The ABCs of Medicare Supplement Plans

So, you already know what a Medicare Supplement Plan is, you understand Medicare costs, you saw all the benefits covered by Medigap plans and now you are really interested in getting one, but how? What do you need to get it and when is the right time to do it? Well, in this article we will answer all your questions. We will explain the requirements to get a Medigap plan, the way and the time you can enroll to get it.

Requirements to get a Medicare Supplement Plan

Before getting a Medicare Supplement Plan you must have Medicare part A and Medicare Part B. The coverage of Medigap is only for one person, so if you are married and both of you want to get a Medigap plan, you will have to buy separate plans for each of you. Remember Medigap policies are private insurance, so Medicare does not pay any of the costs to get them and you will have to pay the premiums of them.

In case you a have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you cannot have that and a Medigap plan at the same time. However, you can apply for a Medigap policy if you already have it, but you will have to make sure that you can leave you a Medicare Advantage Plan before the Medigap policy starts. The main difference between Medigap and a Medicare Advantage Plan is that the first one only supplements your Original Medicare benefits and the second is a way to get Medicare benefits. Once you get your Medigap plan you pay a monthly premium for it to the private insurance company and this is additional to the premium you pay for Medicare Part B.

When can I apply for a Medicare Supplement Plan?

The ideal moment to buy a Aetna Medicare supplement Plan G is during the 6-month Medigap open enrollment period. This period lasts for six months and starts the first day of the month you are at least 65 and enrolled to Medicare Part B. You will be able to get a Medigap policy that is available in the state where you live during this time, according to Medigap guaranteed issue rights. In case you have previous health issues you also have the right to get a Medigap policy during this time but a waiting period may apply.

The waiting period means that the insurance company can make you wait up to six months before covering your pre-existing conditions, which are any health problems you had before the insurance policy started. You will have your Medigap plan, but there will be a delay in coverage, so the Medigap will not cover any out-of-pocket costs related to the pre-existing conditions until the waiting period has finished. Take into consideration that the insurance companies can delay coverage for any health conditions that were diagnosed or treated only six months before the Medigap policy start-date, and they cannot use health problems that are older than that. The amount of time an insurance company can “look back” and delay coverage for certain health conditions is called “look-back period”.  There are some states in which you can get a Medigap plan before the age of 65 but you will need to be enrolled to Medicare Part B anyways and it may cost you more.

What happens if I want a Medicare Supplement Plan but I didn’t apply during the 6-month Medigap open enrollment period?

If you missed the 6-month Medigap open enrollment period and you try to get a Medigap policy, the insurance company may deny you coverage or may cost you more and the company will charge you a higher premium based on your medical history. However, you will have Medigap guaranteed issue rights only in certain situations outside of this period. This will be explained in more detail later.