When approaching Medicare, many soon-to-be Medicare beneficiaries are surprised to find out that Medicare has a cost. For many, they have worked all their lives and paid into the system for 30 or more years. Once they get close to Medicare, they find it costly.

The costs of Medicare are usually considerably less than group coverage and typically provide more robust benefits. However, once you start seeing all the costs for Original Medicare, many people begin to think:

  • I don’t really go to the doctor often
  • I’m retiring
  • Do I want to budget more costs into my fixed income?
  • If I am healthy, what are some coverages I can go without?

These are all natural in the thought progression.

But to answer the question of “Do you need a Medicare supplement if you are healthy?” The answer is no, you don’t need one. But can you afford to not have one?

When was the last time you made a homeowners or auto claim on your insurance? Most people would not be able to tell you when.

By that logic, should you pay for homeowners or auto insurance if you never get in an accident or have your house catch on fire?

What Do We Need Insurance for?

Insurance is there for when we need it. Life happens, and we don’t know what will happen today.

Additional insurance isn’t for right now. It’s for the unexpected. It is part of being prepared to persevere through what occurs if something unexpected happens.

This is why we need to enroll in coverage when we are healthy. Once we’re unhealthy, we have fewer options for coverage.

Qualifications for a Medicare Supplement

You must undergo medical underwriting and medically qualify for coverage outside of your Open Enrollment or a Guaranteed issue situation. There is a range of health conditions that could either increase the cost or could deny you coverage.

The best time to enroll in a Medigap plan is to have more options and get into a lower rate when you are healthy.

Some common conditions that can cause a decline are insulin-dependent diabetes, Atrial fibrillation, or diabetes combined with high blood pressure.

You probably know many people with these conditions and consider themselves healthy because they have the conditions under control. That does not mean that they could qualify if they applied today.

When is The Best Time To Enroll in Medigap?

You can enroll in a Medicare Supplement at any time, as long as you can pass medical underwriting. Some people choose to enroll in other less expensive coverages when they start Medicare.

The best time to enroll in a Medigap plan is when you’re starting Medicare. Most carriers in the majority of the states allow you to enroll in a Medigap 6 months before the start of your Medicare.

Enrolling in advance, in most cases, will lock in a lower rate for your first 12 months. There will also be no restrictions on the plan you can choose. Best of all, in open enrollment, you are not required to answer health questions.

What Options Could I Choose If I Am Healthy and Can’t Afford A Medicare Supplement?

Medicare supplements are the most comprehensive coverage available, but they have higher premiums. A lower-cost option if the Medicare Supplement is too expensive would be a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Advantage plans sometimes referred to as Medicare Part C, are another way to get your Medicare. They have low and sometimes no premium. In addition to low costs, many cover your prescription drugs and additional benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t.

What If I Am Healthy And Want To Take The Risk?

That’s an option afforded to you, but can you afford not to have a Medigap? Health care costs are rising higher every year, and while there are lower-cost options, can you afford it if you had to pay out of pocket $4,500 right now if something happened?

If so, that’s great, but what about next year? Can you afford to start paying out $4,000 a year once your health status changes?

We don’t get healthier as we age. With a Medicare Supplement, you have a monthly payment that can be budgeted, and you pay little or nothing when you use the plan.

It’s for peace of mind, as one less thing to worry about in older age and retirement.

Getting Assistance With Supplemental Medicare Plans

Everyone’s situation and circumstances are different. For that reason, it’s best to speak with a licensed insurance agent who can take you through a proper needs analysis and ensure you choose a plan that works for you.

We are here to help! Give us a call or fill out our online request form. We will help ensure you have the correct information to make the best decision for you.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.