Supplemental Insurance For Medicare Explained
Navigating Medicare and all of its parts and plans can feel daunting. That’s why it’s important to have committed, licensed insurance agents that take the time to understand your needs and find a plan that works best for you.
Supplemental Insurance for Medicare
A Medicare supplement policy, also known as Medigap, fills the gaps in your coverage left by Original Medicare. This includes Medicare deductibles and copayments, hospitalizations and long-term care. These policies are private insurance plans sold by private companies and regulated by federal and state laws. They work alongside your Part B Medicare premium paid to the private insurance company, but do not include prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D).
Generally, you can’t be denied a Medicare Supplemental Insurance for Medicare supplement policy during your one-time open enrollment period, which starts the month you enroll in Medicare Part B at age 65 or older. After your open enrollment period, you may still be able to buy a Medicare supplement policy, but the insurer must review your health history. The review is called underwriting.
There are a variety of Medicare supplement plans available, but the most popular is plan F. It provides the most coverage of any Medicare supplemental plan and is standardized across all insurance companies. Other supplemental plans are available, including plan G and plan N. These plans do not cover the Medicare Part B deductible but provide lower monthly premiums than plan F. Plan N is only offered in some states.
The premiums for a Medicare supplement policy can be calculated in several ways. A guaranteed issue policy covers all of the costs you would be responsible for under Original Medicare, except for the Medicare Part B deductible. The premiums for this type of policy will be higher than for a plan with underwriting, which is determined based on your health and other factors.
Some Medicare supplement policies are attained-age rated, meaning your premiums will increase as you get older. This type of premium is a bit lower than the guaranteed issue premium, but will have the potential to increase with inflation. The Indiana Department of Insurance approves premium rates for Medicare supplements and other ancillary products.
The best time to purchase a Medicare supplement policy is during your one-time supplement open enrollment period. This is the six months beginning the month you enroll in Medicare Part B at the age of 65 or older. During this period, you can buy any Medicare supplement plan sold in your state without answering any medical questions. After your open enrollment period, you can still buy a Medicare supplement plan, but the insurer will review your health to determine the risk level and determine your premium. If you have preexisting conditions, the insurer will place a six-month waiting period on those services before they will pay for them. Exceptions to this rule are for new transplant recipients and certain circumstances. To avoid being excluded from a Medicare supplement plan, you should notify the insurance company of your preexisting condition as soon as possible.