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California Medicare Insurance & Supplement FAQ

Q: I have Medicare. Why do I need a Medicare Supplement?
A: Medicare does a great job of providing a medical benefit but does not pay everything. In addition to deductibles for hospital and medical, Medicare generally only pays 80%. A California Medicare supplement can fill in these gaps.

Q: How is a Medicare Supplement different than a PPO plan?
A: Insurance companies offer PPO plans that replace your Medicare benefit with private insurance. So you would not be using Medicare as your insurance program.

Q: I thought Medicare Supplements are a PPO. My doctor says he only takes PPO plans.
A: Even medical offices get confused about terminology. What they’re really saying is they won’t accept an HMO. Because there is no insurance company network, the California Medicare Supplement is not a PPO. If the provider accepts Medicare, the Supplement will pay its share of the cost.

Q: How do I know I have the best California Medicare Supplement?
A: There are no “best” plans. All plans are standardized in California so (for example) Plan F with one company is identical to Plan F with every other company. The only difference is price.

Q: How can I be sure I have the best price?
A: The best way is to utilize the services of an insurance agent that specializes in Medicare plans. We have been working with Medicare beneficiaries in California for over 20 years.

Q: When can I change plans?
A: There is no enrollment period so you can change anytime, subject to health questions.

Q: What if my health changes and my Medicare Plan gets too expensive?
A: California has the “birthday rule.” This allows you to change from an existing California Medicare Supplement to one offered by any other company of the same or lesser benefit.

Q: All my friends say Plan F is the best. Is that correct?
A: It may be correct for some but there are other plans that likely provide better value. Speak with a knowledgeable agent. Most people are wasting $200-700 or more by being in Plan F.

Q: Won’t it cost more to use an agent?
A: Absolutely not! The insurance company will pay the agent, not you. So there is no financial advantage to avoiding using a professional for help.

Q: Don’t I want to use a company I know? I don’t want to be cancelled.
A: Medicare Supplement companies are regulated not only by the federal government but by the State of California. The only way you can be cancelled is by failing to pay your premium. All plans are guaranteed renewable and provide exactly the same benefits.

Q: Where can I learn which plans are available and how much they cost?
A: We work with virtually all the main companies who sell California Medicare Plans. Contact us by email or phone anytime. We’re here to help.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
7500 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850
TTY 1-877-486-2048
24 hours a day; seven days a week

Social Security Administration
Office of Public Inquires
Windsor Park Blvd.
6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235
TTY 1-800-325-0778
7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

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