If you have Original Medicare, you may want to consider augmenting your coverage with a Medicare Supplement plan. More commonly known as Medigap, these plans help cover some of your out-of-pocket costs. On this page, we explain Medicare Supplement Insurance plans in Alabama, who qualifies, and when you should enroll.
What Is Medigap in Alabama?
As they do across the United States, Medigap plans in Alabama help pay some of your out-of-pocket costs with Original Medicare. This may include coinsurance, hospice care, and deductibles.
Unlike Medicare Advantage, there is no yearly out-of-pocket max with Original Medicare. That could leave you owing significant medical bills – particularly if you have multiple or lengthy hospital stays. All Medigap plans cover your Medicare Part A coinsurance and even give you an additional 365 lifetime reserve days.
There are 10 standard Medigap plans as well as some high-deductible options. Availability depends on where you live. They are A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. Please note that Plan C and Plan F are no longer available to people who became eligible for Medicare beginning in 2020.
Medigap plans are standardized, which means that Plan A offers the same benefits no matter which insurance company you choose. The same is true of Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, etc.
If you do not have a guaranteed issue right, your Medigap application goes through a process known as medical underwriting. The insurance company asks a series of questions about your health and medical history. It then uses your answers to determine whether to sell you a Supplement plan and for how much.
Finally, Medicare Supplement plans are not standalone health insurance the way Advantage is. They simply help pay your share of costs for covered services. You cannot use your Medigap policy to pay for services not included with Original Medicare.
Who Qualifies for Medigap in Alabama?
If you have Original Medicare and are over age 65, you qualify for Medigap in Alabama. If you are under 65 and have Medicare due to a disability, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), Alabama does not require insurers to offer you a Medigap plan. You may apply for a Medicare Supplement plan, but you do not have guaranteed issue rights. This means your policy will likely go through medical underwriting. Even if you're approved for a Medigap plan, your premium will likely be much higher than Medicare beneficiaries who are over 65.
For more information about your Medigap options in Alabama, please see the Department of Insurance.
What Does Medicare Supplement Insurance Cover?
Medicare Supplement Insurance coverage depends on which plan you choose. At a minimum, every Medigap plan pays for Part A hospital coinsurance and at least a portion of your Medicare Part B coinsurance.
While benefits are standardized, costs vary according to the plan and insurance company you choose.
Medicare Supplement Insurance only pays for services covered by Original Medicare. If you require prescription drug coverage, you need to join either a standalone Medicare Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MA-PD). Please note that you cannot have both a Medicare Advantage plan AND a Medicare Supplement plan.
Medigap Plan C and Medigap Plan F in Alabama
Plans that cover the Medicare Part B deductible are no longer available to people who qualify for Medicare after January 1, 2020. If you qualified before that date, you may join one of those plans or keep your plan if you already have it. However, we recommend not joining either plan, even if you can. The reason is simple. Historically, prices go up once a Medigap plan is discontinued.
You can get comparable coverage with Plan D or Plan G. These cover everything Plans C and F did, with the exception of the Part B deductible.
When Is the Best Time to Join a Medigap Plan in Alabama?
The best time to join a Medigap plan in Alabama is when during your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This is one of the few times you have a guaranteed issue right.
Your Medigap OEP begins the day you are both age 65 and enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B).
Guaranteed issue rights means that your application will not go through medical underwriting. If you apply for Medigap during your OEP, you cannot be charged more for your plan or denied coverage – even if you have preexisting medical conditions.
How to Choose a Medigap Plan in Alabama
Since Medigap plans are standardized, comparing your options is fairly straightforward. Consider which benefits the plan includes to determine the level of coverage you need and want. Remember, though, that you need to think of your future needs, as well. You may be tempted to buy the cheapest plan you can get. Unfortunately, medical underwriting means you'll likely be stuck with that plan for the entire time you have Medicare – even if your medical needs change. We usually recommend people get the level of coverage they expect they'll need in the future.
When comparing costs, take the time to review the insurance carrier. You want a company you can trust.
Our Find a Plan tool makes it easy to compare Medigap plans in Alabama. Just enter your location and coverage start date to review plan options in your area.
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