Choosing the best Medigap Insurance Plan
The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is during your Medigap open enrollment period.
There is a six-month period, which will begin on the first month in which a person is enrolled in Medicare Part B (some states have enrollment periods that will include people under 65) and 65 or older.
During Medicare Supplement Insurance open enrollment periods, insurance providers cannot use medical underwriting, which means they cannot refuse to sell you any Medigap policy, charge you an extra fee because of your health problems, or make someone wait for their coverage to begin.
After the open enrollment period, a person is not guaranteed a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan if they do not meet medical underwriting requirements. A person may have to pay more for their Medigap coverage. You may want to switch your current Medigap policy if:
- you are paying for benefits that you do not need
- you need more benefits than you have
- you are looking for a less expensive policy
- you want to change your insurance company
Benefits of Medicare Supplement Plans
The benefits that Medigap offers are the covered services, which Original Medicare does not cover. Basic benefits will include most of Part A and Part B coinsurance amounts, hospital benefits, which Original Medicare does not cover, and blood coverage. Skilled nursing facilities will have the equipment and the staff to give skilled nursing care.
Medigap will pay any Part B charge that exceeds the Medicare-approved amount. Some policies also include a Foreign Travel Emergency component allowing 80% of qualified emergency medical services outside of the country to be paid. A final benefit of Medigap is preventive services, which involve screening tests and routine check-ups.
Guide to buying Medigap policies
Insurance companies: Once your plan is selected, use the state-covered filter to find insurance companies in your area, which offer your desired plan.
Pricing: look for a plan’s total estimated costs to see if you can afford the supplemental insurance and how the company will bill you as you age.
Benefits: when deciding what benefits you would like, consider both future and current health needs. You can search by using the benefits filter.
Making the purchase: Once a Medigap plan is selected, fill out an application. To pay for a Medigap policy, you will pay the private insurance company a monthly premium for the Medigap policy in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you will pay to Medicare.
What to avoid when buying a Medigap policy
Avoid buying “select” policies if you do not live within the service area of the network facility. When purchasing a selected policy, you will only be covered fully for in-network services, so despite the lower premiums for your plan, you will still pay more if you are not using the in-network services.
A person should avoid getting an attained-age-rated plan just because it seems cheaper. Even though these plans are priced lower when you are between 65 and 70, the price will increase as you age each year. Instead, you might want to get an issue-age-rated plan because the plan’s cost will not change due to age despite its initially higher premiums. Keep in mind that the plan pricing may still increase due to other factors as well as inflation.