Medicare supplement policies or ‘Medigap’ policies insurance sold by Medicare authorized private insurance companies’ based on the different types of Medigap policies defined by the Medicare program.
It is wrong to assume that different insurance companies have the capacity to alter healthcare costs and the services that are covered by any Medigap plan other than to abide by the coverage clauses issued by the Medicare program pertaining to a particular Medigap policy. However, it is possible that certain insurance companies will provide its clients with additional services, which are not related to the core expenses covered by the policy.
Such subtle differences may explain the reason for different insurance companies to have different premiums for almost the same Medigap policy. Thus, it is paramount for all those who qualify for Medicare to understand the process involved in selecting a suitable Medigap policy.
The Medicare website managed by the U.S. government provides more than enough information for those who are thinking of benefiting through Medigap plans and following are some of these vital instructions offered by the Medicare.
Eligibility for obtaining a Medigap
One of the first advises given by the Medicare to its potential Medigap subscribers is to ensure that they have subscribed to both Part A (Hospital insurance) and Part B (Medical insurance) of a Medicare policy before applying for a Medigap.
In case if the Medicare policyholder is also a holder of a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), which is different to a Medigap policy, he or she must make sure the Medicare Advantage Plan ends before the start of the Medigap policy.
It is illegal for any insurance company to sell a Medigap policy to a person holding a Medicare Advantage Plan. At the same time, it is also not possible to guarantee that a person would receive a Medigap policy similar in coverage to the Medicare Advantage Plan once he or she withdraws from the latter.
Important points to know regarding a Medigap policy
One should also remember that he or she has to pay a premium for the Medigap policy to the providing insurance company in addition to the Plan B premium, paid each month to Medicare. In case one needs to obtain coverage for his or her spouse, Medigap will not be able to accommodate the same as it is only intended for a single person. However, it is possible to obtain a separate Medigap policy for a spouse.
In order to buy a Medigap policy, one should check for the insurance companies, which are licensed to do the same within the state in question. However, experts believe that one should shop around in order to select the Medigap policy with the lowest premium as the coverage provided by most of these policies are almost the same. However, one needs to decide on the type of policy that he or she would like to subscribe after discussing the same with an insurance agent.
Rights of a Medigap holder
It is also important to note that an insurance company should maintain a Medigap policy as long as its holder pays the company the due premium. This means that it is not possible for insurance companies to terminate a Medigap policy just because its holder’s health changes for the worst.
Regarding prescription drug coverage
Lastly, Medicare emphasizes that it is not possible for any Medigap policy to cover prescription drugs and in order to do so. Medicare recipients should separately obtain Medicare Part D, which is the ‘Medicare Prescription Drug Plan’.