Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance
Overview of Medicare Supplements (Medigap) Insurance Plans
Medicare Supplements are also known as Medigap insurance. You must have Medicare Parts A and B to have a Medicare Supplement plan. Don’t over complicate a simple statement, Medicare Supplements supplement Medicare. So if Medicare covers a procedure, then your supplement will take care of the difference based on the level of coverage that you chose. While Medicare generally covers about 80% of one’s medical needs, that still leaves 20% on the table to be paid by the individual. There are ten standardized plan options to choose from, based on the level of coverage you are willing to afford. Now we can start with the basics, and then bring you full circle.
Medicare Supplements are plans that work only with those who qualify for Medicare. The most common way one becomes eligible for Medicare is to age in, or turn 65 years of age. At this time you will have a once in a lifetime Open Enrollment period that is triggered by your Medicare Part B effective date. Your Medicare Part B effective date will be the first day of your birth month upon turning 65 years of age (unless delaying Part B benefits or on Medicare due to a disability). Those whose birthday falls on the first will have a Part B effective date of the first of the previous month. The guidelines for Open Enrollment will be a seven month window. Three months before your Part B effective date, the month of, and three months after. Some companies will extend that to six months before, and six months after. During Open Enrollment you will have the opportunity to shop for the best plan to fit your health needs, and your budget.
Another way to qualify for Medicare is to be on Disability for 24 months. At this time you will qualify for Medicare, and the Open Enrollment will be based on the Part B effective date. Not all states have Medicare Supplement plans available for these individuals. The rules are state specific, and the available plans and guidelines vary. These individuals will actually go through one more Open Enrollment when they turn 65 years of age, and that is it.
Now you will need to find a plan that works best for you. The soonest your Medicare Supplement can take effect is the same date as your Part B effective date. With that in mind it is good to get an early start to get things in place. Keep in mind while searching for the best plan for you the the most expensive isn’t always the best coverage, and the cheapest doesn’t make it the most affordable.
Medicare Supplements do not cover Medication. You will need to pick up a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), also Part D Medicare. You also find vision and dental not to be covered unless there is a medically necessary issue. If you are looking to get these items covered, a separate plan is needed for each of these at a relatively inexpensive cost.
10 Important Things You Need to Know About Medicare Supplement Plans
- You must have Medicare Part A and Part B.
- There are 10 standardized plans lettered A thru N
- You can go to any doctors or hospital who excepts Medicare not matter what plan or carrier you decide to enroll with.
- If you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement policy, but make sure you can leave the Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare Part A & B before your policy begins.
- You pay the private insurance company a monthly premium for your policy in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare.
- A Medicare Supplement policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want coverage, you’ll each have to buy separate policies.
- You can buy a policy from any insurance company that’s licensed in your state to sell one.
- Any standardized policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company can’t cancel your policy as long as you pay the premium.
- Some policies sold in the past cover prescription drugs, but policies sold after January 1, 2006 aren’t allowed to include prescription drug coverage. If you want prescription drug coverage, you can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
- It’s illegal for anyone to sell you a Medicare Supplement policy if you have a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plan.
Our licensed Medicare agents are available to help explain selecting a plan option that fits your needs and requirements best. We can help you take care of all the coverage you desire in a short amount of time. Just give us a call and/or submit the necessary information required to produce an accurate estimate for your needs.