Where to find estimates of Medicare premiums?

I’m turning 65 before the end of the year. This Medicare stuff is way more complicated than I thought.

Right now all I want is a decent estimate of what Medicare Part F will cost. It seems to me I ought to be able to input my gender, DOB and zipcode and get a pretty solid estimate of what my premiums would be.

Can I not do this because I haven’t found the right website that makes it possible? Or, is this so complex that you can’t get a reasonable estimate like this? Or, is it really pretty straightforward but no one wants to just give the information – they want to put me on the phone with an agent to sell me their plan?

From what I read on medicare.gov, coverages for the various Medicare “Parts” is standardized – all that varies is the cost. Is this not true? If true, what’s the big deal in saying Part F will cost $xx from Blue Cross, $yy from United Healthcare, $zz from Cigna, etc?

Here is an example of a cost estimator for Medicare coverage from a health plan:

https://www.humana.com/medicare/products/supplement/medigap-insurance-plan-f

Just punch in your zip code and get an estimate for Part F (and other parts).

I am sure insurers in your state have similar tools - just visit their website and look for the Medicare pages.

Try here:
https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx

Pretty much this. They want to sell you a policy and it can be quite difficult to get a reasonably accurate estimate for a Medicare Supplement policy.

The comparison tool on the Medicare.gov website provides only very broad estimates that do not take into account your age. However it does show which plans may be available in your zip code. You can click on a link to see contact information for companies that offer each plan in your area.

When you click that link take notice of the “Pricing Method” column. Most policies are based on your attained age so each year the premium costs more because you grow older. But a very few policies are offered by a few companies offer a policy with a premium based upon your age when the policy is issued. Such Issue Age rated policies do not get more costly due to your advancing age* and typical cost more in the first seven or eight years but then cost less than an Attained Age policy in subsequent years.

Finally, in a very few areas, you might see a policy that is based upon a Community Rating. For these policies everyone in the same community who has the same policy pays the same premium without regard to age. This is more expensive for younger persons and cheaper for older people.

Yes. Policies are standardized for traditional Medicare supplement plans** so what Company X covers in plan F should be the same as what Company Y covers in their plan F.

  • Issue Age policies still have premium increases, but it is due to inflation and other costs unrelated to your advancing age.
    ** Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have some differences due to historical reasons.

Find a broker. I don’t know where you are, but I have a broker in SoCal that I found through my wife’s doctor. They do the work, break down your options and get their commissions from Medicare or the supplemental policy company you sign up with. Cost-free to you. In California anyway.

That is true. When I did it, and I got plan F, I had to click through to various providers to get the cost of coverage.
There are some supplemental plans that increase in cost with your age, and some which are averaged over all ages, and which will be more expensive to start but won’t grow as fast.

I used “Medicare for Dummies” to understand the system, and was pretty happy with it. Better than getting a broker.

When you do sign up, either for plan D or supplemental coverage, you will spend a long time on the phone with an agent for the insurance company being read all the provisos and agreeing to things. Not difficult, just lengthy.

Congrats on going the Medicare Supplement route. IMHO a wise choice - better than Advantage plans, even with higher premiums.

Did you know that Plan F is going away for new enrollees in 2020? This might have an effect of future premiums so you might want to consider Plan G - pretty much the same coverage but you are liable for the $183 annual deductible for Parta B.

With the demise of Plan F, I have heard that some insurers will be offering a high deductible Plan G, which can be a winner if you don’t need a lot of healthcare. For the last 5 years, my high deductible Plan F has saved me a couple of thousand a year in premiums.

In WA State, I found these documents helpful. Perhaps your state insurance commission has something similar.



I came here to say this. Plan F is being phased out. Some insurers may still be selling it, but the rates they are charging may (will?) be way expensive, and they will be going up by an inordinate amount every year to “encourage” people to get off of Plan F. Plan G is a much better option these days. To compare: consider the yearly total for a Plan F plan versus the yearly total for a Plan G plan + $183.

BTW, I just went through this 3 years ago with my spouse, and I’m going through it right now, as I turn 65 in 3 months. Here are a few things I learned (some of them counter-intuitive):

  • See the aforementioned Plan F vs Plan G points…

  • The coverage from every insurance company for a specific plan will be identical by law. A Plan G from Aetna will be identical with a Plan G from, say, Mutual of Omaha. So the most important thing to consider is the price. *The coverages are identical!

  • I’m loathe to talk to sales people, but in this case, it doesn’t hurt you. You will pay the exact same amount whether you sign up yourself, or use an insurance broker. (In my first go-around with my spouse, I went through most of the work myself, only to learn that I didn’t have to. This year, for my Supplemental insurance, I just went to a well-recommended broker and signed up for the lowest cost Plan G plan at a cost of [I think] $112 / month. We were out of there in 45 minutes; no muss, no fuss).

  • When signing up at 65, you cannot be turned down by any insurance company. After the first year, companies will require “underwriting” – i.e., health information. Depending upon your health and existing problems, you may or may not be able to switch companies. (My spouse, who does have some health issues – asthma, bad knee, stomach issues – WAS able to switch this year and save $40 / month. More serious issues like cancer, heart disease, diabetes may prevent you from switching in the future.)

  • After you sign up for Medicare and a Medicare Supplement policy, the process works a little differently than I expected. Here’s how it goes: you go to a doctor, give them your Medicare card and your Medicare Supplement policy card. The doctor bills Medicare and forwards the name and policy number of the Supplemental Insurance to Medicare. Medicare pays its part, and then Medicare bills the Supplemental insurance company for its part. You don’t have to deal with the Supplement Insurance company at all (pretty much) except to pay the premiums.

*Sign up for a Part D drug plan right away. Cheapest I know of in my area is Humana Walmart plan at about $20 / month. Even if you DON’T currently take any medications, sign up for a Part D now. If you don’t and try to sign up for Part D in the future, you will pay a penalty fee for the rest of your life.

Hope these help.
J.

There is good info in this thread. In particular the post right above this one. Though it’s after the first 6 months not the first year that you lose you no underwriting status. Everything else seemed on point.

I’m a licensed Medicare agent. I literally just moments ago finished my continuing Ed on Medicare and the recent changes.

I am not licensed in your state (likely) and am not and will not try to sell you anything, but I’m happy to answer questions.

Fwiw I tend to recommend plan N for most of my clients. G is going to become the new default plan and I anticipate large rate increases as of 2020. I dislike the high deductible plan F for most people. But in certain cases it can work.

Oh and, don’t just jump on the cheapest premium prescription plan (which is no longer Humana in most areas) because that’s a really variable product in terms of how it covers you. If you don’t want to consult an agent you can call 1800medicare 24 hours an day and they will select the right plan for you based on your prescriptions, locations and preferred pharmacies (consider mail order it often will save you a ton).

Also, you only get one shot a year at picking your drug plan unless you have special circumstances. Take time and select correctly. The wrong choice can cost you thousands of dollars and you are stuck until next January. (selection is in October but the plan starts 1/1).

After that shop your plan EVERY year. Plans and formularies change annually. This is important. Do it.

(I’ll return the compliment…) :slight_smile:

Good information in this one. Mail order MAY save you a ton. However, in my situation, for some odd reason, prices for my medications are often cheaper at retail pharmacies. Go figure. So the point is: YMMV. Check both prices.

J.

Yeah it has to do a lot with what tier your prescriptions fall into. Also some companies don’t discount mail order as much as others. Aetna doesn’t really humana often will.

It’s frustrating for everyone but there are no one size fits all solutions for drug plans.