Harry Truman lobbied for it for 20 years; Medicare was established in 1965, and in 1966 The Aetna Life Insurance Company offered the first Medicare Supplement plan. “Medigap” plans or Supplements help “cover the gap” of the copays, deductibles, and the 20% that’s not covered by Medicare. This is why people get Medicare Supplements.
Are you “New to Part B”? Yay, the Medicare Supplement companies won’t be checking out your medical history to underwrite your policy. You’re getting the best rate by your local companies – even if you’ve survived cancer or have had several joint replacements.
Why Should I Get a Medicare Supplement?
Medicare Supplement plans offer the most freedom, medically speaking. You can go to any physician or medical facility that accepts Medicare in the U.S. This allows you to hop into your RV and hit the road! Or jet off to another state to visit the grandkids and not have to worry about being in a network. It allows you to see various providers in any random set of networks without worrying about referrals – doctors just love Medicare Supplements! Most important, if you have a serious medical condition, you can go for treatment to Cedars-Sinai in California or MD Anderson in Texas and be accepted.
How A Medigap Plan Works
It was an Act of Congress . . . .
Did you turn 65 after January 1, 2020? Sorry, Congress won’t let your insurance cover the Part B deductible, so you can’t get a Plan C or F. But if you already had Plan C or Plan F before January 1, 2020, you can keep your plan. And if you turned 65 before January 1, 2020, but didn’t enroll, you could still get a Plan C or F.
Available Medicare Supplement Plans (plans vary by state)
According to Medicare.gov, insurance companies that sell Medicare Supplement or Medigap plans:
• Don’t have to offer every Medigap plan
• Must offer Medigap Plan A if they offer any Medigap policy
• Must also offer Plan C or Plan F if they offer any plan
They Say It’s Your Birthday!
Does your state have a Medicare Supplement Birthday Rule? If your state is California, Oregon, Nevada, Illinois, or Idaho, you have more options regarding your Medicare Supplement/Medigap plan. This is one time during the year that you can change your plan (and depending on your state, your carrier), and not have to answer health questions. No health questions means you get the best possible premium for your age and location!
In California, if you want to move from your current Medicare Supplement plan, you can! You can apply 30 days before and 60 days after your birthday! Yes, you can move to any plan of equal or lesser benefit with the carrier of your choice.
Oregon also allows policyholders to change to a plan with any carrier of equal or lesser benefit without health underwriting. You could change 30 days before your birthday or 30 days after, giving you 61 days to take advantage of the rule.
For Nevada, you can change your Medigap carrier or plan to an equal or lesser one on the first day of your birth month, and the window to change is open for 61 days.
Illinois is more strict about their Birthday Rule; you can change if you’re between the ages of 65 and 75, your new plan benefit must not exceed your current plan, AND you have to stay with the same company. Your special enrollment window starts on your birthday and lasts for 45 days. Get crackin’!
In Idaho one can enroll into another Medicare Supplement plan of equal or lesser benefit with any carrier. Your window to change starts on your birthday and is open for 63 days.
Want to check out some Medicare Supplement rates? Use this quick tool; results open into a new tab. (Some of the rates may feature household discounts – be sure to talk to me about that.)
Required Disclaimer: “We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 0 to 28 organizations that offer 0 to 28 or more products in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program to get information on all of your options.” So there.