If you are an American senior citizen nearing the age of 65, you’re probably already aware of Medicare. Yet did you know, although it’s developed to help senior citizens decrease their medical expenses, it doesn’t cover all of your needs? These kinds of gaps in Medicare coverage could end up costing you thousands if you don’t protect against them. Happily, you can find simple and affordable insurance supplements – called “Medigap” policies – which may help you avoid these disastrous gaps in Medicare coverage.
Federal Regulations for Medicare Supplements
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are accountable for regulating Medicare supplemental insurance plans. This helps ensure that, of the 10 accessible plans, all insurers in all 50 states provide you with the identical plans and coverage options. This way, the sole difference from one insurance carrier to another will be the cost of your monthly premium.
Medigap Enrollment In Washington
Washington state has one very big thing in common with many other states in the country: its seniors prefer Medigap Plan F above all the other available plan choices. Plan C is the next most popular option, but it only has a little more than 10% of the numbers that Plan F has. We’ll explain these discrepancies later on in this article.
Plan Coverage & Cost
The cost you pay for Medigap coverage is decided by a wide array of factors. Do senior citizens who reside in your state get medical treatment often? Have you been a tobacco user? Are you relatively young, and in very good health? Even your gender can determine the price of your monthly charges.
Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans in Washington
There is one very important reason Washington seniors flock to Plan F in overwhelming numbers: it’s because Plan F is the easiest and most comprehensive plan available. It is also the most expensive, which is why insurance agents will recommend it first. However, you may have the potential to save with a different plan.
Take Plan C, for example. The only difference between Plan C and F is that Plan C will not cover Medicare Part B excess charges – those fees are your responsibility under plan C. However, if your doctor or hospital mostly charges what Medicare deems to be an appropriate price for treatment, you may not need to worry about having these charges covered by your Medigap policy. And you can save money by choosing the plan with the lower monthly premium.
Helpful Medigap Tips & Tricks
Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions
A Medigap policy isn’t your only coverage choice, however it could be the best one – particularly if you are live far away from a big city. Some Medicare Supplement in Washington, like Medicare Advantage, limits the physicians and medical centers where you can get treatment. Going beyond your pre-approved network could be pricey, if you get authorization in the first place to get care elsewhere. And for older persons who vacation, getting ill and requiring treatment when you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from your network could be devastating.
Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage
Sadly, vision and dental coverage have never been supplied by either Medicare, or Medigap supplement plans. If you need this kind of medical treatment, you could pay out of pocket or acquire coverage on your own from a private company. Medicare Part D, however, does offer prescription drug coverage. Medigap no longer offers such benefits, since Part D does it for them (and for you).
Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll
For quick enrollment with virtually no hassle, you’ll need to register for a Medicare Supplement in Washington around the time you enroll in Medicare (within your first 6 months of Medicare coverage, to be specific). The longer you wait, the more complicated the process may become.
- Initial Enrollment Period: Enroll in a Medicare Supplement in Washington within your first 6 months of receiving Medicare benefits, and you won’t get asked any invasive health questions or denied coverage.
- Guaranteed Issue: Popular among senior citizens who are losing an employer or group health plan. The business you apply to must accept and cover you, regardless of your current health condition.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): AEPs don’t apply to Medigap policies, so feel free to enroll at any time during the year
- Underwritten: Arguably the most difficult type of enrollment. Your insurance provider will ask you personal health questions and possibly call for a physical exam prior to their decision of whether or not to accept you as a beneficiary.
Free Look Period
For your protection, there’s a 30 day “Free Look” examination period for every Medicare supplement policy issued. You have 30 days from your first day of coverage to choose whether your coverage satisfies your needs. In case you decide to go in a different direction, you can stop the policy and get a complete refund.