A Medigap policy, also known as a Medicare supplement, is designed to supplement the medical coverage provided through the Medicare program. Since Medigap policies vary greatly in cost and coverage, it’s important to find a policy that meets your specific needs.
Do I Need a Medigap Policy?
The first thing to ask yourself is if you need a Medigap policy? As mentioned above, these are policies designed to supplement Medicare Part A or B. Medigap essentially fills in the gaps left by medical expenses not covered by Medicare.
If you’ve ever used your standard Medicare, then you’re already aware that you’re responsible for coinsurance, co-payments, and deductibles and that there are some services not covered under Medicare. A Medigap policy can be very beneficial for those wanting to have more health care services and benefits available to them and lower their out-of-pocket medical expenses.
What are the Medigap Options?
There are eleven standardized Medigap plan types available, each featuring different benefits. These are labeled A through N. So, when considering a Medigap plan, it’s important to understand exactly how original Medicare isn’t meeting your current and future coverage needs to know what plan best suits you. Compared to Medigap K and L plans, there will be more extensive coverage and benefits with A through G plans. However, they also cost more. One other consideration is that newly purchased Medigap policies can’t contain prescription drug coverage.
You can obtain a Medigap policy through a private insurance carrier. These plans are standardized nationwide, meaning that you’ll receive the same plan-specific benefits no matter what carrier sells the policy to you. What does differ from carrier to carrier is the price of the various Medigap plans. In other words, you’ll receive the very same benefits and coverage regardless of the carrier, but you might pay more for it at one carrier verses another. There are many reasons behind the cost variations, including any of the following:
* There might be a discount eligibility from the carrier, such as for non-smokers or groups.
* The policy might be sold as Medicare SELECT, which requires you to use certain providers to receive full benefits.
* Standardized Medigap F plans has a high-deductible option, which reduces premiums in exchange for you paying an upfront and higher deductible.
* The insurance carrier can set their premiums based on the attained-age rating, which is when the premium rate increases annually as you age; the issue-age rating, which is when the premium rate is based on how old you are at the time the policy is purchased; or the community rating, which doesn’t factor age into the premium price at all.
* Underwriting issues may also affect the price. If you apply during your Medigap open enrollment period, which is the six month window that starts the month that you enroll in Medicare Part B and are at least age 65, then the carrier can’t apply individualized underwriting. This is also true during guaranteed-issue time periods that have been set aside by state or federal law.
The best way to find the right Medigap policy at the right price is through comparison shopping. Remember that there are standardized types of plans (A through N) and to make sure that you’re comparing the same plan(s) from carrier to carrier. Pay close attention to how the premium is set and the specific factors that influence the price. Also, keep in mind that not all insurance carriers will offer all eleven standardized Medigap policy types. Your insurance agent at 352-508-4221, carriers all the plan letters available.