Medicare supplement plans are offered by private insurance companies and available to individuals who are eligible for Medicare. A Medicare supplement plan will help limit out-of-pocket medical expenses such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Medicare supplement plans are secondary to Original Medicare while Medicare Advantage Plans are primary to Original Medicare.
For Medigap Policies sold on or after June 1, 2010, there are 11 standardized plans labeled Plan A through Plan N. Each one of these standardized Medigap policies provide the same benefits to the individual.
Many of the Medigap plans can also offer additional benefits such as skilled nursing facility coinsurance and foreign travel emergency care.
Key Features of a Medicare Supplement Plan:
- Doctors Choice
Individuals can select their preferred doctors and hospitals, (so long as they accept Medicare patients)
Virtually no claim forms to file
- Guaranteed Renewals
Medicare supplement plans are automatically renewed, so long as individuals continue
to pay their premium on time, without misstating one or more material facts upon initial enrollment
- Access to Specialists
Individuals can see specialists without needing a referral
Coverage that travels with you anywhere in the U.S.
How do I get a Medicare Supplement Plan?
In order to get a Medicare Supplement Plan you must have Medicare A and B. You must continue to pay your monthly Part B premium in addition to your monthly Supplement plan premium.
You can obtain this plan during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which is the six-month period starting the first month you are 65 years or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this period, you cannot be denied coverage on account of a past or current health issue.
In some states such as New York, the law requires that private insurance companies who underwrite these Medigap insurane policies, must accept the enrollees application for coverage at any time throughout the year.
What Does a Supplement Plan Not Cover?
Any plan sold in 2006 or later does not include prescription drug coverage. Individuals will need to purchase a stand-alone Part D plan in addition to their supplement plan to get prescription drug coverage.
In addition, the core supplement plan will not cover things like: long term care, dental coverage, cosmetic surgery, vision care, eyeglasses, hearing aids and acupuncture.
However, some companies will offer optional supplemental benefits such as: fitness programs (also known as Gym Membership), dental and vision plans.