Medicare Parts A and B, commonly known collectively as Original Medicare, cover a great deal of treatments and services related to your health care. However, there are gaps in original Medicare coverage that can represent a significant expense if you experience a medical emergency, chronic illness, or long-term hospital stay. These expenses include coinsurance, deductibles, and copays. Medicare supplement insurance is intended to fill in these gaps.
A prominent and trusted name in the insurance community, Mutual of Omaha has been in operation for over 100 years. When Medicare was first signed into law in 1965, Mutual of Omaha was one of the first companies to offer supplement plans. Today, the credit rating agency A.M. Best gives Mutual of Omaha an A-Plus rating.
Because Medicare supplement insurance is regulated by federal law, all comparable plans must provide the same coverages. However, the company from which you choose to purchase Medigap coverage can result in lower costs and more features.
How Does Medicare Supplement Insurance Compare With Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Advantage is also known as Medicare Part C. When you enroll in Medicare Advantage, you get all the services provided by Parts A and B, and Part C also fills in the gaps left by Original Medicare coverage. Medicare Advantage can cost less than Medicare supplement insurance, but its benefits only apply to facilities and doctors within a network, and often only within a particular region.
By contrast, Medicare supplement insurance allows you to see any doctor who accepts Medicare patients, whether the physician is across town or across the country. Also, while Medigap plans can have a higher monthly premium, your out-of-pocket expenses may be much less. Be aware, however, that you must pay your monthly Medigap premium in addition to any costs associated with your original Medicare coverage.
Who Can Benefit From Medicare Supplement Insurance?
Medicare supplement coverage is not appropriate for every situation. In some situations, it is redundant, as when you enroll in Medicare Advantage or receive similar supplementation from a union or an employer. While it may go without saying, if you do not enroll in Original Medicare coverage, you cannot purchase a supplement to it.
However, there are many situations in which a Medicare supplement makes sense:
- You want to see a particular doctor without needing a referral.
- You would prefer a predictable monthly bill that you can budget for.
- You split your time between two residences in different areas of the country.
If you already have Part A and B coverage, and one or more of the preceding situations applies to you, you may benefit from Medicare supplement insurance.
What Types of Medicare Supplement Plans Are Available From Mutual of Omaha?
There are many different types of Medicare supplement plans available from insurance providers like Mutual of Omaha. Confusingly, they are designated with letters the same way that the different parts of Medicare are, but the letters do not mean the same thing. Because there are more types of supplemental insurance than there are Medicare parts, there are more letters to designate them.
The most basic Medicare supplement available is Plan A. The law requires that all insurance providers that provide Medigap coverage offer Plan A, regardless of what other plans they carry. Other common types of Medicare supplement plans include N, G, and F, and less common plans include M, G, D, and C.
Except for Massachusetts, Mutual of Omaha offers Medicare supplement plans in every U.S. state. In each of those states, plans A, G, and F are available from Mutual of Omaha. Availability of other plans varies by state.
Additionally, you should be aware that a new federal law went into effect this year making Plan F unavailable to new Medicare enrollees. This means that if you’ve already been on Medicare for a while and are interested in adding Medigap coverage, Plan F may be available, but if you’re just enrolling in Medicare now, because you’ve recently become eligible or circumstances prevented you from enrolling earlier, you won’t be able to use Plan F.
How Much Does Medicare Supplement Insurance From Mutual of Omaha Cost?
That is a very fair and very important question to ask. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers because there are so many variables that go into Medicare supplement pricing.
Pricing of Medicare supplement insurance depends partly on how a particular plan is rated. There are three different ratings:
- Attained-Age Rating: As you age, your costs increase.
- Issue-Age Rating: Costs depend on your age when you purchased the policy but do not increase as you get older.
- Community-Rated Plan: Regardless of your age when you obtain the plan or the age you eventually attain, your costs stay the same.
Plan prices can also vary based on the plan you choose, particularly as it relates to the features it offers and the deductible amount. Other factors that may be taken into consideration include the location, tobacco use, and sex (male or female).
To provide a general idea, in 2018 the estimated monthly premiums on a number of plans for a 68-year-old male who lived in Oklahoma and did not use tobacco were as follows:
- Plan A: $135.09
- Plan F: $163.00
- High-Deductible Plan F: $41.58
- Plan G: $113.03
- Plan N: $87.33
Keep in mind that these estimates date from a time before the new rule restricting access to Plan F plans went into effect.
What Are the Advantages of Purchasing From Mutual of Omaha?
If the coverage you get from a Medicare supplement plan is the same regardless of which company you get it from, why does it matter what company you choose? For one thing, different companies may offer more plan options in your area.
One thing you get with a Mutual of Omaha supplement plan is security. The company has a policy reserve specifically set aside to pay future claims that contained $17.6 billion in 2014. This means that you are unlikely to lose benefits due to the company’s inability to pay.
Mutual of Omaha also offers the following special features to enrollees in Medicare supplement plans: free application, electronic delivery of a temporary ID card, rapid issuance of the policy, and household discounts of up to 12%, depending on your location.
While it is always a good idea to shop around, Mutual of Omaha has a strong reputation in the industry. Its significant reserves can also provide peace of mind.