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Compare Medicare Supplement Insurance Rates

The breakdown of Medicare costs can be overwhelming and daunting at first glance, and their high prices may prompt an inquiry into a Medicare supplement insurance plan, which can be just as confusing for some. Below is an outline of what medical supplement insurance is and the many advantages of having it.

What Is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Medicare Supplement Insurance or Medigap policy is insurance sold privately that can be used to assist with health care costs not currently covered by the original Medicare. This can include deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

Some Medigap policies are useful for other services not covered by Medicare, such as medical insurance when you’re traveling abroad.

How Does It Work?

Those who are covered under the original Medicare can buy a Medigap policy to assist with payment of Medicare-approved health care costs. In this instance, Medicare is responsible for its share of legible expenses, and Medigap covers its share.

An important distinction to know is that Medigap policies differ from Medicare Advantage Plans. While Medicare Advantage Plans are used as an alternate source to get Medicare benefits, Medigap can only supplement your primary stated benefits as offered by Medicare.

Key Considerations for Medigap

There are ten Medigap main benefit plans to choose from depending on your needs, and depending on the company offering the plan, they may be offering the same plan as another company for a reduced or increased price. Whichever Medigap policy is used must be identified very clearly as a Medicare Supplement Insurance option for it to be considered valid.

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are only available to those with pre-existing Medicare coverage and can assist with things like hospital insurance (via Medicare Part A) and medical insurance (via Medicare Part B), but it does not support Prescription Drug Plans, private health insurance, TRICARE, Veterans’ Administration benefits or Medicaid.

These policies are regulated by both state and federal law with the main differences being the price, the company insuring, and which options they offer. Since these can vary quite massively, it’s preferential that one does their due diligence and shops for the most affordable care.

Some states offer a different kind of plan called Medicare Select which specify doctors and hospitals that can be used in conjunction. Some of these states include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Texas.

What is Open Enrollment?

Medigap Open Enrollment commences on the first day of the month of one’s 65th birthday and is covered under Medicare Part B. From this time, those interested in Medigap have six months to enroll. Some states may offer open enrollment period for those under 65, so it’s best to check in with the Social Security Administration for all available coverage and enrollment options.

Insurance companies cannot refuse the sale of a Medigap policy to those who enroll during the six-month open enrollment period, nor can they charge a premium for preexisting health concerns or stall the commencement of basic benefit coverage.

If the Medicare Insurance Plan that chosen does not cover out-of-pocket expenses, then Original Medicare can be used as a backup to bridge that gap.

For those that enroll in their Medicare supplement insurance plan before or after their Medigap open enrollment period, their private insurance company is within their rights to subject the user to a physical checkup and can adjust the premium on your policy or even refuse the sale of the plan and policy altogether. This process is referred to as underwriting the plan and is of vital consideration when exploring Medigap options outside of the open enrollment period.

Essential Considerations with Medicare Advantage Plans

For those that decide to enroll in a Medical Advantage plan, it’s important to note that this makes one unable to be sold a Medigap policy. With that being said, if one decided to return to original Medicare coverage and it’s still within the first year of signing on to a Medicare Advantage Plan.

How Are Premiums Set and Determined?

There are three different ways that insurance companies can set their premium rates including Community-rated-rates, issue-age-related rates, and attained-age-rated rates.

Community-rated premiums are also referred to as no-age-rated, as they are the same premium for all users regardless of their age.

Issue-age-rated premiums are interchangeably referred to as entry-age-rated which means that the premium set for a user is determined based on their age at the time of enrollment. Generally speaking, the sooner one enrolls, the cheaper their premium will be.

Attained-age-rated premiums are a little different in that they are based on the age of the user at the time of enrollment, but they will increase as they age.

There are many other factors that determine the premium rate of a Medigap policy. Some of these factors include one’s geography, inflation, or medical underwriting as mentioned above. The only way to honestly know what one’s premium will set to is to get in contact with all the available health care insurers and ask them how they determine their premium rates.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Policies

A pre-existing condition is any condition that was already known of or occurring before the start of a new policy. Health care insurers may put a limit on the kind of policy they are willing to offer based on these conditions and may exclude coverage entirely depending on their findings. These exclusions and limitations also vary with each plan, so shopping around for the right policy fit is very important.