What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?
For some of the large expenses Medicare Parts A and B do not pay for, many seniors purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan known as “Medigap” insurance. Sold by private insurance companies, a Medigap policy offers the peace of mind that the large health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover will be taken care of for you.
Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period
If you plan to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy, you have a 6-month Open Enrollment Period which starts the first month you’re 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this 6-month period, you have the guaranteed right to buy any policy sold in your state. You cannot be turned down due to your current health status or a pre-existing medical condition. However, once this period starts, it can’t be delayed or replaced, so it’s important that you take action.
Medicare Supplement Insurance Is Regulated
Medicare Supplement policies are required to follow both Federal and state laws. This regulation is designed to protect you. Each Medigap policy is required to be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.”
For your protection, a “standardized” policy will be identified by letters A–N. All policies offer the same basic benefits. Some policies provide additional benefits too. If you need assistance choosing a plan that meets your needs, your Medicare agent can assist you. If you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, your Medigap policy has a different standardization method. Please call us for details.
Please note that plans E, H, I, and J have been phased out by Medicare. And, Plans C and F will be phased out in January of 2020. If you are already enrolled in one of these plans you can keep it. Contact your Medicare agent for more information about your plan and if switching is right for you.
Medicare Supplement Premiums Are Not Regulated
Although Medigap policies are regulated, their premiums are not. Insurance companies apply different premiums for the same policy. Be sure to compare both the policy and the premium when you shop.
Also, some states offer an additional Medigap policy known as Medicare SELECT. These policies require you to use specific hospitals, and in some cases specific doctors and other health care providers, in order to receive full coverage. If you discover that your Medigap SELECT policy isn’t working for you, don’t worry. You have 12 months to change your mind and switch back to a standard Medigap policy.
How Much Does Medicare Supplemental Insurance Cost?
As with all other types of insurance, your age, where you live, and other risk factors, such as smoking, are used by insurance companies to determine rates. We have cataloged all Medicare Supplement carriers, the plans they offer, and their best rates by state.