Medicare supplement insurance policies – generally called “Medigap” policies – fill in the coverage gaps which Medicare Parts A & B will not pay for. This sort of coverage is vital, yet generally will get ignored by seniors. Without it, you could possibly end up with thousands of dollars in hospital expenses which you will have to pay with your own money. For the majority of Medigap plans, the only condition to purchase one is that you first be enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B.
Federal Regulations for Medicare Supplements
In order to make sure than a senior citizen in Missouri gets the exact same benefits as a senior citizen in Vermont, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) are in charge of controlling the ten available Medicare supplement plans. Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N are currently on the market (E, H, I, and J are already discontinued). Due to the fact each plan is regulated, the sole contrast between Plan G in Missouri and plan G in any other state is cost, and provider. The benefits are identical from state to state.
Medigap Enrollment In Missouri
Missouri, like several other states in the union, has the vast majority of their seniors covering their Medicare coverage gaps with a Plan F Medicare supplement. This largely has to do with the fact that these supplements are 100% comprehensive and, for most seniors, highly affordable.
Plan Coverage & Cost
The cost to you for any Medicare supplement policy is determined by a number of components. Your state of health is an important issue, and your fee may change based upon things such as your smoking habits, how old you are, and gender. Your price can also be determined by where you reside, right down to your city and local zip code.
In Missouri, the cost of your Medicare Supplement (AKA Medigap) plan will depend on a number of factors. Like all insurance products, underwriting concerns have to be addressed to determine risk. With Medigap, those underwriting factors can include your overall general health, medical history, age, and gender. That’s to be expected. What might be surprising is where you live in Missouri is also taken into consideration right down to your zip code. The cost of healthcare varies from by area, so where you live will have an impact on how much it will cost the company to cover your claims.
Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans in Missouri
As mentioned earlier, there are more seniors with a Plan F Medigap policy than any other available type of Medigap plan. However, plan F may not be for everybody. Because it is the most comprehensive, it is also the most costly. Your unique circumstances may determine that another plan is more affordable for you.
Take Plan C, for example. It is the next most popular plan behind F, and the two are nearly identical – except for the Part B excess charges coverage. Plan F covers these, while Plan C does not. So if you were to get a flu shot for $50 that Medicare says should only cost $40, Plan F would pay the $10 difference, whereas C would not. But if you live in an area where your medical procedures don’t typically run up these excess charges, you could save hundreds yearly by purchasing the less costly Plan C.
How do Medicare Plan Ratings Work?
The Overall Star Rating program is a tool that Medicare compiles annually to give consumers an idea of how Medicare has evaluated the performance of a specific company selling Medicare products. The more stars given to a company, the better the company rated. The areas considered for evaluation on include how well a company uses preventive measures such as inoculations, screenings, and tests to keep members healthy, how well they manage chronic diseases like heart failure, what their members think of the company, complaints received about the company, and customer service. It’s not a comprehensive report but it is data driven and useful for comparing companies when shopping for Medicare Supplement insurance.
Helpful Medigap Tips & Tricks
Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions
One of many reasons Medicare supplemental insurance plans are well liked among older persons is the versatility and flexibility with regard to choosing your doctors. In contrast to other supplement plans, Medigap insurance doesn’t feature any restricted HMO or PPO provider networks. You can use any doctor that will accept Medicare, in any state, no matter where you are. So if you like to travel, if you are in a non-urban area, or in the event you are a “snow bird” who migrates south in wintertime, your access to suitable medical care will not be restricted.
The relationship you have with your doctor and any specialists you might be seeing could come to a sudden end if you select one of the plans that uses approved networks only. These plans work like HMOs and PPOs and restrict your use of doctors to their list of healthcare providers. If you purchase a Medigap plan, the only qualifier is that your doctor accepts Medicare assignment. Medigap covers your claim without question from any healthcare provider in the country as long as they accept Medicare. If your relationship with your doctor is important to you, then this is a major benefit.
Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage
As you may well know, Medicare Part D is now largely responsible for providing senior citizens with prescription drug coverage. As a result of this, it’s no longer essential for Medigap policies to provide prescription drug coverage as an option. Vision and dental, on the other hand, are extra kinds of coverage which Medicare supplement and Medicare do not cover. You have the option to either get those covered privately on your own, or to pay out-of-pocket if you find it less expensive than an insurance plan.
Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll
When you enroll in a Medigap policy, you have to first be signed up for Medicare Parts A & B. Then (and only then) you can start the Medigap enrollment process. The quicker you register, the less of a challenge the process is going to be. But if you delay, you may have to answer personal questions about your state of health to be deemed eligible for coverage.
- Initial Enrollment Period: In your first 6 months of enrolling in Medicare, you can also register for a Medigap policy with automatic acceptance and zero health questions asked.
- Guaranteed Issue: You won’t be declined for coverage, despite having a health problem. This is a common option among seniors transferring from an employer or group plan.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): In contrast to most varieties of insurance, you can register for a Medigap policy at any time. You aren’t limited by an annual enrollment period.
- Underwritten: The underwriting process happens when your chosen health insurance company records data about your health history and decides whether or not you are eligible for insurance coverage under a Medicare supplement policy.
Free Look Period
For your protection, there’s a 30 day “Free Look” assessment period for every Medigap policy issued. You have 30 days from your first day of coverage to decide whether your coverage satisfies your needs. Should you decide to go in a different direction, you can stop your coverage and get a full refund.
What Medigap Plan Is Best For Me?
The perfect Medicare Supplement plan for you is one that you understand very well, provides the level of coverage that makes sense for your life now and in the near future, and fits comfortably in your retirement budget. That plan is out there. You just have to find it and that’s the challenge. There are a ton of companies providing Medigap plans. To help you get started, Medigap.com has compiled an exhaustive list of companies selling Medigap that are licensed in Missouri. With a little effort and some research, it’s possible to find that perfect plan for you.