The federal Medicare program is a kind of health insurance which provides for several of the hospital- and doctor-related health-related costs of senior citizens. Regrettably, there are coverage gaps that Medicare does not cover, and these gaps in coverage can get expensive very quickly if you’re relying upon Medicare on it’s own to cover your needs. Fortunately, there’s a type of supplemental insurance referred to as “Medigap” which gives a reasonable option for retirees that want to defend their finances from these gaps.
Federal Regulations for Medicare Supplements
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are accountable for overseeing Medigap plans. This helps make sure that, of the 10 offered plans, all insurance companies in all 50 states provide the identical plans and coverage options. Using this method, the only difference from one insurance carrier to another is the price of your monthly premium.
Medigap Enrollment In Georgia
As you can see from the chart below, Plan F is the most popular Medicare supplement in Georgia as well as many other states. Plan M is the least popular plan, with only 11 seniors enrolled in that particular supplement.
Plan Coverage & Cost
A number of elements will determine how much your insurance broker could charge you for your Medicare supplement plan. For example, a 65 year-old, female non-smoker in New Orleans can pay a drastically different premium from a 78 year-old man in Georgia who routinely uses tobacco products.
The cost of a Medicare Supplement plan will vary depending on a number of factors. Like all health insurance plans there will be a health questionnaire to complete. Basically, they will be looking for your overall general health, your medical history, use of tobacco, age and gender. In addition to health questions, where you live in Georgia will also have an impact on the premium due to different health care costs in different areas. We’ve put together a chart to give you an idea of what other people living near you are paying for their plan.
Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans in Georgia
Georgia, like a number of other states in the nation, has more senior citizens participating in Medigap plan F than any other accessible plan, making F the favorite hands down. It isn’t difficult to understand; Plan F covers all the gaps which Medicare doesn’t for one single, basic, and comparatively reasonably priced monthly premium.
Plan C ranks a distant second among Georgia seniors. Plan C is not as comprehensive as Plan F, because it doesn’t cover Medicare Plan B excess charges. However, this is the only gap which it does not cover, and if you don’t plan on making too many doctor visits, this could be the more cost-effective plan for you, too.
How do Medicare Plan Ratings Work?
Each year, right around enrollment season, Medicare produces a report based on data they have been gathering on Medicare plans. They assign star ratings after considering many factors. You can use these ratings to help form an opinion about a particular Medicare insurance company. The five areas that Medicare rates includes, how well the plan uses screenings and inoculations as preventive medicine, chronic disease management, member experiences, member complaints and changes in service levels, and customer service.
Helpful Medigap Tips & Tricks
Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions
One of the main reasons Medicare supplemental insurance plans are well liked among retirees is their flexibility. Contrary to other supplement plans, Medigap insurance doesn’t come with any restrictive HMO or PPO provider networks. You may use any doctor which welcomes Medicare, in any state, no matter where you happen to be. So if you love to take a trip, if you are in a rural area, or for those who are one of the millions of “snow birds” who migrate south for the winter, your access to good health care won’t be constrained.
With a Medigap plan, if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor (providing he or she accepts Medicare). Medigap allows you to use any healthcare provider, anywhere in the country, as long as they agree to accept Medicare assignment. Accepting Medicare assignment means the doctor agrees to the rates Medicare is willing to pay, agreeing not to charge you more than the copay required by your plan, and agreeing to file a medical claim with Medicare on your behalf. Other types of plans often restrict your choice of doctors to those in a specific network. If your doctor is not a member of that network, any services you receive from him or her will not be covered.
Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage
Regrettably, neither dental nor vision care is covered by Medicare or Medigap. Until the laws change, you must purchase vision & dental insurance from a private company on your own, or pay out of pocket. Prescription drugs, however, are a different story. Medicare supplemental insurance used to offer prescription drug coverage until eventually Medicare Part D came along. Given that Part D is offering that service for senior citizens, it’s no longer required for Medigap plans to provide such benefits.
Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll
There are different ways to sign up for a Medicare supplement policy. However, keep in mind that all of them require you to enroll in Medicare first. If you enroll at the right time, simply becoming a Medicare beneficiary will allow you to purchase Medigap coverage, no strings attached. Other companies may limit you if you enroll later or if you have chronic health conditions.
- Initial Enrollment Period: Enroll in a Medigap plan within your first 6 months of receiving Medicare benefits, and you won’t be asked any invasive health questions or denied coverage.
- Guaranteed Issue: You will not be rejected for coverage, even with a health condition. This is a popular option among seniors transferring from an employer or group plan.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): The AEP actually applies to many different insurance policies. Medigap enrollment is not restricted by AEP rules.
- Underwritten: A complicated process in which you must answer questions about your health and possibly undergo a physical exam before your chosen insurance company will offer to sell you a policy.
Free Look Period
The free look period protects seniors like you from being stuck with a Medigap plan which does not meet your needs. Within your first 30 days of purchasing a new plan, you are free to decide whether or not to keep your coverage, or cancel it without being financially responsible. Any upfront costs you pay during your first 30 days will be refunded should you decide to cancel your benefits.
What Medigap Plan Is Best For Me?
Only you can decide what the best Medigap plan is for you but we’re here to advise you with our expertise. We would suggest that it’s one that you fully understand, makes sense for your personal health circumstances, and is affordable. Finding that plan can take a lot of tedious research. At Medigap.com, we try to make the task easier by providing a wealth of information for you to use. It starts with just knowing what is on the market so we have compiled a list of Medigap plans available in Georgia to assist you.
Keep in mind the value of an insurance company is about more than the cost of its premiums. Make sure your selection is financially stable and possesses a solid reputation.