If you’re wondering “What’s the best Medicare Supplement plan?”- first be aware that there is no “best” plan for everyone. To find a plan that may work for your needs, consider what type of benefits the various plans cover.
Up to 10 Medicare Supplement plans are sold in most states. The plans are standardized, and plan names are labeled A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. (Medicare Supplement Plans A and B should not be confused with Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.) All plans, A-N, cover Medicare Part A hospital coinsurance (up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are used) at 100%.
Five other benefits that some Medicare Supplement plans may cover are:
• Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
• Part A deductible
• Part B deductible
• Part B excess charges
• Foreign travel emergencies
The next factor in determining the best Medicare Supplement plan for you is cost. Keep in mind that different insurance companies may charge different premiums for the same policy. Medicare Supplement policies are rated or priced in 3 ways.
• The first way, “community-rated,” does not depend on age. People of different ages and gender pay the same premium. Premiums may go up because of inflation and other factors but not because of your age.
• The second way, “issue-age-rated,” sets the rate depending on the age of the person when he or she purchases the policy. Premiums may go up because of inflation and other factors but not because of your age.
• The third way, “attained-age-rated,” sets a premium at your current age and continues to go up as you get older. Premiums may also go up because of inflation and other factors.
Other factors may influence the price of the policy, such as if the health insurance company offers discounts to non-smokers or married people and if it uses medical underwriting. Medical underwriting could use a pre-existing health condition as a basis for charging a higher premium.Once you understand your eligibility, what benefits you want covered, and pricing differences, you will be able to determine what the best Medicare Supplement plan is for you.
Medicare Supplement plan coverage
Each Medicare Supplement plan offers a different level of coverage, but each lettered plan must include the same standardized benefits regardless of insurance company and location. For example, Medicare Supplement Plan G in Florida includes the same benefits as Plan G in North Dakota. Please note that if you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, your Medicare Supplement insurance options are different than in the rest of the country. Medicare Supplement plans do not have to cover vision, dental, long-term care, or hearing aids, but all plans must cover at least a portion of the following basic benefits:
• Medicare Part A coinsurance costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted
• Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayments
• Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments
• First three pints of blood used in a medical procedure
Some plans include additional coverage. For example, Medicare Supplement Plan F, the most comprehensive standardized Medigap plan, carries the following additional benefits:
• Medicare Part A deductible
• Medicare Part B deductible
• Part B excess charges
• Part B preventive care coinsurance
• Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) care coinsurance
• Foreign travel emergency care (80% of Medicare-approved costs, up to plan limits)
Some plans may include additional innovative benefits.
Medicare Supplement plan enrollment and eligibility
To be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. A good time to enroll in a plan is generally during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which begins on the first day of the month that you are both age 65 or older and enrolled in Part B, and lasts for six months. During this period, you have the guaranteed-issue right to join any Medicare Supplement plan available where you live. You may not be denied coverage based on any pre-existing conditions during this enrollment period (although a waiting period may apply). If you miss this enrollment period and attempt to enroll in the future, you may be denied coverage or charged a higher premium based on your medical history. In some states, you may be able to enroll in a Medigap plan before the age of 65.
This website and its contents are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.
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