Medicare is more than just Part A and Part B. Private insurers like UnitedHealthcare and AARP are also able to provide recipients with supplemental coverage that can help absorb out-of-pocket expenses and extend or enhance coverage for certain services.
Differences Between Medigap and Medicare Advantage Plans UnitedHealthcare offers both Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans, but it’s important to understand the key differences between these insurance products since a recipient cannot have both plans at the same time. Medicare Advantage plans combine Original Medicare benefits with additional coverage, like dental or vision care. Medicare Advantage plans can also include Part D prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, plans do not offer extra benefits or prescription drug coverage. Instead, they help pay for your share of costs with Original Medicare Part A and Part B. Depending on which plan you choose, this could include certain coinsurance and deductible amounts or copayments for some services. Supplement plans are standardized, which means that no matter which insurance carrier offers them, the plan itself is the same across all carriers that offer it.
Lastly, another important difference between these two types of Medicare enhancements is that a Medicare Advantage plan will assign you to a network of preferred doctors and coverage may not be available if you see a doctor outside of that network. Medicare Supplement plans do not require you to see doctors in a specific network; any doctor who accepts Medicare Part A and Part B will accept Medicare Supplement plan coverage.
What Medigap Plan Letters Mean Because Medicare Supplement plans are regulated and required to offer the same coverage no matter which carrier provides them in most states, they are referred to by a letter name A-N in order to simplify terms.
Each plan has a monthly premium. Typically, higher premiums reflect a more robust coverage package that will mean you face lower out-of-pocket expenses when it comes to certain deductibles, coinsurance amounts and copayments. Your personal health needs play a major role in which plan will best suit your budget. Supplement plans can also base their premium on age-related factors, which means you may experience an increase in premiums as you age. Please note: If you live in Massachusetts, Minnesota or Wisconsin, your Medicare Supplement plans provide the same types of coverage but are categorized differently.
Medicare Supplement Enrollment Periods
Medicare recipients are restricted to certain enrollment periods for Medicare Supplement plans. Open enrollment begins the month a recipient turns 65 and is enrolled in Part B, and lasts for 6 months. During this time, you will not be denied a chance to enroll in a supplement plan and your premiums will not be increased due to pre-existing conditions.
Outside of this open enrollment period, it is possible to qualify for special enrollment circumstances. If you lose other creditable coverage or if you are switching from a Medicare Advantage plan back to a Medicare Supplement plan, you may have the same coverage rights that are available during the regular open enrollment period.
Medicare Supplement Plans Offered by UnitedHealthcare
AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance, insured by UnitedHealthcare, offers Medigap, plans that may meet your needs. As of January 1, 2020, plans with a benefit that covers the Original Medicare Part B deductible will no longer be offered through any Medicare Supplement providers, including AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance, insured by UnitedHealthcare. Because Plans C and F include this benefit, they will not be available for new recipients. Recipients who enroll in either of these plans before this date will be able to keep their coverage. If they then change plans after that date, however, they will not be able to enroll in either plan again.