Medicare supplement plans are available for purchase in all 50 states in 2018. During your one-time open enrollment window, you are guaranteed the right to purchase a Medicare supplement plan. Your health status does not matter when you buy a plan during this six-month window.
Some things to know about Medicare supplement plans are:
- You must have Part A and Part B to buy a Medigap policy.
- Medicare supplement plans cover only one person. Your spouse must have his or her own individual policy.
- You can drop your supplement at any time. There is no annual election period for Medicare Supplement plans.
- The annual election period in the fall is for drug plans. It does not apply to Medicare supplement plans in any way.
- Supplements are guaranteed renewable no matter what health conditions you may develop. They can’t be cancelled due to medical conditions.
- Many carriers offer household discounts if two or more people enroll in Medicare supplement plans from the same company
Medicare Supplement Plans – Coverage
Medicare Supplement plans pay after Medicare. They help to cover the gaps in Medicare that normally you would have to pay. This includes things like deductibles, coinsurance and copays.
You can use your Medicare Supplement plan at any provider in the nation that accepts Medicare. This makes Medicare supplements great for travel or for people who live in more than one state throughout the year.
Medicare Supplements plans do not include retail drug coverage, so you’ll want to purchase a standalone Part D drug plan for your medications. A Medicare Supplement does not cover routine, dental, vision or hearing services either. Since Medicare itself does not cover these items, so your supplement cannot pay anything toward them either.
What are the different Medicare Supplement Plans?
Each Medicare supplement plan has a letter, A – N. Each plan letter provides a different set of benefits. However, each lettered plan must have the same standardized coverage regardless of which insurance company you choose. For example, Medicare supplement Plan N at Blue Cross Blue Shield has the same benefits as Plan N from United Healthcare.
The Medicare supplement chart below shows the 10 standardized Medicare supplement plans. These plans can be offered by insurance companies in most states. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Massachusetts have different options though.
Medicare Supplemental Plans – Open Enrollment
Per Medicare’s Guide to Health Insurance, the best time to buy a supplement policy is during your open-enrollment window. This window begins on the first day of your birth month, or the month that you enroll in Part B. It lasts for six months.
During open enrollment, the Medicare supplement company cannot ask you any medical questions. They cannot turn you down for any health conditions. They cannot refuse you a policy or charge you any additional amount due to health conditions, medications or pre-existing illnesses. You will have your choice of Medicare supplemental plans.
After this window passes, however, future insurance companies that you might apply with can accept or decline you based on health. That is why the handbook states that open enrollment is the best time to enroll.
Please note: the Annual Election Period in the fall is NOT a time when you can change Medigap plans with no health questions. Many people mistakenly believe this. The Annual Election period in the fall pertains to your Part D plan, not your Medigap plan.
Medicare Supplement Plans – Guaranteed Issue
Some people delay enrollment into a supplement because they have group health coverage through an employer. Later when you retire or lose that coverage, you have the right to purchase certain Medigap policies within the 63 days following the loss of your group coverage. This is called your Medicare supplement guaranteed issue rights.
The guaranteed issue window works just like open enrollment, except that is a shorter period of time and that your plan choices are limited to Plans A, B,C ,F, K, and L. The insurance company cannot deny your application for any health reasons.
There are some other circumstances which create a guaranteed issue window as well, such as losing Medicare Advantage coverage when moving out of state. Guaranteed issue rules can vary by state, so be sure to check with a licensed agent who can inform you about the laws that apply in your state. Our agency is licensed in 47 states, so feel free to contact us if you would like for us to check for you.
You will want to keep any notices from your prior carrier that show proof of your creditable coverage for guaranteed issue and also so that you do not incur the Part D late enrollment penalty.
Medicare Supplement Plans- Underwritten
If your window has already passed for open enrollment or guaranteed issue, you can still apply for a Medicare supplement, but you will have to answer some health questions on your application. The insurance company can accept or decline you.
Some people are confused by this because they believe the Annual Drug Election Period in the fall is a time when they can change their supplement without underwriting. Unfortunately, the autumn election period only applies to drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans. Changing Medigap carriers will require underwriting in most cases.
What is the Best Medicare supplemental plan?
Medicare Supplemental Plan F is currently the plan with the highest level of coverage. It pays for all of your Medicare cost-sharing, leaving you with nothing out-of-pocket on covered services.
You can buy a Medicare supplement from a variety of different insurance companies. However, plans of the same letter are standardized so that the benefits are the same. A Medicare supplement Plan F with one company has the same benefits as the next company.
Medicare Supplemental Plan G is the next most comprehensive plan. It works exactly like Plan F except that you pay for the Part B deductible once per year. Your premiums will be lower though, and sometimes this creates annual savings. To find the best Medicare supplemental plan in your area, contact us for a free report that includes quotes and rate trend histories.
Since there are several standardized plans available to you in each state, you will want to think carefully about which one fits your needs the best.
Purchase Your Medicare Supplemental Plan from Boomer Benefits
When you buy your coverage directly from an insurance company, you give up a lot of benefits. Purchasing through Boomer Benefits costs exactly the same, but we provide these FREE value-added services for our policyholders.
- Quotes for over 30 companies
- Free rate-trend history report so you can see which company has had the lowest rate increases
- Free financial ratings for each company
- Annual rate shopping assistance to keep you paying the least amount possible
- Free claims support and help with appeals if Medicare denies a claim
- Full-time Client Service Team to answer your Medicare questions
- Annual Part D renewal assistance
- Exclusive Clients-Only Webinars each fall to go over the upcoming Medicare changes for next year.
Don’t hesitate to contact our agency for more information and quotes for all of the companies that offer plans in your area. Call (855) 732-9055 below or click below for help.
To continue learning about Medicare and supplements, go to our Medicare Supplement Comparison Chart.