A Brief Overview of Medicare Supplement Plans

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Have you been making frequent trips to the doctor or the hospital? In case you are doing so, you might be aware that Medicare Part A and Part B might entail some cost on behalf of the user. In such cases, the users who have Medicare supplement plans, they will be able to save money. The 47 states in the US offer 10 standardized Medicare supplement plans which get denoted by letter A to N. It must be noted here that private insurance companies which offer these plans do not offer every Medicare supplement plans available but will necessarily at least offer plan A.

Whenever any insurance company chooses to give Medicare supplement plans in addition to Plan A, it must offer Plan C or Plan F.

Medicare supplement plans coverage
Different level of coverage is offered by each of the Medicare supplement plans. However, certain standardized benefits must be available regardless of the insurance provider and their location. The Medicare supplement plans inclusive of Plan G should offer the same benefits in Alaska as the Plan G that is being offered in Florida.

However, for people living in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, the Medicare supplement plans will be different from those applicable in other parts of the country. However, it should be noted that Medicare supplement plans do not need to cover dental, vision, long-term care issues, and hearing aid problems but must cover some of the basic benefits.
– After the Medicare benefits get exhausted, the Medicare Part A coinsurance costs up to an additional of 365 days.
– Medicare Part A must cover hospice care.
– The first three pints of blood which might be used in case of a medical procedure would also be covered.

Plan costs of Medicare supplements
Though private insurance companies, as a rule, are required to offer same benefits for each of the lettered plans, they can charge a higher amount of premium for this service or coverage. Any user might think of looking around for Medicare supplement plans which might fit their financial and medical needs. The insurance companies, therefore, price the plan premium in any of the following ways.
Community (no age rating): The Medicare supplement plans in this category charge premiums which might be same across the board and age has no relation with the same.

Issue (age rated): The premiums in these plans are based on the age at the time of enrollment in the policy. If a person enrolls in any of these plans at a younger age, the chances of their drawing benefits from the same are more in comparison to the situation when enrollment in these policies is done at a later age.

Attained (age rated): The premium in these plans is also based on the age when the policy was purchased; however, the premium in these policies increases with the age of the person.

Guaranteed (issue rights): In some situations, a person is eligible for enrollment in Medicare supplement plans with guarantee issues. This is possible when the Medigap insurance company goes bankrupt or misleads the users. It is also applicable in cases when the Medigap coverage ends even if the person enrolling for the policy is at no fault. It is also applicable in cases when a person has enrolled in an employer-sponsored group plan and the employer coverage has ended due to some reason.

However, the person who purchases any of these insurance policies should keep in mind that, irrespective of the rating method any company uses, the premiums might increase multifold over a period and other factors like inflation besides age also make an impact on it.

Enrollment and eligibility for Medicare supplement
If a person wants to be eligible for enrollment in the Medicare supplement plan, the person should be enrolled in both of Medicare Part A and Part B. The best time to enroll for a plan is generally during the Medigap open enrollment period. This period begins on the first day of the month when the person reaches an age of 65 or older. They must be enrolled in Part B for a minimum period of 6 months. In this period, the person has the guaranteed issue right to join Medicare supplement plan in the area where they might be living.

The coverage cannot be denied based on any of the pre-existing conditions during the enrollment period, though a waiting period might be applicable. However, if the person misses this enrollment period and wants to enroll in the future, the coverage might be denied or a higher amount of premium might be charged based on the medical history of the person. Some states in the US also allow a person to enroll in any of the Medigap plans before they attain the age of 65.

It should, however, be noted that Medicare supplement insurance plans are not endorsed or connected to the US Government in any form.

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