Medicare Supplement Insurance

Medicare Supplements explained! Discover how benefits, coverage & pricing work in our helpful, 2019 Medicare Supplement Guide.

2019 Medicare Supplement Table

2019 Medicare Suppement Comparison Table
Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplement Benefits A B C D F* G K L M N
Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted X X X X X X X X X X
Medicare Part B copayment or coinsurance X X X X X X 50% 75% X X***
First three pints of blood X X X X X X 50% 75% X X
Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment X X X X X X 50% 75% X X
Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance X X X X 50% 75% X X
Medicare Part A deductible X X X X X 50% 75% 50% X
Medicare Part B deductible X X
Medicare Part B excess charges X X
Foreign travel emergency coverage (up to plan limits) 80% 80% 80% 80% 80% 80%
Out-of-pocket limits apply.**
medicare-part-b-coverage

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N

Plan N

G

Plan G

F

Plan F

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2019 Medicare Supplement Benefits
Medicare Supplements cover;
Medicare Part A Coinsurance or Copay.
Medicare Part B Coinsurance or Copay.
First Three (3) Pints of Blood.
Medicare Part A Hospice Coinsurance.
Skilled Nursing Facility Care Coinsurance.
Medicare Part A Deductible.
Medicare Part B Deductible.
Medicare Part B Excess Charges
Foreign Travel Emergency Insurance.
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Maybe you’ve heard some information about Medicare Supplements from friends & family but what exactly is Medicare Supplements anyway? What are Medigap Plans & How does a Medicare Supplement fit within Medicare Insurance benefits? We consolidated & simplified all the important details for you by answering common questions to help save you time, money & energy!

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2019 Medigap Plan

Last Updated: 10/3/2019

What is Medicare Supplement Insurance? (condensed)

A Medicare Supplement also known as a “Medigap Plan”, is a private, Medicare “add-on” insurance policy that covers the additional 20% leftover costs that are NOT paid by Original Medicare (Part A & Part B). Medicare Supplement Plans can provide more personal freedom & flexibility opposed to Medicare Advantage Plans. Key benefits of Medicare Supplement Insurance include freedom to keep your doctor, travel coverage & the ability to change plans year-round.

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Am I eligible for a Medicare Supplement?

Eligibility for a Medicare Supplement can sometimes depend on complicated factors that are unique to you and speaking with Bridge Agent can help you identify options to fit your needs. the overall general eligibility (not in any particular order) for a Medicare Supplement include (but are not limited to);

  • Age: must be at least 64.5 yrs. with a Medicare Part B effective date and/or Medicare card/number present.
  • Enrollment: depending when you chose to enroll in Medicare based on the enrollment periods guideline.
  • Existing coverage: Sometimes your existing coverage can effect eligibility (ie: switching from Medicare Advantage).
  • Health: be in decent health unless under a guaranteed issue right which means you cannot be denied coverage even based on preexisting conditions. All new Medicare enrollees who enroll “on time” are given this right.
  • Income: Although price is not a direct disqualifying factor, it is unethical for any insurance agent to sell you a policy you cannot afford.

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How do Medicare Supplements work?

Medicare Supplements only work with Original Medicare (Part A & Part B) and do not work with Medicare Advantage (Part C). Confusingly, Medicare Supplements are also called “Medigap Plans”, they are both the same thing. Another point of confusion among folks is that Medicare Supplements are categorized by what the industry calls; “letter plans” (ex: Plan G, Plan N ect…) which has a similar naming convention to Medicare “letter parts” (ie: Part A, Part C ect…). A good rule of thumb is to remember that “Parts & Plans” are not the same as they refer to separate concepts within the structure of Medicare Insurance. Moreover, Medicare Supplements are designed to cover the additional 20% out-of-pocket, health care costs that Medicare will not cover in which, beneficiaries (you) are responsible for paying. Medicare Supplements can provide more comprehensive benefits, freedoms and flexibility of choice unlike its rival Advantage Plan. Similar to Advantage Plans, Medicare Supplement Plans are managed by privatize insurance carriers and are federally standardized which means the only difference between Plans and Brands (ie: Carriers) is…the price you pay (that’s it). For example, some carriers have higher ratings due to price stability & claim fulfillment. Supplement Insurance is not for everybody and while some make decisions based on price alone, one should consider weighing their options between Original Medicare over Medicare Advantage. Medicare Supplements can offer more protection over your Medicare liabilities especially for folks on set income or can afford higher tier plans. Although a spousal discount is not uncommon, policies are usually purchased under separate applications. If you are considering a Medicare Supplement, Bridge has a plan to help you discover options & select a plan that fit your needs!

