You might think that your 65th birthday is just another milestone for you to celebrate, but it is a significant landmark that denotes the start of your Medicare journey.
When you reach 65-years-old, you become eligible for Medicare, the nation’s largest health insurance program that helps senior Americans cover the increasing healthcare costs.
With the milestone birthday in your sights, it’s time to start your transition to the new healthcare coverage.
Medicare enrollment is simple, but there are many moving parts, and piecing together the different Medicare components can take time. But believe us, putting time into your research ensures you get the best package for your budget.
As a North Carolina resident, you benefit from having a flourishing Medicare market with an abundance of plans and insurers. The sooner you pick a plan, the sooner you can enjoy Medicare’s benefits.
Remember, you’ve been paying into your Medicare fund your entire working life – it’s time for you to reap the rewards.
Read on as our experts explore Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicare Advantage plans in North Carolina.
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) provides significant coverage, but it doesn’t cover everything. Medicare supplement plans are add-on plans that fill the gaps left by Original Medicare.
Medicare supplement plans (also known as Medigap plans) help cover some or all of the out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
In North Carolina, 63 insurers offer all ten standardized Medigap plans:
Each of the ten Medigap plans has its own set of specific benefits. You could select basic coverage like Plan A, or opt for a more comprehensive plan like Plan F. The three most common plans in North Carolina are the Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N.
If you are looking to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, the best time to do so is during your Open Enrollment Period – a six-month period that starts once your Medicare Part B is activated. In this period, insurance companies can’t deny you coverage or charge higher premiums based on current or past health problems.
Since the benefits are standardized (for example, Plan F has the same benefits regardless of insurer), you can select a plan based on premiums and other factors. Remember to consider the plan’s full cost, not just the monthly premium; a plan with low premiums can cost you more in out-of-pocket costs.
Start comparing Medigap plans available in your area today.
North Carolina requires Medigap insurers to offer Plan A and Plan F to individuals under-65.
However, because those under-65 have a health condition or injury, supplement plans can be quite expensive. Insurance companies charge higher premiums because they assume you will require more medical claims.
The higher premiums make Medicare Advantage plans a more affordable option for most Medicare beneficiaries under-65.
Medicare beneficiaries can choose to receive coverage from the federal government via Original Medicare or enroll in a private Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Advantage combines the benefits of Original Medicare and Medigap into a single plan. All Medicare Advantage plans in North Carolina have at least the same coverage as Original Medicare, plus Part D coverage and other healthcare services, such as dental and vision.
Each of North Carolina’s 100 counties has access to Medicare Advantage plans, but availability varies from county to county because they are sold through private insurers. In some North Carolina counties, there are four plans available, but in others, there are 29 to compare.
In North Carolina, beneficiaries can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during their initial enrollment period or the annual election period (runs annually between October 15 and December 7). During the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period (January 1 – March 31), enrollees can change or drop their coverage.
To be eligible for Medicare Advantage, you must be enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), live in the carrier’s service area, and not have end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Medicare Advantage plans are particularly popular in North Carolina, with around 35% of residents opting for the coverage.
When you come to compare North Carolina Medicare Advantage plans, premiums, copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles can vary dramatically from plan to plan. Likewise, the benefits and coverage vary, too. This makes it vitally important to compare every plan in your area.
Start comparing the Medicare Advantage plans in your zip code today.
North Carolina offers all ten Medigap plans: Plan A – Plan N, but the availability in your zip code depends on the carriers. If you live in a more secluded North Carolina county, your Medigap options might be more limited.
When you travel to another state, your Medigap plan travels with you! Should you need healthcare when you’re out of North Carolina, you use your Medigap coverage to visit any doctor or hospital that accepts Original Medicare.
Medicare Supplement plans do not cover prescriptions. If you require prescription coverage, you will need to enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan. There are close to 30 Part D plans in North Carolina, ranging from $15 to $100 per month.
If you have any questions about your North Carolina Medicare options, speak to one of our licensed agents. Our dedicated team will help find a Medicare plan that works for you. Call us today at 1-844-236-0228.