Medicare Supplement Table of Contents
- Why Is A Medicare Supplement Necessary?
- Who Is Eligible For A Medicare Supplement?
- When Can I Buy A Medicare Supplement?
- How Do I Get A Medicare Supplement?
- Where Do I Buy A Medicare Supplement?
You Are At Risk With Original Medicare!
That’s not hype, it’s a fact. Your Original Medicare benefits offer basic health care coverage. For most seniors it takes care of about 80 percent of all medical bills. If you have a disability, it may pay even less. For the remaining 20-plus percent you are required to pay the bills out of your own pocket (unless you have Medicaid or VA benefits). This is why supplemental Medicare insurance is critical.
Without supplemental Medicare insurance, an illness, injury, even a couple day stay in the hospital can cost you thousands of dollars. If you have a critical illness it could end up costing you your house, your life savings, or both. No matter what, unless you are already poor, the Government will not give you additional assistance to help pay your medical bills. This is why buying additional coverage is so important. A Medicare supplement policy pays the portion of your medical bills that Medicare does not cover (the “twenty percent”).
All Medicare supplement policies (also called “Medigap”) supplement traditional Medicare coverage (Parts A and B). To purchase a Medigap policy you must qualify for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Age is the primary qualifying factor, however, there are also compatibility issues with other types of Medicare insurance. For instance, you cannot be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and purchase supplemental Medicare coverage. These plans are not compatible.
The best time to purchase a Medicare supplement policy (Medigap plan) is during your individual enrollment period (IEP). During this critical period you cannot be denied supplemental health insurance for any reason (you have “guaranteed issue rights”). Your IEP is a six month window that begins the first day of the month in which you are 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. So if you turn 65 on January 3rd but do not enroll in Medicare Part B until February 25th, your IEP will begin on March 1st, which is the first day in which you are age 65 and enrolled in Part B. Insurance companies use medical underwriting formulas to decide if they will accept your application and how much they need to charge to cover their risk. However, while you have guaranteed issue rights, health insurance providers cannot turn you away or charge more than the Medicare approved rate.
Medicare supplements are insurance policies purchased through insurance carriers licensed in your state. The first step is to shop policies available in your state. The good news is that Medigap plans are standardized using a letter system (A through N). This way a Plan A or Plan F sold by one company is exactly the same as another. The only difference is the price. As a result, it pays to shop around and review your plan annually to make sure you’re still paying a competitive rate.
You can purchase a Medicare supplement policy directly from the insurance carrier or through a Medicare insurance agent licensed to sell policies in your state. We recommend using an independent agent because they can help you evaluate policies from multiple carriers. Look-up agents in your state by entering your zip code below.
Still Have Questions About Medicare Supplement Insurance?
Read our complete Medicare Supplement Guide or talk to your local agent.