Medicare Supplement insurance is the type of insurance that fills in the “gaps” in Medicare. It is also called Medigap. These plans are offered through private companies, and they pay some, or in some cases (i.e. Plan F) all, of what Medicare does not pay at the doctor and hospital.
Carolina Medicare Supplement.com specializes in North Carolina Medigap plans, as well as plans for South Carolina. Here are the top five things to understand and know about Medigap plans, particularly important if you are just turning 65 or going on Medicare for the first time:
- The Medigap plans offer completely standardized coverage. In other words, a Plan F, for example, with one company is the exact same as a Plan F with another. See the standardized plans coverage chart: Medigap Coverage chart.
- Medigap plan rates vary by age, zip code, gender, and in some cases, health or tobacco usage.
- The claims for Medicare supplement policies are paid through the Medicare “Crossover” system. This system ensures that providers are paid in the same amount on the same time schedule, regardless of what company insures you.
- There is another type of plan called a Medicare Advantage plan. This is a privatized version of Medicare. Do not confuse this with Medicare Supplement coverage. Medicare Advantage plans replace Medicare; they don’t supplement it.
- Medicare Supplement plans do not include prescription drug coverage (Rx). That always goes through Medicare Part D. So to have drug coverage, you must sign up for Medicare Part D.
Why You Should “Shop” For Medicare Supplements
As discussed above, Medicare Supplement insurance is Federally-standardized. North Carolina Medicare Supplements are the same as plans in other states. That is, all companies are required to offer the exact same standard coverage plans. That makes price and company reputation the only two factors that matter in your supplement plan choice. It simply does not make sense to pay more for the same thing. Whether we help you or someone else does, it definitely pays to make sure you are getting the best available premium rates on your Medicare Supplement coverage in North or South Carolina.
Here is a step-by-step guide to comparing Medicare Supplement plan options:
- First, understand the basics. Here they are: the plans are standardized, there are no networks, the plans pay claims the same way, you can sign up or leave the plan at any time, and your age/zip code determines your rate. This is the chart that shows what the plans cover.
- Next, get the quotes you need to compare the plans (Get A Quote now). The easiest way to do this, with the technology that is available now, is online through a broker that works with all of the companies that do the plans in your area. The alternative is calling the companies individually, which you certainly can do, but it would be very time-consuming and some companies require face-to-face meetings.
- After you have obtained the quotes, usually by email, you can simple compare “apple to apples”. See below for a more detailed explanation about the plan differences. But once you know what plan you want, you can compare rates for that plan. We always recommend taking the lowest, or close to the lowest, priced option for the plan you want, simply because the coverage is the same
What Do the Different Supplement Plans Cover?
Even though the plans are standardized when it comes to Medicare Supplements, you still must understand what the different plans cover in order to make an accurate comparison of the options.
First and foremost, it is easiest to start with the top level of plans – Plan F. This plan is the most comprehensive Medigap plan available. It is designed to pay everything that Medicare A & B do not cover at the doctor and hospital so that you don’t have any out of pocket costs. It is also the most common plan, with approximately 42% of people who purchase a Medigap going with that plan.
From there, we go down to the next levels of coverage, Plans C and G. Each of these plans has only one difference from Plan F. With Plan C, the only difference is that Plan C does not cover the Part B Excess charges. This is a very rare occurrence. However, the premium difference between F and C is usually very minimal, and many companies do not offer both plans – only one or the other (usually F). Plan G is very similar to F as well – the only difference between G and F is that G doesn’t cover the Medicare Part B deductible ($140/year during 2012).
The next commonly-available option is Plan N. Plan N is a relatively new plan that has been popular with people who are in good health. On Plan N, you have some cost-sharing but a lower premium. The plan does not cover the Medicare Part B Deductible (as mentioned above, $140/year in 2012). Also, it has a $20 co-pay at the doctor’s office and a $50 co-pay at the emergency room. Lastly, it does not cover the Part B Excess charges – they are very rare and only happen in 1% of instances nationwide – but it is something to consider.
There are other plan options that are not as popular (with consumer or companies) – these include A, B, D, M, K and L. Many companies that do business here in the Carolinas do not offer all, or any, of these plan options.
NC and SC Medigap Plans: Our Specialty
North Carolina and South Carolina Medigap insurance can be overwhelming. Choosing a plan takes your time, energy, and patience. We eliminate the hassle of doing so by providing all of the information in a centralized place and in an unbiased way. In particular, we specialize in the following markets: turning 65 (aging in to Medicare), losing/terminating employer coverage, and existing Medicare Supplement policyholders’ replacements to save money. However, with thousands of satisfied clients, we have worked with many unique situations.
We specialize in plans available in the following North Carolina and South Carolina markets: Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Hickory, Raleigh, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, Aiken, Columbia, Greenville, Rock Hill and Bluffton. However, we can help you wherever you are in the Carolinas. Get a Medigap quote today and give us a chance to earn your business and save you some money on your North or South Carolina Medigap plans!