Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance providers. They’re meant to help offset some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medicare Supplement plans are also known as Medigap insurance. Medicare Supplement plans act as supplemental insurance to Medicare Part A and Part B.
This means if you have a Medicare Supplement plan, Medicare will cover the necessary medical expenses first. In contrast, the Medicare Supplement plan will take care of the remaining out-of-pocket costs. To qualify for a Medicare Supplement plan, you’re required to have Medicare Part A and Part B.
Medicare Supplement Plan Coverage
Medicare Supplement plans are standardized and are available in most states, including Florida. There are 10 Medicare Supplement plans, and they are labeled from Plan A to Plan N in the states where they’re available. Some Medicare Supplement plans are no longer available to new Medicare enrollees. Also, though insurance companies are not obligated to offer all of the Supplement plans, they must provide Plan A, Plan C, or Plan F. Since the policies are standardized, they must all provide the same basic benefits.
If you’ve already enrolled for Medicaid or a Medicare Advantage program, you cannot legally purchase a Medicare Supplement plan. Medicare Supplement Plans only work with Original Medicare, adding to those benefits. Also, Medicare supplement plans only provide coverage for individuals. It does not cover couples or dependents jointly. If you became eligible on January 1, 2020, or later, you are not eligible to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan that helps with Part B premiums, such as Medicare Supplement Plan F and Plan C.
However, if you already have both plans before then, you can continue with the coverage. Medicare Supplement plans cover the out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part A, such as skilled nursing facility care, copayments, hospice care coinsurance, and extended stays at a hospital. All Medicare Supplement plans cover some Part B costs such as coinsurance, copayments, deductibles, and other costs such as excess charges.
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Though Medicare Supplement plans all have standardized benefits, each Supplement plan’s cost is based on the insurance company you choose and some other factors. There are three means through which insurance companies calculate the cost of Medicare Supplement plans. The three methods are 1) community-rated systems, 2) issue-age related, or 3) attained-age related. In community-rated policies, the Supplement Plan cost is fixed regardless of age, sex, or other factors.
In community-rated Supplement plans, beneficiaries will pay the same amount for each plan unless the price increases due to economic factors. As for issue-age-related systems, the Supplement Plan premium and other costs are based on your age when you purchased the Supplement Plan. The younger the age, the less premium you’ll pay for the plan. However, the premium may increase as you get older as a result of inflation. In attained-age rated systems, your Supplement plan premium gradually increases as you get older. The cost is lower for younger people but becomes more expensive as they age.
Insurance providers usually offer discounts on Medicare Supplement plans due to certain reasons. For example, some plans may include discounts for non-smokers, women, and people who pay their premiums in advance each year.
Eligibility and Enrollment
You become eligible for Medicare Supplement during your Initial Enrollment Period, i.e., three months before you turn 65, and you enroll for Medicare Part B and three months after your 65th birthday. This period is called the Medigap Initial Enrollment period. During this window, you have a guaranteed right to purchase the plan. Insurance providers will not deny your application based on health as long as you qualify.
However, if you choose to enroll later, an insurance provider may reject your application based on health or other grounds. To register for a Medigap plan, you have a few options:
- Search for insurance providers that offer Supplement plans through the Medigap plan search tool on Medicare.
- Contact Medicare or insurance companies that offer Supplement plans online or on the phone.
- Enroll through a broker like us.
Better Place Insurance Group Can Help
If you have high out-of-pocket costs after enrolling in Original Medicare, Supplement plans are a good way of reducing these costs. At Better Place Insurance Group, we can help you get the best Medigap policy for your healthcare needs. You can find us in Lakeland, Florida, where we specialize in providing affordable insurance policies.