Traditional Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) is a federal healthcare program designed to help senior citizens meet their demanding health needs during their golden years. The program is fairly comprehensive, but there are some expenses – often referred to as “gaps” in coverage – which could become expensive if you don’t have any other coverage in place. For many seniors, the answer to this problem is a Medigap (Medicare Supplement Plans in Arizona) insurance policy. Any senior citizen age 65+ who is currently enrolled in Medicare can apply for a Medigap policy.
Federal Regulations for Medicare Supplement Plans in Arizona
There are ten Medigap plans available for purchase, which are all regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). According to the CMS rules, All Medigap plans have to offer the same coverage, regardless of the company selling the policy or where they are located. What does this mean for you? Well, it means that Plan A is exactly the same in all 50 states. The only things that will change are the price you pay, and the company who provides your policy.
Medigap Enrollment in Arizona
Currently, there are ten Medigap plans available for purchase. They are classified alphabetically, A-N (with E, H, I, and J no longer available for purchase). In the chart below, you can see how many Arizona seniors are enrolled in which plan:
Plan Coverage & Cost
Several factors will determine how much your insurance company may charge you for your Medigap policy. For example, a 65 year old, female non-smoker in Orlando will pay a drastically different premium from a 78 year old male in Arizona who regularly uses tobacco products.
There are several different reasons why you may pay the price that you do for your Medigap (Medicare Supplement) policy. Being as healthy as you can is a great way to get a lower rate. But unhealthy habits like smoking can raise it, advanced age can make it more expensive, and health care costs vary by gender, too. Your location and the medical facilities you have access to can also alter your monthly premium. But different insurance companies offer different rates to different customers, so shopping around is a great way to find the lowest rate. Here’s a snapshot of estimated prices in your area:
Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans in Alaska
Arizona, like many other states in the union, has more seniors enrolled in Medigap plan F than any other available plan, making F the most popular by far. It isn’t difficult to see why; Plan F covers all of the gaps which Medicare does not for one single, simple, and relatively affordable monthly premium.
Of course, your personal circumstances may dictate that Plan F isn’t your best option. For tens of thousands of Arizona seniors, plan G is the more affordable option because opting to pay the Medicare Part B deductible out of pocket is cheaper for some than the higher premium they would pay under plan F (which pays the Part B deductible for you, but charges some seniors a higher monthly premium than Plan G).
How do Medicare Plan Ratings Work?
There is a five-star rating system to fairly and effectively evaluate each plan. Variables such as the quality of care, tests, screenings, and customer service contribute the the score. Also considered are important things like how a company manages chronic health conditions. Lastly, these changes are tracked over time to make sure that the company offers consistent, reliable, effective results for their customers. The more successful they are, the higher their star rating.
Helpful Medigap Tips & Tricks
Seniors in Alabama have some unique healthcare needs based on state and local laws. For this reason, we’re in the process of gathering data on plans near you to make sure you can get the plan you need at a great price.
Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions
Do you like to travel? Do you migrate yearly as the seasons change? Do you live out in the country, or is there a general lack of variety when it comes to health care providers in your area? Then you might be better off with a Medigap policy. Sure, there are other ways to supplement your Medicare coverage gaps, but few of them offer the flexibility that Medigap does. With Medicare supplement insurance, you are free to get care from any facility and any doctor which accepts Medicare.
Medicare Supplement plans are not restricted to provider networks the way private health insurance plans are. Many people see this as an advantage because it gives them more choices to make their health care needs. If your doctor, hospital, or chosen medical facility is willing to accept Medicare, then it is highly likely they will accept your Medicare Supplement insurance. This is called “accepting Medicare assignment”, which is what happens when the doctor you visit agrees to accept a Medicare-approved payments for their services. That doctor also files claims on your behalf so that you don’t have to. They won’t charge you more than your co-share, which usually consists of a coinsurance/copayment amount and possible deductibles, if they apply. Search for doctors here.
Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage
In the year 2010, the government passed legislation which changed the way Medicare supplement insurance handled prescription drug coverage. Now that Medicare Part D exists, All Medigap plans which offered prescription drug benefits are being phased out. Vision and dental benefits are a different matter entirely. They have never been covered by either Medicare or Medigap, and must be purchased independently from a private company if you have a need for those services.
Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll
The Medigap enrollment process will vary depending on your age, your Medicare enrollment status, and the company issuing your Medigap policy. Some companies will automatically accept you, no questions asked, if you are newly enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B. But if you wait to enroll, or if you have other health complications, the process might be a little more involved.
- Initial Enrollment Period: When you enroll in Original Medicare, you have 6 months to also sign up for a Medigap policy in order to qualify for the initial enrollment period. Enrolling during the IEP guarantees automatic acceptance and coverage.
- Guaranteed Issue: You are automatically accepted, regardless of your health status. This type of enrollment occurs most often when you are losing an employer or group health plan and find yourself in sudden need of alternative coverage.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): Medigap enrollment isn’t restricted by Annual Enrollment Periods the way other insurance policies are, so feel free to enroll at any time.
- Underwritten: Arguably the most difficult type of enrollment. Your insurance company will ask you personal health questions and possibly require a physical exam before they accept you as a beneficiary.
Free Look Period
If you sign up for a Medigap plan but later realize that it isn’t the right fit, there’s no need to worry – as long as you make that discovery within the first 30 days of coverage. The “Free Look Period” gives seniors the right to cancel their coverage for a full refund within the first 30 days if they aren’t completely satisfied with their purchase.
What Medigap Plan Is Best For Me?
Unfortunately, we can’t answer that question for you. But we can do our best to point you down the right path. You have a wide variety of providers to choose from. Thankfully, we have an equally ample database of Medicare Supplement insurance companies near you. We’ve done all the hard work already – now all you have to do is browse our resources to find the best provider in your area.
In order to get the best plan, you must first take a close look at the company. Make sure you choose a provider that is financially stable, provides good customer service, and has a solid reputation. Next, sit down and really think about what your medical needs may be going into the future. Choose a plan based not on what your needs are right now, but what you think they will be in the coming years. These strategies are the most effective way to get the best value.