What is a Medicare Supplement or Medigap?
Medicare Supplement plans are also called Medigap insurance. Like Part C and Part D plans, Medigap plans are only available through private insurers that have a contract with Medicare. Medicare Supplement plans in Washington help to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses left from Original Medicare such as emergency travel costs, copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance.
What do Medigap Plans Cover?
If you enroll in a WA Medigap plan, Medicare Part A and Part B will cover the approved expenses first while the supplement plan will cover some to all of the remaining out-of-pocket costs. Before you can enroll in a Medigap plan, you must be enrolled in Original Medicare.
There are ten standardized Medigap plans labeled from Plan A to N. Medicare does not mandate all insurance companies to offer all the Medigap plans, if they sell Medigap insurance, the insurer must offer Plan A and Plan C or Plan F. These plans are standardized by the federal government so each letter offers the same coverage. The amount of coverage depends on the letter you choose.
Medicare Supplement plans in Washington only serve as supplemental insurance to Medicare Part A and Part B. Also, they do not offer joint coverage to couples or dependents.
What are the most popular Medigap Plans in Washington?
Plan F and Plan G are the 2 most popular supplement plans. Plan F is only available to those who turned 65 prior to January 1, 2020. Plan F is the most comprehensive letter. F covers deductibles, coinsurance and copays.
Plan G is the next most popular plan in Washington. Plan G is very similar to Plan F except you will have to pay your Part B deductible every year. With this change the premium for the plan can be much more affordable than a plan F. Call McGregor Benefits for help comparing Plan F and Plan G.
How to use a Medicare Supplement Plan
When you are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan you can see any doctor in the nation who takes Medicare. This makes it a great option for those who travel or are snowbirds. Medicare does not require any referrals to see specialists. When you go to your provider you will show both your Medicare card and your Medicare Supplement card. The provider will send the claim to Medicare and then to your Medigap plan.
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All you pay for is the premiums, which are the same with or without our help.
Medigap Plan Comparison Chart
|Medigap Benefits||Medigap Plans|
|Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up|
|Part B coinsurance or copayment||50%||75%|
|Blood (first 3 pints)||50%||75%|
|Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment||50%||75%|
|Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance||50%||75%|
|Part A deductible||50%||75%||50%|
|Part B deductible|
|Foreign travel exchange (up to plan limits)||80%||80%||80%||80%||80%||80%|
|Out-of-pocket limit||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||$6620 in 2022||$3310 in 2022||N/A||N/A|
When can I enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan in WA State
You become qualified to enroll in Medicare Supplement after applying for Original Medicare during the Initial Enrollment Period. The Initial Enrollment Period for Original Medicare starts three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after your 65th birthday. During this period (Medigap Initial Enrollment Period), you have a guaranteed right to purchase a Supplement plan.
This means the insurance provider cannot reject your application based on health grounds if you qualify for the plan. If you choose to delay enrollment, the insurance company may reject your application for a Supplement plan due to certain reasons.
If you are enrolled in a Medigap plan you can change your plan to a different carrier or letter at any time. Washington State has a law that allows you to switch your Medigap plan guaranteed issue at any time. If you are enrolled in Medigap plans B-N you can switch to any other carrier’s plans B-N. You can even change your Medigap letter. Those enrolled in Medigap Plan A can only switch to any other Medigap A. You do not need to wait for the Annual Election Period in the fall to make this change.
What is the best Medicare Supplement Insurance carrier in Washington?
The best carrier for a Medigap plan in WA requires research. We have proprietary software that allows us to compare premiums, historic rate increases and financial ratings.
What do MedSupp Plans cost?
Though all Supplement plans provide the same basic benefits, the cost of each plan depends on the insurance company and other factors. Insurance companies have three ways of fixing the cost of Medigap insurance. The methods include issue-age systems, community rated systems, and attained-age related.
In issue-age systems, the Medigap premium and associated costs are determined by the enrollee’s age when they enrolled for the Supplement plan. Younger enrollees will pay less than older enrollees though the cost of the plan might increase due to inflation.
In community rated systems, the premium and associated costs are the same for all beneficiaries. In attained-age systems, the cost of the Medigap plan increases with age. Younger enrollees will pay less though the price will increase as they get older.
Some Medigap carriers offer spousal or household discounts. If a couple both enroll in a plan with the same insurance company they can get a premium discount.
Choosing a Medigap Insurance Plan in WA
When you are deciding which Medigap plan to choose you should consider your health, international travel needs and budget. Some Med Supp plans are going to offer richer benefits with a higher premium. Some offer lower benefits with a lower premium. Other Medigap plans offer some coverage out to the country. Our Independent Medicare insurance agents can help analyze your needs to help you find the correct plan.
What providers accept Medigap plans?
Medicare supplements are accepted by any doctor or hospital in the U.S that accepts Medicare insurance. These plans are great if you travel a lot in the states or split your time between houses. Some MedSupp letters also include some coverage abroad.
Why Use a Medicare Supplement Broker?
Medicare plans and policies are complicated. In fact, many people have not made a health insurance decision before they get to Medicare. The plan that works for your friend or family member may not be the right plan for you. Our agents can help you analyze all your options to find one that fits into your budget and health needs. There is no fee for our help!