If you've been enrolled into Medicare Part A and Part B plans, there are several additional types of coverage that you can obtain. Most of this coverage is available through Medicare Supplement insurance (a.k.a. Medigap), which will allow you to cover some of the expenses that aren't handled by standard Medicare. Unlike Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans, the open enrollment period for Medicare Supplement insurance isn't an annual thing. In fact, most people only have one opportunity to enroll into this type of insurance, which is why it's important to be wholly aware of what it takes to obtain one of these plans.
What Is Medicare Supplemental Coverage?
A policy for Medicare Supplement insurance is designed to help you pay some of the costs that aren't covered by Medicare Part A and Part B. The main expenses that are covered with one of these policies include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Keep in mind that these policies are sold from private insurance companies, which means that prices can differ somewhat depending on the company you purchase it from. You will need to pay a monthly premium in order to have access to the benefits of a Medicare Supplement insurance policy.
These plans are labeled by a letter of the alphabet and include A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N plans, with each providing a different amount of coverage. All of these plans will help cover your hospital and coinsurance costs pertaining to Medicare Part A.
There's also a chance that Medicare will only cover a percentage of the costs pertaining to a benefit, which means that you would need to pay the remaining costs. If you happen to purchase the K, L, or M plans, they would only cover between 50-75 percent of your Part A deductibles.
The exact plan that you choose depends entirely on the needs that you have. For instance, if you require care in a nursing home facility and would like Medicare to cover the expenses for your coinsurance, you would need to avoid purchasing the A or B plans (not to be confused with Medicare Part A and Part B). While Medicare Supplement insurance is designed to cover many of the extra expenses with Medicare Part A and Part B, certain expenses for dental care, eyeglasses, and long-term care aren't covered.
When the Enrollment Period Is for 2019-2020
The open enrollment period for Medicare Supplement insurance is set to a six-month period that begins immediately both after you turn 65 and are fully enrolled into Medicare Part B. This period officially starts on the first day that your Part B insurance goes into effect. Even if your insurance kicked in on the first day of July, the open enrollment period won't end until the final day of the sixth month, which would be December 31st in this case.
During this period, you will have the benefit of being able to automatically be enrolled into Medicare Supplement insurance even if you have a previous medical condition. If you don't enroll in this period, there is no additional open enrollment period. Outside of open enrollment, you can still apply for this insurance. However, there is no guarantee that an insurance company will sell coverage to you. Medical underwriting requirements will be enforced with your application, which could result in higher premiums if you have a previous medical condition.
What’s New in 2020?
Starting the first of 2020, if you’re new to Medicare, you won’t be able to get a plan that can help cover your Medicare Part B deductibles, according the official Medicare government website. This means you will not be able to apply for a C or F plan after the first of 2020 if you are new to Medicare. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule, which can be found on the official Medicare website.
Who Is Eligible to Enroll?
If you want to obtain Medicare Supplemental Coverage, the only eligibility requirement is that you must be enrolled into Medicare Part B and be at least 65 years of age. Keep in mind that these policies only provide coverage for a single individual. If your spouse wants this type of coverage, they will need to purchase a separate policy. Once you've enrolled into this plan, you'll be able to renew the policy even if you're currently suffering from a notable health issue. As long as you continue to pay the premium, it's impossible for the insurance company to cancel your policy.
While this might not apply to you, it's possible to be denied coverage from Medicare Supplement insurance if you're currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
How to Enroll
If you want to purchase a Medicare Supplement insurance policy, you can compare the various types of policies and purchase the one that you're interested in by visiting Medicare.gov. All that you need to do is enter your zip code to find insurance policies near you. Once you've found a plan that you like, just select the "See Companies" button for a list of companies that offer the plan you're interested in. Finally, you will need to apply for the plan and wait for approval.