Greek Catholic Union Medicare Supplement Review
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The Greek Catholic Union (GCU) of the USA (originally founded as the Greek Catholic Union of Rusyn Brotherhoods) began on February 14, 1892 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It was headquartered for the majority of the 1900’s in Homestead Pennsylvania, close to downtown Pittsburgh until 1987 when they moved to Beaver Pennsylvania, a nearby suburb.
GCU of the USA is a fraternal organization originally started by fourteen different Catholic Greek Lodges to promote education and assist its members. By the 1920’s membership grew to over 130,000 members. In the beginning, they had very close ties with the Greek Catholic Church but by 1979 allowed members of the Greek or Roman Rite of Rusyn or Slav descent. Unfortunately membership today has diminished to around 40,000.
Today the Greek Catholic Union (GCU) largely provides different types of life and health insurance products including one of the best Medicare Supplements, Term and Whole Life, Long Term Care and Annuities. They began offering the current Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy in the last 3 years and offer plans A, B, F, G and N and may vary depending on the state.
The Greek Catholic Union Medicare Supplement offers the option of a telephone application which is convenient, quick and hassle free. It alleviates dealing with missing information and you’ll know immediately if you are there are little or no follow up involved in the process. Our independent agents can assist you with this process. Just call 614-402-5160. Prior to the call you should have the following ready:
• Name, address and phone number of your primary care physician (the doctor who manages your ongoing conditions).
• Current coverage information including the name of the company, type of policy and the date that is planned for termination.
• Banking information-The only form of payment accepted for a telephone application is a periodic bank draft. If you need any form of direct bill (receive a paper bill in the mail) you must apply with a hard copy paper application.
• List of all medications
• List of your medical conditions and dates of last treatment, therapy or surgery.
There are two underwriting classes: Standard for all non-tobacco users and smoker. If you are in the Medicare Part B Open Enrollment (Medigap open enrollment) or Guaranteed Issue period tobacco uses can apply for the Standard rate with the exception of North Carolina, Illinois, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
7% Household Policy Discounts are available for all states with some variations
• OHIO- GCU requires that you have resided with at least one, but not more than three other adults who also have a GCU Medicare Supplement for no less than one year. If the other person is a spouse, the one year requirement will be waived.
• PENNSYLVANIA- Similar to Ohio but there is no requirement that they must have a Medicare Supplement with GCU and only need to be in a “legal relationship”.
• Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin- Available only if the applicants who reside with 1 to 5 people with one being at least 30 years old. There is no legal relationship or other person having a GCU Medicare Supplement requirement.
As always, before worrying about rates or passing the medical underwriting if you are not in the Medicare Part B Open Enrollment or a Guaranteed Issue period, you need to make sure you can pass the height and weight guidelines. Make sure you are not over or under the weight limitations.
The easiest way to narrow down if you will pass the health questions is by taking a look at the following list of conditions that will likely cause a decline. In order to be considered, all questions on the application must be answered NO. If you have to answer yes to anything you should not apply and proceed to talk with your independent agent about a different company.
How the Greek Catholic Union of the USA’s underwriting differs from most
During the course of our review there were a few key medical conditions that really stuck out because most other companies would not consider an applicant who had them. Here is a brief summary what we found.
- Applicants with Hepatitis A, B or C are not automatically declined.
- If you had home health care that was not medically advised, like a private home heath aid to help with cooking, cleaning and driving, that could be acceptable.
- Diabetics on insulin using less than 50 units per day-most don’t allow any insulin.
- Use of Tamoxifen after 2 years for Breast Cancer.
- Heart related procedures after 2 years.
- COPD without the use of oxygen.
- Mulitple hospitalizations (over two) in the last 12 to 24 months excluding for mental or nervous conditions
Conditions that will not be considered for coverage and time limitations
(The list is not all inclusive and some conditions may be evaluated on a case by case basis)
• Alzheimer ’s disease, Dementia or Memory loss
• Amputations as a result of a disease
• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-Diagnosis, treatment or medication in the last 2 years
• Angina- Diagnosis, treatment or medication in the last 2 years
• Angioplasty, bypass surgery, stent placement, heart attack, heart valve surgery- In the last 2 years
• Cancer – Surgery or treatment in the last 2 years
• Carotid or Coronary Artery Disease – Current or surgery in the last 2 years
• Congestive Heart Failure, Defibrillator or Cardiomyopathy
COPD) – With the use of oxygen in the last 12 months
• Depression- Hospitalization more than 2 times in the last 2 years
• Diabetes- Combined with heart disease, conditions as a result of diabetes including neuropathy, retinopathy or peripheral vascular disease, more than 50 units of insulin per day, A1C>7.0 or fasting blood sugar of >120
• Drug or Alcohol Abuse – With treatment, or medications in the last 2 years
• Home Health Care, Hospitalization, Nursing Home, or Assisted living – (Medically advised) Last 90 days
• Kidney Failure
• Organ Transplant
• Oxygen – Last 12 months
• Leukemia – Treatment is the last 2 years
• Lupis – Systemic
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Myasthenia Gravis
• Skin Ulcer – Last 2 years
• Stroke or TIA – Last 2 years
• Wheelchair – Required use
The Greek Catholic Union of the USA Medicare Supplement is a very new product compared to most of its competitors. That’s not always a bad thing. In many cases this could work to your advantage as you may be accepted with GCU and not with many others.
The underwriting is very forward thinking and the rates are the lowest in the industry for some ages, plans and states. If you have had significant increases in premiums on your current policy, this company may offer some significant savings to you. The lenient underwriting and low rates tells us they want to aggressively grow this product. Contact us at 614-402-5160 for a brief evaluation, and well give you the Best Quote!