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What does a Medicare Supplement cost in 2019?

The costs of a Medicare Supplements in 2019 can vary based on factors such as your health, age, location, letter plan & the carrier to name a few. As with most insurances, rate changes happen periodically. For example; choosing a low cost carrier could have significant premium increases down the road. That’s why it’s best to have Bridge help you do all the heavy lifting by providing you with side-by-side Medicare comparison when considering Medicare Supplements.

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What do Medicare Supplement policies cover?

In general, Medicare Supplement policies cover a variation and/or all of the following items;

  • Medicare Part A Coinsurance or Copay.
  • Medicare Part B Coinsurance or Copay.
  • First Three (3) Pints of Blood.
  • Medicare Part A Hospice Coinsurance.
  • Skilled Nursing Facility Care Coinsurance.
  • Medicare Part A Deductible.
  • Medicare Part B Deductible.
  • Medicare Part B Excess Charges
  • Foreign Travel Emergency Insurance.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), standardized all Medicare Supplements which must adhere to the following guidelines;

  • Must cover costs for both Original Medicare Part A & Part B.
  • Must reflect statutory changes in Medicare.
  • Cannot deny pre-existing conditions after a policy has been active for 6-months.
  • Must include a 30-day look back period.

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What do Medicare Supplements not cover?

Medicare Supplements do not cover or replace the following items;

  • Part D Prescription Drug Coverage
  • Medicare Advantage
  • Critical Illness Insurance (Cancer, Heart Attack & Stroke Insurance)
  • Cosmetic Surgery
  • Long-term care (also called custodial care)
  • Most dental care
  • Eye exams related to prescribing glasses
  • Dental, Vision or Hearing Insurance
  • Dentures
  • Acupuncture
  • Hearing aids and exams for fitting them
  • Routine foot care
  • Life Insurance
  • Check plans for more details

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What are the Medicare Supplement Plans for 2019?

The 2019 Medicare Supplement listed in alphabetical order are;

  • Plan A Available
    • (Not to be confused with Part A, Original Medicare)
  • Plan B Available
    • (Not to be confused with Part B, Original Medicare)
  • Plan C Available
    • (Not to be confused with Part C, Medicare Advantage Plans)
  • Plan D Available
    • (Not to be confused with Part D, Prescription Drug Plans)
  • Plan E Unavailable
  • Plan F Available Popular
  • High Plan F Available Popular
  • Plan G Available Popular
  • Plan H, I, J Unavailable
  • Plan K Available
  • Plan L Available
  • Plan M Available
  • Plan N Available Popular
  • Plan O-Z Unavailable

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What are the benefits of Medicare Supplements?

Some overall benefits of adding a Medicare Supplements to your existing Medicare benefits are;

  • Freedom to choose your Doctor.
  • Portability (switch plans/providers anytime).
  • Flexibility (Find plans to fit your budget).
  • Price Transparency (know your line item costs).
  • Freedom to travel (in and out of the country).
  • Additional Benefits

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How do I buy a Medicare Supplement policy?

After enrolling in both Medicare Part A & Part B, one can then shop for a Medicare Supplement policy by contacting Bridge Insurance (Get Offers). Many websites trick folks into thinking they can “view pricing” or even purchase coverage directly online but later find this only leads to an inquiry form with an agent calling them shortly thereafter. By-law, one must work directly with a state-licensed agent either in-person or by phone. Depending on the type of enrollment & issue rights, additional health information may be required. Your application will then be reviewed & approved or denied. If approved, you will begin paying the scheduled premiums to unlock the Medicare Supplement benefits which are used in conjunction with your Medicare insurance. Generally, services are billed to Medicare first and any overages are directly billed to your Medicare Supplement Plan. In some instances, you may still be responsible for paying some portion of services (review your plan details). Be sure to ask your health professionals if any services are not covered under Medicare Assignment to avoid additional costs.

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2019 Medigap Guide

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How do I compare Medicare Supplement plans?

Comparing Medicare Supplement policies can be confusing and time consuming when vetting multiple carriers and plans. It takes more than reading a 2019 Medicare Supplement PDF Guide to get all the Medicare FAQs! Simplify the process by speaking with a Bridge Agent who can answer your questions & run all your Medicare Supplement comparisons for you at no cost!

