Medicare Supplement Insurance policy or Medigap is a private insurance policy sold by private companies to help pay for some of the high out-of-pocket care expenses that are not covered by the Original Medicare such as copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, at-home recovery, as well as foreign travel and emergency care.
There are eleven standardized plans lettered from A through G and K through N – and are regulated by the federal and state governments. Every Medigap insurer offers both Plan A and Plan B, but it is important to know that while Medigap policies must provide coverage for the expenses that are not covered by Medicare, not every insurer offers all twelve standardized plans.
Medigap Enrollment Requirements
You don’t necessarily need a Medigap policy if you already have a supplemental retiree health insurance through a former employer or union or if you opt for a Medicare Advantage Plan, also known as Medicare Part C. In order to be eligible for Medigap supplement plans, a few things should be in place and it will also depend on the state you live in because not every state offers Medicare Supplement plans to beneficiaries under 65 years of age. Consider the following enrollment prerequisites:
- You cannot be a Medicaid recipient
- You have guaranteed enrollment in a Medigap policy if you are 65 years old
- You must be and stay enrolled in Part A and Part B in Original Medicare for your hospital and medical coverage
- Depending on your specific state and you are eligible for Medigap coverage if under 65 living with disabilities or certain conditions, such as end-stage renal disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- A Medigap policy only covers one person. You and your spouse must purchase separate policies
- In addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay for Medicare, you will be required to pay a monthly premium for your Medigap policy
- Provided you keep up with the premium payments, the insurance company cannot cancel your standardized Medigap policy, and they must renew it annually
- Medigap plans do not cover private-duty nursing, long-term care, dental care, hearing aids, vision or eyeglasses, Medicare Part D, which is a prescription drug coverage plan
Open Enrollment Period
You would face late enrollment penalties if you didn’t enroll when you turn 65. Therefore, you want to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. It is the six-month enrollment period that starts three months before the month you turn 65 or at the end of 3 months after the month you turn 65.
While you can apply anytime if you missed your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Deadline, but will not only be required to go through medical underwriting, but chances are you may not be guaranteed coverage. You will also be required to pay a late enrollment penalty if you want a completely different Medigap policy or to switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage but you decide to drop your old policy, and the drug coverage wasn’t a creditable prescription drug coverage.
Choosing The Right Plan For You
Depending on the policy, Medigap plans A through J include the following benefits:
- Medicare Part A covers coinsurance and deductibles
- Medigap Part B covers doctors’ bills
- Medigap policies K and L include coverage of similar services as plans A-J and provide benefits that supplement those covered under Medicare Parts A and B
- First three pints of blood annually
- Foreign travel emergency
- At-home recovery
- Preventative care
- Excess doctor charges
- Hospice care coinsurance
While the services offered under each Medigap plan are standardized, the premium rates charged for coverage under the plans vary by insurance company and sometimes by geographic region. Additionally, Medigap policies may impose a pre-existing condition limitation of up to a six-month before the effective date of coverage. However, the waiting period can be reduced or waived completely, depending on your circumstances.
Learn more about Medigap plans and rates at http://emedigap-plans.com. Medigap Insurance brokers will help you compare Medigap Insurance rates and plans. To talk to an expert in Medigap coverage call toll free 888-452-7949!