While Medicare pays for many healthcare services during your retirement years, it does not cover all of your potential medical expenses. For the expenses Medicare doesn't cover, you need to purchase a Medigap policy. Often, these policies are referred to as Medicare supplement insurance policies.
If your time to enroll in Medicare, then it's important you know how to obtain a Medicare supplement policy. Everything you need to know to get the process started is listed below:
Where to Obtain a Medigap Policy
Medicare supplement policies are sold to consumers by private insurance companies, and typically, there are many different options in each area of the country. You are free to purchase a policy from any insurance company who is licensed to offer this coverage in your state.
Unlike traditional health insurance, you will need to purchase a supplement plan for yourself and your spouse separately. Medigap policies only cover one person and are not offered as group or family plans. When you have an active Medigap policy, the insurance company and Medicare will automatically coordinate your benefits when you seek medical care inside of the United States as well as when you travel abroad.
When You Can Sign Up for Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare supplement plans, Medicare advantage plans, and Medicare prescription drug plans each have their own open enrollment periods. Typically, the open enrollment period for signing up for a Medicare supplement plan starts on the first day of the month when you are both 65 years old and have enrolled in Medicare Part B coverage.
It is vital you sign up for a supplemental plan during this open enrollment period because you cannot be rejected or have your rate increased due to preexisting medical conditions. If you don't sign up during the open enrollment period, then you will be subjected to medical underwriting and may find the monthly premium is unaffordable or you might be denied outright for a policy.
The Difference Between Medicare Supplement and Advantage Plans
When you shop for a Medicare supplement plan, you will also see other plans referred to as Medicare advantage plans. The difference between the two is that supplemental plans only cover the types of medical expenses Medicare already partially pays for. Alternatively, advantage plans cover things like eyeglasses, long-term care, durable medical equipment, and other medical costs that Medicare and supplement plans don't ever cover.
It is important to note you need to choose between an advantage plan and a supplemental plan. You are not permitted to have both at the same time.
Medicare Supplement Plans Come With Guaranteed Renewal Each Year
Last but not least, it's important to note Medicare supplement plans come with guaranteed renewal. Unless you choose to cancel your policy or move to another insurance company, you are guaranteed by law the right to renew your Medigap plan. To learn more, contact a company like Senior Advisors.