Selecting a Medigap Plan
Finding the Best Medicare Supplements – Finding the best deals for Medigap insurance plans in your area. What to look for in selecting providers of supplemental medicare insurance.
How and where to find the Medigap policies available, the cost, and the providers of supplemental Medicare insurance in your area.
What is Medigap
Medigap is a Medicare supplement offered by various private health insurance plans which are sold to Medicare beneficiaries. Providers of supplemental medicare insurance provide coverage for medical expenses not covered or only partially covered by Medicare. Medigap’s name comes from the fact that it exists to cover a difference or “gap” between the expenses reimbursed by Medicare and the total amount charged by the provider.
When shopping for the best Medicare supplements, there can be significant differences in Medicare supplemental insurance plan costs. There are so many Medigap insurance companies that making a decision can be overwhelming. Some research can pay for itself and get you the least expensive and best Medicare supplement.
The first priority is determining the Medicare benefits you most need. Medicare offers some good resources along with a guide to choosing a Medigap policy here. The Medigap plan charts provided by Medicare (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) are a good resource for this.
Consider the services you think you’ll need or will likely need in the future. You should factor in your current health and any pre-existing conditions.
All insurers are required to offer as a minimum Medigap Plan A . This includes basic benefits such as Medicare Part A and Part B coinsurance coverage and preventive care coverage. Not all types of Medigap policies are offered by every state.
Finding Insurers and Prices in Your Area
Probably one of the best resources for finding prices in one place for the best Medicare supplements in your area and which insurance companies is through visiting the Medicare Plan Finder :
- Select the “Find and Compare Medigap Policies” on the right side of the page. A new window will open.
- To find prices enter your ZIP code, health status, and select “Yes” or “No” if you currently have a Medigap policy.
- Select the “Continue” button lower on the page.
- All the Medigap policies available in your are will be displayed.
- Select “View Details” for the policy your are interested in. This will display details for the policy.
- On the right side of the page under “Where to Buy Policy” click on the “View all Companies” to see a list of companies offering Medigap policies in your area along with contact info.
What You Need To Know in Finding the Best Medigap Insurance
Here’s important points summarized from Medicare on what you need to know about selecting the best Medicare supplements for you:
- You must have Medicare Part A and Part B to buy a Medigap policy.
- Plans E, H, I, and J will no longer be for sale aft er May 31, 2010.
- Effective June 1, 2010, there will be two new Medigap Plans offered—Plans M and N.
- Benefits for Plans A, B, C, D, F, and G will change.
- You pay the private Medigap insurance companies a monthly premium for your coverage in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare.
- A Medigap policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, you each will have to buy separate Medigap policies.
- You can buy a Medigap policy from any insurance company that’s licensed in your state to sell one. See below for how to do this.
- If you want to drop your Medigap policy, contact your insurance company to cancel the policy.
- Any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company can’t cancel your Medigap policy as long as you pay the premium.
- Although some Medigap policies sold in the past cover prescription drugs, Medigap policies sold aft er January 1, 2006, are not allowed to include prescription drug coverage.
- If you want prescription drug coverage, you can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) offered by private companies approved by Medicare.
When to Enroll
A senior must be enrolled in part A and B of medicare before they can enroll in a Medicare supplemental plan. During the open enrollment period that begins within 6 months of turning 65 or enrolling in Medicare Part B at 65 or older, the insured may obtain a Medigap plan on a guaranteed issue basis (with no medical screening required).
Outside of open enrollment, the issuing insurance company may require medical screening and may obtain an attending physician’s statement if necessary. Medigap insurance is not compatible with other forms of private Medicare coverage, such as a Medicare Advantage plan.
What Medigap Doesn’t Cover
Medigap policies do not cover long-term care such as nursing home care, vision, or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and private-duty nursing.