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Can my wife and I share a Medicare Supplement Plan?

No, you and your spouse are considered separate members. Each member must purchase an individual Medicare Supplement policy. However, depending on state and carrier, a Medicare supplement household discount may be available. Contact Bridge to learn more.

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What company offers the best Medicare Supplement Plan?

It can be a challenge when deciding what Medicare Supplement company to choose from because everyone has different needs. Here at Bridge, we only work with the top, A+ Rated carriers (Mutual of Omaha, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Americo ect..) to ensure stability without compromising price. We listen to your situation and based on your needs, present plans based upon factors such as availability, cost & benefits to name a few. Contact a Bridge Agent today to learn your options and find a plan to meet your needs.

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What Medicare Supplement Plan is the best?

Because everyone has different needs, determining the best Medicare Supplement plan offers no clear cut answer. If you would like to find out what options are available to you in your area, connect with a Bridge Agent today! (Get Quote)

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What are the most popular Medicare Supplement Plans in 2019?

Depending on if and when one enrolls in Medicare, Plan F has been the contender for the most popular Medicare Supplement due to its first-dollar coverage benefits. However, Plan F is no available to NEW enrollees after Jan 1, 2019. So, for new Medicare enrollees after Jan 1, 2019, the most popular Medicare Supplement will be Plan G because it offers the most comprehensive coverage than any other Med Supp Plan on the market.

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“30-Day Lookback gives you the right to opt-out or change your policy”.

How do Medigap Supplements compare with Part C Medicare Advantage (MA)?

Overall, Medicare Supplements may offer more comprehensive coverage when paired with a Part D drug plan. Both options have similarities and vast differences. For example, both are similar in that they are managed by private insurance companies. A Medicare Supplement covers only 20% of your total coverage unlike Medicare Advantage (Part C) which covers 100% of your health plan and is managed 100% by private insurance. Part C may contain a drug plan within it called MA-PD vs. PDPwhich is a stand alone drug plan that works with a Medicare Supplement. Comparing Medigap vs Medicare Advantage Plans can be difficult going at it alone. You cannot be enrolled in both Original Medicare and a Medicare Advantage at the same time. Read about comparing Original Medicare vs Medicare Advantage.

But wait…although, Medicare Advantage Plans are appealing based on price & perks, they can also come with a few medicare pitfalls that may have you reconsider the real “advantage”. For example;

  • Prices have been historically unstable.
  • Your coverage will change annually.
  • You could be locked-in without the future option for a Medigap Plan
  • You’re responsible for out-of-network, Physician costs.
  • No coverage beyond your service area.
  • Must use in-network providers.
  • No travel coverage.
  • May need a referral to see a specilist.

Additionally, If you have a MA plan & diagnosed with a critical illness such as cancer, heart attack or stroke, costs for treatment if the hospital is out-of-network may not be covered in your plan. The max out-of-pocket only applies to covered services and could require a specialist referral. People with MA plans, think they have more coverage than they actually do unlike Medigap plans, which is considered more comprehensive senior health coverage plan.

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How do Medicare Supplements work with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage?

Medicare Supplements are compatible with Original Medicare, enrollees who choose a Supplement will also need to enroll separately in a Part D drug plan. Enrollees have a guaranteed eligibility for a Part D plan when they enroll in Plan D (on-time). It’s best to avoid the Part D Enrollment Penalty by enrolling during your initial enrollment period (also known as, IEP). Did you know that drugs administered in a Hospital setting are generally covered under your Medicare Part A? For more information on enrollments, visit the Medicare Enrollment Periods page.

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How does Dental, Vision & Hearing Insurance (DVH) work with Medicare Supplements?

Good news! Medicare Supplements are compatible with DVH plans however since they are considered standalone plans, DVH’s would need to be purchased separately. By working with a Bridge Agent, we can help you find an affordable DVH insurance plan to fit your needs.

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How does Medicare Supplements work with a Critical Illness Insurance for cancer, heart-attack & stroke coverage (CHAS)?

A Medicare Supplement is compatible with CHAS insurance / cancer plans however since they are considered standalone plans, they would need to be purchased separately. By working with a Bridge Agent, we can help you find an CHAS and/or affordable critical illness insurance plans to fit your needs.

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How does Medicare Supplement work with a Long Term Care Insurance (LTC)?

