Now that you are eligible to enroll in Medicare, you have the choice of supplementing your coverage with a Medicare Supplement Plan. Most people end up getting some sort of supplemental plan in order to get their Medicare co-pays and co-insurance covered. In fact, the US government has standardized such plans to give you an opportunity to get Medicare Co-pays and Coinsurance covered. When it comes to Medicare Supplement Insurance, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. The right choice for you depends on several factors, including specific medical needs and budget. All 10 of the Medicare supplement plans offer the same basic benefits across the board, including:
- Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are used.
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment.
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment.
- The first 3 pints of blood should it be needed.
If you’re looking for the most basic coverage, Plan A is likely the best option. If you’re looking for additional coverage Plans, F* and G have the most included benefits. Plans K and L are the best options for those looking to secure a limit on out-of-pocket expenses. Other plans provide more coverage for foreign travel emergencies for those frequently going out of the country. It all depends on your lifestyle and what coverage you believe is most beneficial for your medical needs. To get a breakdown of specific benefits covered under each plan, you can look at The Benefits Link Medicare Supplements Plan Chart.
Once you’ve narrowed down plans by needs, you can make a decision based on your budget. While Medicare Supplement Insurance plans typically come with a monthly premium, some insurance plans may price them differently. Do your research and shop around for the best deals amongst insurance carriers.
After deciding on the type of coverage needed and budget, the next item to analyze is the pricing method. Insurance companies typically use three main types of premium-pricing structures for MedSup Plans:
- Issue-age rate: premium based on your age at the time of enrollment and does not increase over time.
- Community-rate: all members enrolled in the plan pay the same premium regardless of age.
- Attained-age rate: premium based on your current age and costs increase as you get older.
It’s important to note that prices may increase based on inflation and general economic conditions, so check with your insurance carrier to get specifics on possible premium increases.
Another way to save money is by enrolling on time. Sign up during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment period, which is the first six months after you turn 65. On-time enrollment means you cannot be turned down for coverage, charged more because of pre-existing conditions, and insurance companies cannot require medical underwriting.
To summarize our tips on what to consider before choosing a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan:
- Define your health needs and priorities.
- Narrow down those plans based on your budget.
- Find the right pricing structure for you.
- Enroll on-time.
Can I Change Medicare Supplements Anytime?
Suppose you enrolled in a plan, but you want to switch outside of your OEP. Insurance carriers can deny your application for several reasons if you’re enrolling outside of your OEP. Switching can be difficult if you do not have guaranteed-issue rights. These rights are available if you’re switching from a Medicare Advantage Plan to a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan for the first time. Another case is if you have been on your current MedSup plan for less than six months, your insurance carrier may agree to sell you a plan with similar benefits. However, plan changes may take up to an additional six months to go into effect. Lastly, there is the “Free Look Period,” in which you have 30 days to decide if you want to keep the plan after switching from one MediGap plan to another.
To get more tips on what to consider when enrolling in a MediGap plan or information about switching plans, book a consultation with an expert at The Benefit Link. We are happy to answer all your questions and find the right coverage for you at the best price!
*Plan F is no longer available for newly eligible enrollees as of January 2020