictable ways and your state officials have no crystal balls about how things might play out in the future as far as price regulations, available products, etc.

khh
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Re: Medicare Supplements

Post by khh » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:48 pm

In most cases, your Medigap insurance company can't drop you because the Medigap policy is a guaranteed renewable policy. This means your insurance company can't drop you unless one of these happens:

You stop paying your premiums

You weren't truthful on the Medigap policy application

The insurance company becomes bankrupt or insolvent

If you bought your Medigap policy before 1992, it might not be guaranteed renewable. This means the Medigap insurance company can refuse to renew the Medigap policy. But, the insurance company must get the state's approval to cancel your Medigap policy. If this happens, you have the right to buy another Medigap policy.

https://www.medicare.gov/index.php/supp ... ng-medigap
There is nothing that I see in my contract that gives the insurance company an out if they decide to quit writing policies. Under "RENEWABILITY", it says only "This contract is guaranteed renewable for life." I still don't think an insurer can cancel a Medigap policy unless one of the 3 criteria in the Medicare quote above is met.

khh
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Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:31 pm

Re: Medicare Supplements

Post by khh » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:06 pm

Steelersfan wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:31 am

States have different rules and laws so my experience does not apply in your state. I had a Medicare Advantage plan from a financially healthy company, then and now. They just decided to cancel all of one particular Advantage plan. I got to switch to any other plan without underwriting, from that company or any other.
Medicare Advantage plans are not guaranteed renewable so that wouldn't apply to Medigap plans.

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