A Medicare Supplement, also referred to as a Medigap plan, is a great way to cover the cost associated with your healthcare. A Medicare Supplement Insurance policy will help cover the costs that Original Medicare does not cover. Remember, Original Medicare covers Hospital Part A and Medical Part B. And while having Original Medicare is great, there are many things that it does not cover. A Medicare Supplement is meant to supplement the costs that are covered by Original Medicare, and pick up the other portion that is not covered. Many don’t realize it, but you can save a lot of money on your Medicare plan, by shopping it through different Medicare Supplement insurance carriers. Read on to learn precisely how you can benefit from shopping carriers on your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan!
You do not have to wait for AEP to enroll or change your Medigap plan
It is widely thought that your Medicare Supplement can only be enrolled in or changed around the annual election period (AEP) starting in October. One of the biggest perks of having a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is that you can switch plans at any point throughout the year. The annual election period (AEP), is a time period established, to let Medicare beneficiaries make specific changes to Medicare Part D (the prescription drug plan) or a Medicare Advantage Plan, for the upcoming year.
Discounts are not available in October when AEP Starts
Perhaps some people think they will get a better deal by waiting until October when the annual election period starts. This is not the case. Medicare Supplement Insurance companies do not lower premiums, or give any discounts during this period. Medicare Supplement insurance carriers have to file rate filings with the Department of Insurance, for the state they want to do business in, and these rates are locked in. Once that rate is approved by the Department of Insurance in the state filed, their rates typically stay in effect for at least a year. Normally the rate issued to the customer is based on the age of the individual applying for coverage. Shopping a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan will be a benefit to the insured, and if there is a company that is offering the plan they desire, at a lower rate, the insured can lock in that rate. One can also choose a different plan than they currently have, which can save them money on coverage terms and premiums, or both.
Signing up for a Medicare Supplement during Open Enrollment and Guaranteed Issue periods, and the issue of Medicare Part D, Dental, Vision, and Hearing Coverage’s
A person who is initially enrolling in Medicare, has a few options when enrolling. The options can vary by personal preference, and can also be situational. Choosing the right coverage is a challenge, as there are so many factors involved. Health, financial capability, and preference can all be factors in choosing a Medicare secondary plan.
While keeping in mind the rules of Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, we at Healthcare American will always advise to never be without coverage for more than 63 days. The penalty a Medicare enrolled individual is required to pay for not having a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan for more than 63 days, will be based on the length of time not enrolled in a Part D plan. This penalty is assessed based on how many months the individual did not obtain the coverage. The penalty is assessed for individuals not enrolled in a Part D plan or a plan that Medicare considers credible insurance coverage, and is assessed based on if a person entitled to Original Medicare did not obtain Part D coverage after this 63 day period.
You also have to make the choice of enrolling in a Medicare Supplement, or choose a Medicare Advantage plan. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage included in the plan, but a Medicare Supplement does not.
If choosing a Medicare Supplement, keep in mind that during your Open Enrollment, which is from the month you are eligible for Original Medicare at 65, until the sixth month after your eligibility, you have an open enrollment into any Medicare Supplement plan. This means that any pre existing medical condition is not taken into account during this period, and the Medicare Supplement plan you choose is required to accept your application. Remember that Medicare Supplements do not offer Part D coverage, nor do they offer dental, vision, and hearing benefits unless the procedure is based on a medical condition that would be covered under Original Medicare. If choosing coverage through a Medicare Supplement, these other coverage’s will need to be purchased separately.
A person may also have a guaranteed issue period to enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan based on specific guidelines. One specific situation that can entitle an individual or a couple to this type of period, is if they had coverage through an employer group health plan, and because of this, were not required to obtain Original Medicare. When the individual or couple loses this coverage based on termination of employment, they are also given an opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan without pre existing conditions being a factor. There are other additional scenarios that do entitle a person to a Guaranteed Issue period, but they are rare. Give us a call to find out more about Guaranteed Issue periods.
Shopping Medicare Supplement Insurance
Any time after the open enrollment and guaranteed issue periods, a person can shop a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan. Keep in mind though that the health of the individual applying for the coverage will be taken into consideration by the insurance company. The insurance company will have the option of approving or denying coverage to the individual based on the health of the applicant. A person that has serious health conditions will probably not be offered coverage with a Medicare Supplement. We at Healthcare American can help you understand what health conditions will be looked at in the application process. We also know what companies might be okay to accept a health condition that another company might not consider.
October through December is a Hectic Time for Insurance Companies
Insurance companies want your business, and they’ll take it happily from October through December. However, they are busy with Medicare business because of AEP. For Medicare beneficiaries who happen to have Medicare Advantage plans, this is their annual chance to make a change for the next year. Also, lots of people are changing their Part D plans during this time as well. This puts plenty of stress on the insurance companies. Some carriers handle the extra workload seamlessly, while others take their time to process applications. If you would like to replace your Medicare Supplement plan and want an effective date for the first day of the next month, timing is key. Your Supplement application has to be approved within the medical underwriting department. An insurance agent or broker that specializes in Medicare Supplement insurance should know how to guide you, like someone from Healthcare American!
Independent Insurance Agents Know the Market
Independent insurance agents know their stuff when it comes to the Medicare Supplement market. Why is that? Insurance agents are not employees of the insurance company, but rather represent all of the different insurance carriers. We work for you, that is our main priority. This means that we are always looking for companies that will benefit our clients in positive ways. We know that one size does not fit all, and that each individual is unique with their own particular health qualifications, which benefits they desire, financial capabilities, etc.
Independent Healthcare Insurance Brokers You Can Trust
Healthcare American is an independent insurance broker that you can trust with all of your personalized retirement planning needs. We provide customers with healthcare, life insurance, and retirement plans, tailored to their personal needs and individualized situations! We will provide the best plans and tailor made retirement plans to those living in the Baltimore, Washington DC, Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania areas!
For more information and a free online quote, visit our website, send us an email, or give us a call at (443) 537-0555.
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