Medicare Supplement plans are primarily designed to offset some of the costs not covered by Medicare alone, and are considered secondary insurance. The plans are standarized, meaning that all benefits are uniform regardless of carrier. Premiums, however, will vary. You can see a description of the different Medicare Supplement plans and the coverage they offer at the Medicare.gov website by clicking here. Medicare Supplement plans do not require you to see doctors from any specific network, as long as the doctor you choose accepts Medicare. Medicare Supplement plans do not include prescription drug coverage, so they are typically paired with a Medicare Part D plan to cover medications.
What Types of Medicare Supplement Plans are there?
Medicare Supplement plans are standardized by federal and state laws, and in most states are assigned letters to differentiate between them. If you live in Masschusetts, Wisconsin, or Minnesota, Medicare Supplement plans are standardized in a different way specific to your state. In all states, one type of Medicare Supplement plan will offer the same benefits regardless of which insurance carrier provides the plan. For example, if you decide you want Medicare Supplement Plan F and are trying to decide between carriers, you can know that the benefits will be the same with any carrier that offers that plan in your area. Premiums and other terms will vary, but your benefits will be the same regardless of the carrier you choose. You can find more information about the different Medicare Supplement plans available and what they cover at Medicare.gov byclicking here.
I have a pre-existing or chronic condition. Are there Limitations in What Coverage I’ll be able to get?
In many situations, you are entitled to what are called guaranteed issue rights, meaning that carriers must sell you a Medicare Supplement plan and cannot limit coverage of pre-existing conditions or charge you more for your coverage than someone in better health. However, if you apply for a Medicare Supplement outside of when you have guaranteed issue rights, you may be subject to medical underwriting, and could be charged a higher premium or denied coverage due to your health. If a carrier chooses to issue you a Medicare Supplement plan when you don’t have guaranteed issue rights, and you have had six continuous months of medical insurance considered “creditable coverage”, they cannot deny you coverage for a pre-existing condition, or make you go through a waiting period. Otherwise, they can impose a waiting period of up to six months on coverage for pre-existing conditions. You can find more information about guaranteed issue rights and when you have them at Medicare.gov by clicking here.
Can I Keep my Doctor?
Yes, as long as your doctor or doctors accept Medicare, you can continue seeing them while being covered by a Medicare Supplement plan.
Will I Have to Pay a Premium?
Medicare Supplement plans do have a monthly premium, and the total cost of that premium will vary depending on the plan and carrier you choose. You will need to continue to pay your Part B premium in addition to whatever premium your Medicare Supplement plan charges. You may be eligible for premium assistance to cover some or all of these costs depending on your income and other factors. You can find more information on premium assistance programs on Medicare.gov by clicking here.