Medicare supplement insurance helps pay for some of the out-of-pocket health care costs that Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t pay for. Plans are offered through private insurance companies. You decide if you want to buy a plan or not.
The main purpose of a Medicare supplement plan is to cover some of the out- of-pocket expenses that Medicare Parts A and B do not pay, such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Each of the standardized plans offers benefits for different out-of-pocket costs.
Each standardized plan with the same letter must offer the same basic benefits, regardless of the insurance company that sells it. For example, the basic benefits of Plan F of one company are the same as the basic benefits of Plan F of another company. The only difference between Medicare supplement plans with the same letter sold by different insurance companies is generally cost. Visit website medisupps.com for further information.
How much does Medicare Supplement Insurance cost?
The table shows the types of costs you may have with a Medicare supplement insurance plan. You should examine individual plans to understand their specific costs.
How Medicare Supplement Insurance Works
Each standardized Medicare supplement insurance plan covers different types of out-of-pocket costs. What you will have to pay out of pocket will depend on what services you use and what plan you have.
This is a bit confusing, so let’s look at an example.
Let’s say a person has Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and receives the following covered services:
- 15 days as an inpatient in the hospital
- 22 days in a skilled nursing facility
- 2 visits to a doctor who does not accept Medicare assignment
The table below compares what this person’s out-of-pocket costs could be for these services with different Medicare supplement insurance plans. This example assumes the Part B deductible has been met for the year. The costs presented are only illustrative. The costs you pay may be different.
How to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan
You have a specific enrollment period for Medicare Supplement insurance called the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. This period:
- It begins the first month you turn 65 or older and are already enrolled in Medicare Part B.
- It lasts 6 months.
- It guarantees your right to buy a plan (coverage cannot be denied if you apply during this period).
Even if you miss your open enrollment period, you can apply for Medicare supplement insurance at any time. However, they could deny you coverage or charge a higher premium based on your medical history. Some states have additional open enrollment periods for Medicare supplement plans, even for beneficiaries under age 65.
Apply for Medicare coverage
When you apply for Medicare coverage, you can enroll in Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). You can decline Medicare Part B coverage because you have to pay a premium. However, if you decide to enroll in Part B later, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for the entire time that you are enrolled in Part B. Your monthly premium will increase 10 percent for every 12 years. Months you were eligible for Medicare Part B, but did not enroll, unless eligible for the Special Enrollment Period.