Visalia, CA (PressExposure) March 01, 2009 -- With Anthem Blue Cross set to deliver an across-the-board increase in California Medicare supplement insurance plan premiums March 1, many senior citizens are looking for ways to maximize their healthcare dollars and minimize expenses.
This is particularly true in light of today's recession and as IRAs and 401(k) retirement accounts continue to dwindle in value. And as federal bailout and stimulus monies are released, some economists warn of possible increasing inflation rates, a concern for many on fixed incomes.
There is no way to entirely avoid rising insurance rates. AARP and AETNA both increased their California Medicare supplement insurance plan premiums on Jan. 1. And depending on the plan, rates can go up at regular intervals as seniors get older. But even for seniors who aren't affected by the upcoming Anthem Blue Cross rate increase, in the current economy it can be beneficial to shop around, since costs vary from plan to plan and from insurance company to insurance company.
Comparisons can be made by calling the various insurance companies one by one, by seeking out an insurance broker specializing in Medicare supplement insurance plans or even more conveniently by visiting a California-based Medicare supplement insurance plan Web site, such as http://www.MedicareSupplementPlans.com. The site provides easy access to information about rates, plans and benefits from several prominent insurance companies.
"I received a notification that my insurance was being increased again. I went on the Internetâ¦ and now I'm saving over $100 a month," said Sharon Davis, 67, of Rancho Palos Verdes.
But why purchase a Medicare supplement insurance plan at all? There is a common misconception that Medicare pays 80 percent of a senior's healthcare costs. What Medicare actually pays is 80 percent of the amount it has approved for a particular health care service, not 80 percent of what the doctor actually charges. Medicare's â80 percentâ might, for example, cover only 50 percent of the doctor's bill, often making a Medicare supplement insurance plan, also known as Medigap insurance, essential for senior citizens' financial well-being.
Larry Peschek, 78, of Thousand Oaks said that his insurance broker "helped my wife and me get a Medigap policy that saved us money, but still had the same benefits."
Yet all the available insurance options and plans can often be bewildering to seniors, leaving them to wonder what the difference in costs and benefits are between various Medicare supplement insurance plans.
That information is out there, however, and it's just a mouse-click away.