MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS
Bridging the coverage gap
A Medicare Supplement plan helps cover the “gaps” in coverage left unpaid after Original Medicare pays its portion of your healthcare expenses. That’s why these plans are often referred to as “Medigap plans.”
Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, which are an alternative to Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement plans are purchased in addition to your Original Medicare benefits. Medicare Supplement plans give you the freedom to choose any healthcare provider, even if you’re traveling. Plus, you have the option to enroll in a prescription drug plan, as well.
We offer a range of Medicare Supplement plans from major carriers, from basic benefits to the most complete coverage money can buy. Your premium may vary based upon the plan you choose, your age group, your gender and where you live.
Understanding Medicare Supplement Plans
Making an informed decision
It’s smart to study the basics on Medicare Supplement insurance – also known as “Medigap” plans – before you decide which plan is best for you.
What do I need to know about Medicare Supplement plans?
They’re the same as Medigap Plans – The names “Medicare Supplement” and “Medigap” refer to the same kind of policy, so the terms are interchangeable.
You’re still in the Medicare program – When you purchase Medicare Supplement insurance, you don’t replace or cancel your Original Medicare membership. You have all your Medicare rights and protections.
Plans are standardized – By law, the benefits from plan to plan are the same from every insurance company – so a Plan C from one company has the same medical coverage as a Plan C from any other. The difference is in the extra services and programs a company makes available to its members, the quality of service, and the price.
Is prescription drug coverage included?
Medicare Supplement insurance plans sold after 2006 don’t include coverage for prescription drugs. However, one of the extra services available with our carriers’ Medicare Supplement plans is a discount program for prescription drugs. And, of course, you can always consider a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
When is the best time to buy a
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan?
The best time to buy is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period lasts for six months. It starts on the first day of the month in which you are:
Age 65 or older and,
Enrolled in Medicare Part B
Once your six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period starts, it can’t be changed. However, in some situations, you have the right to buy a Medigap policy outside of your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. In some states these plans may be available to those under age 65.
Note: You can send your application for Medicare Supplement insurance before your Medigap Open Enrollment Period starts. If you have coverage that will end when you turn age 65, sending your application before open enrollment allows you to have continuous coverage without any breaks.
What are the requirements for
Medicare Supplement plan eligibility?
You can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan insurance policy if you are:
A resident of a state where the policy is offered
Enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B
Age 65 or over or, in some states, under age 65 with a disability and/or end stage renal disease (plan offerings and eligibility vary by state).
Plus, you may qualify for guaranteed acceptance into a Medicare Supplement plan, regardless of your medical history, if you meet certain enrollment criteria such as enrolling during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. Rules in some states may vary.
Determine How Much Coverage You Need
There are a number of factors to consider before deciding on the right plan for you, including the cost of the various plans, and your present and future healthcare needs. It is best to compare the benefits of each plan. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Can you afford to pay the 2008 Medicare Part A hospital deductible of $1,024 each time you are hospitalized?
Are you willing to pay extra premiums for coverage such as preventive care or foreign travel emergency care?
Is home-care coverage a priority for you?
Are you willing to assume the cost of paying excess charges should you see a doctor who does not take assignment?
Let us do the work for you! We can help you
research the companies offering the plan you want.
Since all Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, the only difference in the coverage is the company behind it. There are several factors you should consider about an insurance company before you purchase a product.
Premiums – Premiums can vary tremendously from company to company. Don’t just look at current pricing. See how the rates are calculated, whether they are based on your age at policy issue (issue age) or whether they will increase each year with your age change (attained age).
Service – How the policy is serviced should be a big consideration when choosing a company. Is it serviced by a personal Agent or by a Home Office 800 number? Does the company offer an automatic claims filing service so you don’t have to worry about missed claims? Does the company offer any other services, such as a prescription drug discount card?
Ratings – A company’s industry ratings from companies like A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s can be a strong indication of its financial strength and reliability.
Choice – Is it important to you to be able to choose your own doctors and hospitals? If so, you may prefer a private insurer rather than an HMO for your supplemental insurance.
Ready to explore your options? We can help you sort through plans, assess your Medicare Supplement needs and provide a free quote.
Though we are pleased to assit with your Medicare Supplement needs, McKnight & McKnight Insurance Solutions is not connected to or endorsed by the U.S. government, federal Medicare program, Social Security or any other government agency. Click here to see the US Department of Health and Human Service’s information on the Medicare program.