This week we had a case with a gentleman who had diabetes and a history of mild neuropathy. On the applications for most Medicare supplement companies, they are not questioning the severity of the neuropathy or retinopathy. They simply want to know if you have been diagnosed with it or treated for it within a certain timeframe. The good news is that there are companies that will accept you with this condition, so you there is coverage under Medicare supplement for diabetes with neuropathy available.
When New To Medicare
If you are turning 65 or leaving an employer plan and enrolling in Medicare Part B for the first time, most of what we will discuss here to does not apply to you right now. When you first enroll in Part B, you have an Open Enrollment period that entitles you to choose any Medicare supplement plan that you want – no questions asked – for 6 months following your enrollment into Part B. So finding a Medicare supplement for diabetes with neuropathy is not an issue. While in Open Enrollment, you can with any company you choose for any plan available. There is no waiting period, no surcharges, and no pre-existing clause. You are covered from day one under the Medigap plan of your choosing if enrolling during Open Enrollment.
If New To a Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare has a provision for those that enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and want to leave it during the first 12 months. This is referred to as your Trial Right. Information available on the federal government’s Medicare.gov website says that if you joined a Medicare Advantage Plan or Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) when you were first eligible for Medicare Part A at 65, and within the first year of joining, you decide you want to switch to Original Medicare, you can purchase any Medigap plan available in your state from any company you choose.
They are required to sell you a Medicare supplement. They must cover all pre-existing conditions. Also, they cannot charge you more because of your health. You simply can call Medicare to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and move back to original Medicare. They can also help you choose a Part D Prescription drug plan at the same time.
Call us and use our free comparison shopping service to find the best plan in your zip code if you are wanting to take advantage of this provision. Our number is 888-228-6119 and a licensed independent agent will be glad to assist you.
Guaranteed Issue For Losing Group Coverage
If you are losing employer coverage and are already covered by Medicare Part B, you have certain guaranteed-issue rights that allow you move onto a Medigap plan. Here is the information from the Medicare.gov website concerning that:
You have the right to buy Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L that’s sold by any insurance company in your state.
If you have COBRA coverage, you can either buy a Medigap policy right away or wait until the COBRA coverage ends.
You can/must apply for a Medigap policy no later than 63 calendar days after the latest of these 3 dates:
- Date the coverage ends
- Date on the notice you get telling you that coverage is ending (if you get one)
- Date on a claim denial, if this is the only way you know that your coverage ended
For Everyone Else
If you are outside of an Open Enrollment or Guaranteed Issue period, you will have to go through underwriting to enroll in a new Medicare supplement plan. There are some companies that will take you depending on the severity of your diabetes diagnosis.
With the gentleman I mentioned at the beginning of the article, he was taking Metformin to control blood sugar and Gabapentin for the pain in his feet from neuropathy. We had two companies in the state of Georgia that would accept that situation according to their application for coverage. Everest Reinsurance Company has one question on their application concerning diabetes. They want to know if within the past five years you have been prescribed or taken more than 100 units of insulin a day. Considering his other health history was good, other than taking a medication to control blood pressure, cholesterol, and a pain medication for an injury, he was eligible for coverage with them. However, every underwriting situation is different. So let us compare your health history against all the companies to see where you may qualify.
This gentleman would also qualify for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. We were looking at a Plan G Medicare supplement for him. The issue we had with BCBS was that their Plan G was just released last month. And considering that there is a $70 premium difference between their Plan F and Plan G, I am not comfortable putting people with them just yet. That is a very big premium difference considering the only thing Plan F covers that Plan G does not is the Part B deductible, which is $183 in 2017. Also, considering the rate increase history of BCBS in Georgia, I am not confident that their premium will stay that low for long. And if his health were to decline any at all, this client may be stuck in that plan and forced to pay whatever premium they increase to for those covered under Plan G.
The third option he had was to go with UnitedHealthcare. UHC will not ask any underwriting questions if you are within three years of enrolling in Part B for the first time – which was the case here. One issue that he saw with them was that they do not offer Plan G, which he wanted. The only other options he would consider were Plan F and Plan N, both of which UHC offers. Also, they require you to be a member of AARP to get their coverage, and he did not want to join AARP. But if he had been declined by the other companies, he had them as a last resort for getting a Medicare supplement for diabetes with neuropathy.
As I mentioned in the article, every underwriting situation is different. Let us check to see where we can get you placed. Our service is free. It costs you the same exact price whether you go directly to the company or use an independent agent, like Integrity Senior Solutions. If you go directly to the company, they will never tell you their competitor’s prices. They will not tell you of their upcoming rate increases. And if they decline you, they will also not tell you what other companies are an option for you. We can do all of those things and it costs nothing more for us to do it for you. We are licensed all across the country, so we can help you.
The advice on this website is informational. Please consult us before making a purchasing decision to determine what is best for your individual situation. You can contact a licensed agent at 888-228-6119 or by using the form on the right side of the page.
Keith Murray is an independent agent and the founder of Integrity Senior Solutions Inc. He has over 21 years of experience working with Seniors to meet their insurance and financial needs.