I’m doing some shopping and would like to know just how much I’m going to spend. I turned 65 last year and signed up for a Medicare Supplement Plan G.
My wife’s 65th birthday is this coming October and we’ll probably sign her up for the same thing. I’ve read that we can get a monthly discount if we’re with the same insurance, but the rates are different.
My plan is with Blue Shield and it’s about $150 per month. Does it make sense to have my wife on the same Blue Shield plan or is there more savings somewhere else?
Tom: Very good timing, Cal. We have the current rates on the three main Medicare Supplement companies we use: Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, and United Healthcare (AARP). Let’s start with Blue Shield. Right now, the monthly premium for Plan G for your wife would be $138.
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Because she’s brand-new to Medicare, Blue Shield reduces her premium $25 per month for the first 12 months. If she does auto-pay from personal checking or savings, that’s an additional $3 per month. Finally, if you are both on exactly the same Blue Shield plan, you may each be eligible for a 7% monthly savings.
Al: OK, since Tom didn’t go to Napa High, he’s going to let you do the math.
Here are the numbers for Anthem Blue Cross. Monthly premium for your wife’s Plan G: $136.38. Subtract $25 per month because she’s new; save $2 per month for auto-pay (or $48 for an annual payment); save 5% monthly for each of you in the same household. Blue Cross is different in that you don’t have to be on the same plan. I called them to make sure of that.
Sooo, it appears that Cal’s wife will pay $111.38 for the first 12 months, then minus $2 per month as long as it’s auto-pay, then 5% savings for her and for Cal.
Kyle: My turn. The AARP Plan G through United Healthcare comes in at $141.28 per month for the wife of Cal. Because she is new, there is a possible beginning enrollment discount of up to 36%. $2 for auto-pay and 7% discount for each if “…enrolled under the same AARP membership number…”. The rate is guaranteed for 12 months and there is an option for annual pay.
Tom: For all three companies, the rate changes for tobacco users and the discounts may not be there.
Also, there is a novelty called the “California Rule” by which each year on the subscriber’s birth month, he or she can move laterally or down from one plan or company to another.
For example, if a person had started off with a Plan F several years ago, a switch to a Plan G would be guaranteed, i.e., no underwriting, during that person’s birth month. Or, in this case, if Cal had begun with Blue Shield, he could move to any other company.
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