What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?
Medicare Supplement Insurance, sold by private insurance companies, helps pay some of the out-of-pocket healthcare costs that Original Medicare (Parts A & B) don’t pay. The plans, categorized by letters A-N, are standardized meaning they include the same basic benefits regardless of where you buy them.
What types of Medigap Plans are there?
There are 10 standard Medigap Plans sold nationwide except in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Twelve if you count the two high-deductible versions. Each of these plans offer between 4 and 9 standard benefits. Although, three of those plans (Plan C, Plan F and High-Deductible Plan F) are no longer available to new enrollees.
Does Medigap cover prescription drugs?
No. In most cases, Medicare Supplement Insurance does not cover prescription drugs unless they are administered in a hospital or doctor’s office. You can purchase a stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug Plan with your Medigap Plan to help cover the cost of prescriptions. You can also purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan instead of a Medigap Plan.
Does Medigap cover vision and dental services?
No. I most cases, Medicare Supplement Insurance does not cover vision and dental services. You can purchase stand-alone vision and dental plans with your Medigap Plan to help cover the costs of vision and dental services. You can also purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers vision and dental coverage instead of a Medigap Plan.
When can I apply for Medicare Supplement Insurance?
You can apply for a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan at any time, but the best time is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period begins 6 months before the month you turn 65 and lasts for 6 months after the first day of the month in which you turn 65 and/or are enrolled in Medicare Part B.
During this time:
- You will not have to submit your application for medical underwriting.
- Insurance companies cannot refuse to sell you a Medicare Supplement policy it offers.
- Health issues cannot affect the premiums charged by the insurance company.
- You don’t have to wait for coverage to start.
If you apply for a Medicare Supplement policy outside of your Medigap Open Enrollment Period or another guaranteed issue period, you may be denied coverage or charged more based on your health history.
Do Medicare Supplement Plans differ between insurance companies?
Since Medicare Supplement Plans are regulated by the government, insurance companies must offer standardized plans that include certain basic benefits. For example, one company’s Plan G is the EXACTLY the same as another company’s Plan G. However, each insurance company can charge you however much they want for that same exact standardized plan.
Each insurance company decides which Medigap policies it wants to sell, although state laws might affect which ones they must offer.
Insurance companies that sell Medigap policies:
Don’t have to offer every Medigap Plan
- Must offer Medigap Plan A and Plan C or Plan F if they offer any Medigap policy
- Note: Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin offer different standardized plan options.
How can I save money on my Medicare Supplement Insurance premiums?
Since you can get the same Medicare Supplement Plan from multiple companies, the best way to save money is to shop around. An independent insurance agency or brokerage makes shopping around for Medigap Plans easy. They’re usually contracted with a variety of insurance companies in your area so you can compare your options with just one quote. They’ll also know if you qualify for household discounts or any other opportunities to save money on your Medigap premiums.
Are Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage Plans the same?
No. You can purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan in addition to your Medicare Parts A & B coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans, or Medicare Part C, provides standalone coverage that combines some, but not all, of the Part A & B benefits (and sometimes Part D) into one plan. These plans tyipically have restrictive networks of providers and limited coverage areas and have a lot of additional costs when you use services and benefits. Both plan types are offered by private insurance companies. However, you cannot have Medicare Supplement Insurance at the same time as Medicare Advantage insurance.
Does a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan replace Original Medicare Part A and Part B?
No. A Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan works with Original Medicare and may help pay for certain costs the Original Medicare doesn’t cover. That means, you get to keep your Part A & B benefits and your Medicare-approved doctor as well as receive additional coverage benefits.
How much does Medigap cost?
Medicare Supplement Plans can range from $50 to over $300 in monthly premiums. The cost is determined by the insurance carrier and is influenced by several factors like your location, age, gender and whether you use tobacco products.
You can get the same Medigap Plan from a variety of insurance companies. Premiums may vary depending on the company. If you want to get the best deal, it’s important to shop around. You can compare rates right here online or simply schedule a free consultation with “Medicare Dave.”
Have some more questions about Medicare? Find the answers you’re looking for in this essential article: Comprehensive Medicare FAQ Guide for 2023
By David Lasman – “Ask Medicare Dave” | President – Senior Healthcare Team
wwww.SeniorHealthcareTeam.com | 866-333-7340
Selecting the right healthcare plan through Medicare can be overwhelming and downright stressful. Senior Healthcare Team is a nationwide resource that provides guidance and support about Medicare to seniors at no cost to them and helps them to choose the most suitable insurance plan tailored to their specific needs and budget. Our goal is to educate and empower our clients to make the best decisions regarding their healthcare and clear up the confusion of Medicare. At Senior Healthcare Team, we aren’t partial to any one insurance company. Our loyalty is to our clients and our mission is to provide them with the best healthcare options at the very lowest cost.