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When is the Best Time to Buy Medigap Coverage?

According to the Medigap website, the best time to enroll in Medigap policy is during the six month Medigap enrollment period which begins the month a person is 65 and has already enrolled in Medicare Part B.

Missing the enrollment period, often means that you will not be able to enroll. The most popular plans might already be closed. Therefore, it is best to buy what you need right away.

However, for individuals who did not buy a Medigap policy during the six-month open enrollment period, there are other ways you may search for a policy. The first route to take is visit the Medicare.gov website where under the “Supplements and Other Insurance” tab you will find a tool to help you compare Medigap policies.

When shopping for Medigap insurance remember that by law, all policies provide the same basic benefits. The only difference between the policies is the price. Depending on what you want and need make certain to compare deductible and co-pay amounts prior to buying a plan. If you want to localize a search to your home area, the Medicare.gov website can assist with that as well. Medicare supplemental plans can be found by clicking on “Find Health and Drug Plans,” which appears as a menu choice under the “Sign Up/Change Plans” tab.

Another way to find a Medigap policy, if you did not register during the enrollment period, is to check insurance company websites or talk to the AARP. Lastly, do research on the possibility of using Medicare Advantage Plans.

Before signing up for Medicare Advantage, make sure to have laid out the benefits you require and have an established budget. This is because some premiums may cost more than having a Medicare plan with a Medigap supplement.

Taking the time, before the enrollment period begins, to acquaint yourself with your options can save you time and money when choosing a Medigap plan.

Posted on Friday, December 29th, 2017. Filed under Medicare.

Does Medicare Provide Coverage Anywhere in the United States?

Increasingly Americans travel to other states to visit relatives, take vacations and take care of family. As people move between states it is important to keep track of Medicare coverage. For instance what happens if your home state is South Dakota and you take up residence in Florida to care for a family member? Do you need to get a Medigap plan in Florida or one in South Dakota? Would there be any out-of-network expenses involved here? These are some of the questions many people ask.

Original Medicare offers coverage anywhere in the United States provided medical professionals accept Medicare and nearly all do. When you have Original Medicare, you should also consider Medigap plans which offer additional coverage for copayments, deductibles and coinsurance. For anyone traveling inside the country it is important to note that once you have a plan, you may retain that plan regardless of your location in the United States.

If you decide to move out of your home state, you can keep your current Medigap policy as long as you have Original Medicare. If you want to switch to a new Medigap policy, however, you will have to check with both your current and new insurance company to see the Medigap policy options they offer. There are 10 standardized Medigap plans, this means that you may be able to reaming with your plan. Therefore, you may get a Medigap policy in South Dakota or in Florida.

What if you decide to switch to a Medigap issuer in Florida? You can certainly do that once you have established residence there, but it is not required that you do so. If you do make the decision to switch, you might be charged more in Florida because you do not have “guaranteed first rights.” “Guaranteed first rights” are rights that you have in certain situations when insurance companies are required to offer certain Medigap policies.

Your situation may look different if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or in Medicare Part D when you decide to move out of state. If your current Advantage plan is not available in the area you are moving to, your plan is required by Medicare to disenroll you. If this happens outside of the special election period (SEP) you will be returned to Original Medicare. However, if you notify your plan provider before you move, you SEP will be changed. The SEP will begin one month before the move and last three months. If you forget to notify your provider about your move, you can still do so the month of the move. In such a situation, you will also receive a three month SEP, which begins the same month of the move.

Always check with an experienced insurance agent if you have any questions about how changes in your situation may affect your Medicare coverage.

Posted on Friday, December 1st, 2017. Filed under Medicare.