Original Medicare coverage helps with certain medical costs, but it doesn’t cover all of the service and supply fees. Both Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare) come with out-of-pocket costs that are the responsibility of the plan holder to pay, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap) sold by private insurers work to fill in these gaps, covering a portion of the expenses not included by Original Medicare.
Healthcare costs naturally become more expensive as we age, and this makes finding the right kind of coverage all the more important. Adding a Medicare Supplement plan can be a sure-fire way of saving money on medical bills.
The benefits of Medigap plans are undeniable, but sorting through the many options is a daunting task.
In 2021, Medicare enrollees should expect some changes to Medicare Supplement plans. Here is an easy to follow guide for your 2021 Medicare Supplement plans.
As of January 1, 2020, Medigap plans sold to new people with Medicare aren’t allowed to cover the Part B deductible. Because of this, Plans C and F are not available to people new to Medicare starting on January 1, 2020. If you already have either of these 2 plans (or the high deductible version of Plan F) or are covered by one of these plans before January 1, 2020, you’ll be able to keep your plan. If you were eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020, but not yet enrolled, you may be able to buy one of these plans.
* Plans F and G also offer a high-deductible plan in some states. With this option, you must pay for Medicare-covered costs (coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles) up to the deductible amount of $2,340 in 2020 before your policy pays anything. (Plans C and F aren’t available to people who are newly eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.)
** For Plans K and L, after you meet your out-of-pocket yearly limit and your yearly Part B deductible ($198 in 2020), the Medigap plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
*** Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in inpatient admission.
Over 13 million Americans are enrolled in Medigap plans, and the number continues to increase every year. By familiarizing yourself with the most popular Medicare Supplement plans, you improve the chances of finding the best coverage for you.
Medicare Supplement Plan F has long been considered one of the most popular plans of the 10 available, namely due to its comprehensive coverage that includes Part B deductible.
The wide coverage has meant it has been particularly popular with beneficiaries who incur significant out-of-pocket costs in Original Medicare. As you would expect, this extensive coverage comes with more expensive coverage.
However, in 2020, Plan F was made unavailable to new Medicare enrollees. Plan F is now only available to a closed pool of people who enrolled in Plan F before January 1, 2020.
Medicare Supplement Plan G is almost identical to Medicare Supplement Plan F but doesn’t cover the Medicare Part B deductible. For new Medicare enrollees unable to receive Plan F, Plan G is a suitable alternative.
What sets Medicare Supplement Plan G apart from other plans is that it covers Part B excess charges. Excess charges are the additional expenses that must be paid for health care that goes beyond what Original Medicare covers.
Medicare Supplement Plan N is the most affordable of the top three. If you are searching for a Medigap plan with a low monthly premium and don’t mind small copayments and excess charges, Plan N is a solid option.
Medigap Plan N covers all Medicare Part B coinsurance costs, while you pay your part B deductible, excess charges, and some copays for doctor and emergency visits ($20 for office visits and up to $50 for emergency room visits).
To apply for a Medicare Supplement plan, you must first be enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).
Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan during the initial Medigap Open Enrollment Period. The Medigap Open Enrollment Period is a 6-month window that begins when you enroll in Medicare Part B. During this time-frame, insurance companies must sell policies at the best possible rate and cannot decline coverage based on pre-existing health conditions.
If you apply after your 6-month window, you fall outside of the protected enrollment period. Subsequently, insurers can refuse to sell you plans or impose an inflated premium based on your health conditions.
As you would expect, the cost of a Medigap plan varies due to several factors, including the type of plan you enroll in, your location, and the insurance company. This makes it particularly difficult to offer an accurate cost estimate of a Medicare Supplement plan without knowing your personal credentials.
When the time comes to enroll, it is important to be aware of your insurer’s pricing method, as this could dictate any future changes. There are three ways in which an insurer can price policies:
If you would like to enroll in a Medigap plan, it’s important to compare multiple policies that are offered in your area. This can help you to determine how premiums are set and how much you can expect to pay per month.
It is entirely possible for you to change your Medicare Supplement Plan. Whether you want to cancel coverage altogether or switch to a different plan type, you can do so by applying for your desired new Medigap policy.
If you are accepted, call your current insurance company, and ask to end your coverage. Once your new Medigap coverage begins, you have a 30-day window to decide whether you want to keep the new policy.
Similarly, it is possible to drop your Medigap policy and join a Medicare Advantage plan during the Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.
Unlike other Medicare coverage, Medicare Supplement plans don’t cover any health benefits. Instead, these plans cover the costs you’re responsible for with Original Medicare.
Medicare Supplement plans cover costs such as:
The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. During this window, you will get better prices and a wider choice among policies. Even if you have existing health conditions, insurers cannot refuse coverage or charge you a higher premium.
After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medigap policy. If you’re able to buy one, it may cost more due to past or present health problems.
If you apply for Medigap coverage after your open enrollment period, there’s no guarantee that an insurance company will sell you a Medigap policy if you don’t meet the medical underwriting requirements.
The cost of a Medicare Supplement plan is based on several factors, including the type of plan you enroll in, your location, and the insurance company. For that reason, monthly premiums can cost anywhere between $50 and $400, depending on your credentials and coverage needs.
For an accurate estimate of Medicare Supplement plans in your area, use our free quote tool. Simply enter your zip code, and browse dozens of Medigap plans in your area. If you would like more information about Medicare Supplement plans and your options, speak to one of our licensed agents today at 1-844-236-0228.