If you’re an American senior citizen approaching the age of 65, you’re probably already aware of Medicare. However did you know, even though it is developed to help retirees decrease their medical costs, it doesn’t cover all of your medical needs? These gaps in Medicare coverage could eventually start eating away at your savings if you don’t protect yourself. Fortunately, there are simple and cost-effective insurance supplements – called “Medigap” policies – which often can save you from these catastrophic gaps in Medicare coverage.

Federal Regulations for Medicare Supplements

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services are accountable for controlling both Medicare, and the Medigap policies which are specially designed around Medicare Parts A and B. In most of the 50 states, seniors can access 10 distinct Medigap plans, named alphabetically: Plans A-D, F, G, and K-N. And the coverage is consistent across every state wherein these plans are offered. Plan A in Texas is identical to Plan A in South Dakota. Having said that, the price you pay varies, along with the company who sells you the Medigap policy.

Medigap Enrollment In South Dakota

The vast majority of senior citizens in South Dakota who have a Medigap policy are obviously preferential toward Plan F. Plans G and C are the next most popular, but they only have a fraction of the number of seniors which Plan F has at this point in time.

Plan Type A B C D E F G H I J K L M N
Enrollment 451 187 922 85 240 56,143 1,684 14 117 1,434 46 134 1 488

Plan Coverage & Cost

The premium you pay for Medicare supplement coverage is determined by a wide variety of factors. Do golden-agers who live in your county get medical treatment frequently? Are you currently a tobacco user? Are you relatively young, and in good overall health? Even your gender could determine the price of your monthly premium.

The cost of your South Dakota Medigap plan will depend on a variety of things. Your overall health, medical history, age and gender, and where you live, play a big role. The cost of doctors, hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers varies from area to area across South Dakota. Even as specific as what zip code you live in will impact the cost of your Medigap plan. To give you an idea of what it might cost, we have provided a chart showing what people near you are paying for their plans.

Most Popular Medicare Supplement in South Dakota

South Dakota seniors are not alone in preferring Plan F to all of the other available policies. Plan F is the most comprehensive, and also the easiest policy to handle. All you do is pay one simple monthly premium and enjoy 100% coverage over all of Medicare’s coverage gaps.

Of course, this also makes Plan F the most expensive (since it provides the most coverage). Similar plans, such as plan G which covers all of the same benefits as F minus the Part B deductible, are cheaper while providing similar coverage. Plan C, similarly, provides all the benefits of Plan F minus the Part B excess charges.

How do Medicare Supplement Ratings work?

Medicare’s Overall Star Rating program was developed to give consumers information on companies providing Medicare plans. The more stars, the better the performance of the company. Medicare evaluates all the data it collects on these plans and issues the report once a year. The areas they evaluate are how the company uses preventive medicine, how well they manage chronic disease like heart failure, what plan members think of the company, complaints received, and their customer service. It’s helpful when comparing companies.

Helpful Medigap Tips & Tricks

Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions

A Medigap policy isn’t your only coverage alternative, however it may be your best one – particularly if you are a senior on the go. Some Medicare Supplement in South Dakota, for example Medicare Advantage, limits the doctors and medical centers from which you could get treatment. Going beyond your pre-approved network could be pricey, if you get permission in the first place to look for care anywhere else. And for older persons who take a trip, getting sick and needing treatment when you find yourself hundreds or thousands of miles away from your network could be devastating.

Doctors List

If you like the doctor you have today, you can keep seeing him or her if you purchase a Medigap plan. With Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plans you can see any healthcare provider, anywhere in the country so long as they accept Medicare. Other Medicare plans may limit who you can see. Those plans work much like HMOs or PPOs and limit who you can see to those providers in a specific network or approved list. Furthermore, if you travel and become sick, your coverage will be limited to emergency services only. But with Medigap, claims for any kind of covered service within the country will be applied as long as Medicare is accepted at the medical facility.

Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage

In the year 2010, the US government passed legislation which changed the way Medigap insurance handled prescription drug coverage. Now that Medicare Part D is available, All Medigap plans that provided prescription drug benefits have been removed. Vision and dental benefits are a different issue entirely. They have never been covered by either Medicare or Medigap, and should be bought independently from a private company for those who have a need for those services.

Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll

The Medicare supplement enrollment process will vary based on how old you are, your Medicare enrollment status, and the company issuing your Medicare Supplement in South Dakota. A number of companies will immediately accept you, with no hassle, if you are recently enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B. But in case you enroll late, or in case you have other health problems, the process might be significantly more complicated.

  • Initial Enrollment Period: Registering for a Medigap policy within your IEP (within 6 months of signing up for Medicare) guarantees your approval and coverage without any health surveys or medical exams.
  • Guaranteed Issue: Just like the IEP mentioned previously, you will end up immediately accepted without the need to answer intrusive health queries or endure an exam. Guarantee Issue is commonly for older persons who don’t register during the IEP because they were previously insured by an employer or group health plan.
  • Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): It is possible to sign up for or modify your Medicare Supplement in South Dakota anytime during the year; having said that, this is the preferred window for many forms of insurance (including, but not limited to, a Medicare Supplement in South Dakota).
  • Underwritten: A complicated process where you need to answer queries about your state of health and perhaps undergo a physical exam before your selected insurance company will offer to sell you a policy.

Free Look Period

For your protection, there’s a 30 day “Free Look” evaluation period for each and every Medicare Supplement in South Dakota issued. You have 30 days from your first day of coverage to choose whether your coverage satisfies your needs. In case you have a change of heart, you can cancel your coverage and receive a complete refund.

What Medigap Plan Is Best For Me?

You are the only one who can decide what the ideal Medigap plan is for you. But we can definitely help you make an educated decision. The Medigap.com site is chock full of answers to most asked questions, explanations of plans and other helpful info. To get you started we have compiled a complete list of all the Medigap plans being offered in South Dakota. We encourage you to find a plan that not only provides the level of coverage you need and fits your budget, but has a good reputation and financial stability.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.