I got a call from a client who had her Medicare supplement canceled. It turns out she had some upheaval in her home and she had to move out for a few months. She did not get her mail, so she did not pay her bill, and her supplement was canceled.
Sara turned 65 eight months ago and my notes say she had health issues, including diabetes. Uh oh. That means she might not be able to enroll in a Medicare supplement, since most companies will reject her. I know of two companies that will accept her with health issues – but they will charge her $100 more than the rate she was paying.
I told Sara she could enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and use the “Medicare Advantage Trial Period” to “try out” Medicare Advantage. Medicare has a rule that says people can try out Medicare Advantage and drop it within one year – and get their Medicare supplement back with guaranteed issue. “Guaranteed issue” means Sara would not have to answer the medical questions, and cannot be charged more than the regular premium for her age.
But…. What was I thinking?
Sara can’t enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan at this time of year. She would have to wait until the Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7) and then her Medicare Advantage plan would not start until January. That leaves her with just Medicare for the next five months (August through December).
But… Sara could enroll in the a Medicare Advantage plan for people with diabetes because she would get an SEP (special enrollment period) to go into a “chronic special needs plan” (CSNP).
But… Sara likes her doctors – who are with University Physicians – and they are not contracted with the only remaining Chronic SNP plan in Tucson.
Sara is 66 years old and….. there is one Medicare supplement company that does not require her to answer the 15 questions about her health conditions if she is younger than 68. She only needs to answer a few questions about whether or not she has kidney failure requiring dialysis, or has been in the hospital in the last 90 days, or is supposed to get surgery soon. So if she is generally healthy, despite having diabetes, she will be accepted by this Medicare supplement plan.
Whew! I ran through my entire checklist to see if I can help Sara and it looks like I can. Sorry, I can’t mention names of companies and plans because that would be construed as promoting those plans.
The moral of this story is: If you don’t want to risk having your Medicare supplement canceled……Pay your Medicare supplement premium by electronic funds transfer! I call this the “get-it-and-forget-it plan”. Sara is he second person I know who had their Medicare supplement canceled because they got sick (or something happened) and they did not pay their bill over several months.