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What Are Medicare Supplements or Medigap Plans?
Medicare supplements have been around for many years, and have seen their share of changes. Medicare supplements are also called Medigap plans as well. You can use these terms interchangeably.
Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies and are designed to fill in the gaps that Medicare coverage has. These gaps can leave you with a huge hospital bill if you don’t protect yourself with the right Medicare supplement.
One of the biggest gaps left by Medicare is the 20% that it does not cover. Unlike traditional health insurance, Medicare has no MOOP or Maximum Out of Pocket. This means that there is really no limit to what you could be charged in a year.
In addition, Medicare has an extensive hospital deductible as well as some expensive skilled nursing care copays as well. Don’t worry though, because here you will be able to easily identify the right Medicare supplement for you.
How Do I Qualify For A Medigap Plan In 2015?
The primary qualification for joining a Medigap plan is that you have both Part A and Part B of Medicare. Another requirement is that you live in the state where you are joining the plan. For example, some insurance carriers only offer plans in a handful of states. You would not be able to go out of state to join a plan that is not offered where you live.
In addition, most insurance companies offering Medigap plans are going to require you to answer certain health questions when you apply. Notice I said most and not all. There is a national carrier that limits the health questions they ask making it easier to qualify for their coverage.
Can I Enroll Into A Medigap Plan Anytime In 2015 I Want?
Yes, Medicare supplements do not have a yearly enrollment period like Medicare Advantage Health plans have. This means that you may elect to enroll into one at any time during the year.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan you will not be able to drop it except during your annual Medicare Advantage period or during the Annual Disenrollment period. Note: you are not allowed to have both a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medicare Supplement.
Medigap Plans Do Have An Open Enrollment Period!
This is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a Medicare supplement over another type of Medicare insurance such as a Medicare Advantage plan. The reason is that the open enrollment period gives you a guaranteed issue right to your Medicare supplement of your choosing. During this time the insurance companies have to issue you a policy regardless of your health, and regardless of pre-existing conditions.
This is absolutely huge if you are in any kind of poor health, or have a condition that would normally disqualify you from the coverage. The open enrollment corresponds with your Part B election time period. This is normally when you turn 65, but can also be later if you are leaving a group insurance coverage. It is crucial to understand this when you do receive your Medicare Part B coverage so that you are able to take advantage of this special opportunity.