Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, or Medigap plans, are purchased in addition to Original Medicare to help cover the cost after Medicare has paid . Without a supplement plan in place, you are responsible for the Part A Hospital deductible and daily copays as well as the Part B yearly deductible in addition to the 20% left over after Medicare pays their portion, and there is no yearly maximum that you would reach. A supplement is not required, but is highly advantageous to have if you can afford the extra monthly expense.
Medicare Supplement plans are named using letters of the alphabet. There are ten plans: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. They are standardized by the federal government, meaning that each of the lettered plans have to provide certain coverage and/or benefits. Regardless of which carrier you choose to purchase that lettered plan from, that plan should provide the same coverage as the same lettered plan at a different carrier. While the federal government does have rules in place about what coverage Medicare Supplement plans must provide, they cannot dictate how much a carrier charges for that plan.
Undoubtedly, the best time to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment period. This is the 6 month period starting the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. This is the time that the premium will be most affordable, and you do not have to answer medical questions. Essentially, preexisting conditions will not be counted against you, you cannot be charged more for your health issues and will be charged the same for that plan as a person in good health.
Not only is this period the best time to buy a plan, but for some consumers, it would be the only chance they have to apply and get the plan issued. Pre-existing conditions, certain health conditions, will cause the carrier to reject applications that are submitted. If the application is accepted, it will go through underwriting after this Open Enrollment period. If these applications are approved, you may find yourself paying much more than you would have during the Open Enrollment period based on the answers to medical questions on the application and possibly things found in your medical record during underwriting.
Medical Supplement plans are a good purchase if you have the budget for them. They are a good way to protect yourself against unlimited bills and health changes that you may be responsible for as you age.
A Licensed Insurance Agent will be more than capable to help you look over the Medigap plans available to you, and compare them based on your needs. If you would like to learn more about your options, we invite you to call us at 1-888-995-1674 or 423-424-0586 to speak to our Medicare department.
*See disclaimer below.