A Medicare Supplement is compatible with LTC plans however, since they are considered standalone plans, they would need to be purchased separately. There is talk about developing a new Medigap plan to include LTC coverage. By working with a Bridge Agent, we can help you find an affordable LTC insurance plan to fit your needs (LTC).

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How does a Medicare Supplement work with a Health Savings Account (HSA)?

As with all Medicare Supplement Plans, they is not considered a qualified expense to pay out of your Health Savings Account (HSA). However, your HSA can pay for Medicare Parts A, B, C & D. Once enrolled in Medicare, enrollees are no longer able to contribute to their Health Savings Account. However, the funds can be used to pay for qualified Medicare costs stated above. If one postpones Medicare enrollment they may still contribute to their Health Savings but enrolling late will also be subject to a Medicare Late Enrollment Penalty which is a percentage increase of costs per year. Speak with your Financial Advisor to determine what works best for you!

What is the difference between Medicare Supplement Plans & Medigap Plans?

There is no difference between a Medicare Supplement plan vs. medigap plan because they are the same thing, just a different name.

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Can I buy a Medicare Supplement Plan if I have a Medicare Advantage Plan?

No, you cannot have both a Medicare Supplement Plan and a Medicare Advantage Plan at the same time. You must choose between one or the other. Pay very close attention to enrollment dates, eligibility rules when deciding & switching plan types.

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What is the history of Medicare Supplement Insurance? (condensed)

The history of Medicare Supplement Insurance is actually quite extensive since it is and an offshoot of Medicare in general. As you will see, Medicare was an idea long before President Lyndon B. Johnson signed The Medicare Bill back in 1965.

Moreover, Medicare in continually being refined & even redefined as with the more recent, “Medicare for All” movement proposing a shift to a single-payer network.

Additionally, many of the initial/foundational laws that surround Medicare supplement insurance can be read online, including the social security TITLE 18 (XVIII), and more specifically, the Notice of Medicare Benefits: Medicare & Medcare Supplement Information

Thankfully, there have been many efforts to protect seniors health insurance as far back as The Baracus Amendments in 1980 for Medicare Supplement Insurance to protect against substandard and overpriced policies using a panel of standards to regulate insurance. Further Fraud and Kickback prevention: The Medicare and Medicaid Patient and Program Protection Act of 1987. Additional protections included; The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 an expansion of benefits to include outpatient drugs & limit employee co-payments for example. Notice, the H.R.4328 – Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act and lastly, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Furthermore, due to the lack of consistency from private insurers, Medicare Supplement Insurance plans were misleading folks with several instances of sales and marketing deception. Thus, Federal authorities stepped in to help regulate the Medicare Supplement Insurance market. Although participation was considered voluntary for each state, the attempt to standardize private Medicare supplement policies took form in what is known as; OBRA or Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 which ultimately settled the discrepancy.

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What were the results of OBRA?

The results of OBRA would provide protection to consumers from misleading health care purchases and to instantiate Medicare supplement plan consistency standards, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) was created to develop a model for all participating states with a few exceptions, including Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin whom enacted their own state regulations.

Before June 1, 2010, twelve (12) standardized Medicare supplement plans existed labeled Plan A through Plan L or “Letter Plans”. Over the years, some senior health supplement plans have been removed with the addition of two new senior supplement plans. Any plans purchased prior to June 1, 2010 are grandfathered Medicare supplement plans for life.

As of June 2010, ten (10) plans remain which are all standardized by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Medicare Supplement insurance policies are issued plans from private insurance carriers as an alternative to Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans). Each insurance company is different and may not choose to sell particular plans. All plans must obtain a minimum standard of coverage and adhere to Medicare law changes. Policies contain a minimum of a 30 day free-look provision and excluding preexisting conditions are capped at 6 months.

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In Conclusion

It’s easy to see how Medicare Supplements are comprised of many details which at the end of the day, comprise of a health insurance contract. Essentially it all boils down to contract law. Supplements, like Medicare is a deep subject of study filled with confusing nomenclature and wrought with individual complexities between providers, plans and the folks it serves. On this topic, we reviewed the important highlights of Medicare Supplements to help you better understand Medicare Insurance in 2019 from a “complete health plan perspective”. We discussed common questions about Medicare Supplement coverages, benefits, misconceptions and even comparisons details. If you have any question regarding this information contact us at support@bridgecoverage.com for clarification or plan support.

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