Medigap is supplemental health insurance that Original Medicare recipients can purchase from private insurance companies to help cover some of the costs that Part A and Part do not. While Medicare covers many healthcare costs, you will likely be responsible for a percentage of the cost with no out-of-pocket limits. If you have an unexpected medical crisis or are diagnosed with a chronic illness, your medical expenses can be overwhelming.
Medigap, or Medicare Supplement policies, can help protect you. Life can be unpredictable, and many Medicare recipients are concerned that out-of-pocket expenses incurred by a medical issue can quickly become a financial burden. A supplemental insurance policy can fill the gaps in your Original Medicare coverage.
Medicare recipients who are 65 years of age and have enrolled in Part B are eligible for Medigap. During a 6-month initial enrollment period, you will have a guaranteed issue right to purchase any Medigap policy sold in your state. During this enrollment period, you will not be subject to medical underwriting and Medigap plans cannot charge you more or refuse to sell you a plan based on pre-existing medical conditions. If you choose to purchase a Medigap policy after this period ends, you may be turned down or charged more for pre-existing conditions.
If you have a Medicare Advantage policy, you are not eligible to purchase a supplemental insurance policy unless you return to Original Medicare.
Do The Costs of Medicare Supplement Plans Increase With Age?
Whether your Medicare supplement insurance policy premiums increase as you get older depends on the type of cost rating method you choose. If you choose a Community Rated or No-Age Rated plan, you pay the same monthly premium regardless of your age. Everyone pays the same amount for their monthly premium.
With an Issue-Age Rated plan, your premium is based on your age when you purchase, or are issued, the policy. Generally, premiums cost less when you are younger. Premiums for these types of policies do not increase with age.
If you opt for an Attained-Age Rated policy, your premium will be based on the age you have attained. In other words, your age at the time of purchasing the policy. With this type of policy, your premium increases as you get older. While the premium may be less than other types of policies initially, premium prices increase with age making them more expensive than other types ultimately.
Because private insurance companies sell Medigap policies, they set their own premium prices. Of course, it is important to check prices before choosing a plan, but you should also take these other factors into consideration:
- The plan’s deductible. The monthly premium may be low, but you do not want to be burdened with a deductible so high that it makes you financially vulnerable.
- Does the company offer discounts? if you are a non-smoker, if there are multiple members on the same account, or if you pay your premium electronically or in a yearly lump sum, you may be eligible for a discount.
- A Medicare Select plan may be less expensive. With this type of plan, beneficiaries must use the services of a set network of hospitals, clinics, and in some instances, doctors.
There are many factors to consider when choosing your Medicare supplement insurance. Be sure to discuss all the details with a knowledgeable, licensed agent before you make your final decision.