The Plan Types Explained & Which are Available in Washington
There are eight types of Medicare Supplement Plans available: A, B, D, G, K, L, M, and N (as of 2020; Plan F and Plan C are being phased out and can no longer be sold to new enrollees). In 2010, these plans were standardized by the federal government in all but three states (Massachussetts, Minnesota, Winsconsin), meaning that a plan type with the same letter will offer the exact same benefits, anywhere you are. The only difference is the price. For example, let’s say one insurer is selling Medigap Plan G for $100. Another insurer in another state is selling Medigap Plan G for $130. Both Plan Gs are identical and will offer you the same coverage; the only difference is the price. Think of it like buying gas. Any gas station you go to basically sells the same product, but at different prices.
Some plan types offer more coverage than others, which is a factor that affects how much you can expect to pay. Plan G is the most comprehensive of the eight plan types and therefore will be more expensive than Plan A (the least comprehensive), for example. Insurance companies do not have to sell all of these plan types, but if they sell any Medigap Plan, they have to offer to sell Plan A.
Important Facts You Should Know About Washington Medicare Supplement
- All Washington Medigap Plans are guaranteed renewable for life. This means that as long as you pay your premiums on time, you cannot be denied coverage due to your health or age, even if you develop a serious condition while on the plan.
- In Washington, Medicare Supplement Plans do not cover vision, dental, hearing, or private-duty nursing insurance, so you may need to purchase additional health insurance for those needs.
- If you have Medigap policy, you will continue to pay your Part B premium in addition to the Medigap policy premium.
- Medicare Supplement Plans only cover individuals, not spouses or families; each individual must purchase their own plan if they want coverage.
- There could be penalties for dropping your Medicare Supplement Plan if you enroll late in your new plan.
Best Time To Buy Medicare Supplement
Ideally, you should buy Medicare Supplement coverage during Washington's Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period lasts for six months and begins on the first day of the month when you are 65 and older and enrolled in Part B Medicare.
If you do not enroll during this period, insurers can deny you coverage or raise prices based on your health status, but if you enroll within your OEP then you are protected, and your plan is guaranteed renewable for life.
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