Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans in Iowa help pay a variety of healthcare costs. Federal law determines which benefits each plan provides, but the private insurance companies that provide the plans set their own premiums. This page explains your Medicare Supplement plan options, who qualifies, and how to choose the best coverage for your unique needs.
What is Medigap in Iowa?
More commonly known as Medigap, Medicare Supplement Insurance helps pay some of your out-of-pocket costs with Original Medicare. This includes Medicare Part A, hospital insurance, and Medicare Part B, medical insurance.
Plans only cover services provided by Original Medicare, which means you cannot use a Medigap plan to pay for prescription medications, eyeglasses, dental care, or hearing aids.
Since Original Medicare doesn't limit out-of-pocket costs, beneficiaries join Medigap plans as protection against medical debt.
There are 10 basic Medigap plans: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. Not every insurer offers every plan, and some insurance companies provide high-deductible versions of one or more Supplement plan options.
The plans are standardized, meaning Plan A offers the same benefits no matter which insurer you buy from. The same is true of all Medigap plans. Costs, however, are not standardized.
Finally, Medigap insurers use a process known as medical underwriting to decide whether to approve an application and how much to charge for the monthly premium. Applicants answer a series of questions regarding age, tobacco use, and medical history. The only way to avoid medical underwriting is if you have a guaranteed issue right. In this instance, you cannot be denied coverage or charged more for it, even if you have preexisting medical conditions.
Who qualifies for Medicare Supplement Insurance in Iowa?
You qualify for Medicare Supplement Insurance in Iowa if you are age 65 or older and enrolled in Original Medicare.
Most states also require Medigap insurers to provide coverage to under-65 Medicare beneficiaries who qualify due to a disability. Iowa, however, is not one of them. There are a few insurance companies offering such coverage, but premiums are usually several times higher than what over-65 beneficiaries pay.
Iowa does have a high-risk insurance pool called HIPIOWA for under-65 Medicare beneficiaries.
What does Medigap cover?
Medigap coverage varies depending on which plan you choose. At a minimum, though, every Supplement plan pays your Part A coinsurance and provides an additional 365 lifetime reserve days for inpatient hospital care. See the table below for details on each plan's benefits.
You cannot get prescription drug coverage with Medigap. This is available with a standalone Medicare Part D plan. If you prefer, you may also join a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MA-PD). However, if you leave Original Medicare for an Advantage plan, you cannot have Medigap.
Medigap Plan C and Medigap Plan F in Iowa
As of January 1, 2020, new Medicare beneficiaries may no longer join Medigap Plan C or Medigap Plan F. If you already had one of these plans, you may keep it. And if you qualified for Medicare before 2020, you may join Plans C or F, although you should expect premiums to rise sharply over the next few years.
A better option is to join either Medigap Plan D or Medigap Plan G, which provide the same coverage as Plans C and F, with the exception of the Medicare Part B deductible. Most beneficiaries pay less out-of-pocket for Plans D and G, thanks to lower premiums.
When is the best time to join a Medicare Supplement plan in Iowa?
Your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is best time to join a Medicare Supplement plan in Iowa. It starts the day you are both age 65 or older and enrolled in Original Medicare.
The Medigap OEP is one of the few times you have guaranteed issue rights. If you apply for Supplement Insurance during your OEP, you cannot be denied coverage or charged more for it.
How to choose a Medigap plan in Iowa
When choosing an Iowa Medigap plan, the first step is deciding how much coverage you need. We recommend considering your future healthcare needs, since medical underwriting makes buying more comprehensive coverage difficult if you wait until you actually need it.
Your next consideration is cost. Iowa Medigap insurers use one of three pricing methods:
- Attained-age rated: Premiums start out low but go up as you age. These policies are usually the most expensive option over time.
- Community rated: Also known as no-age rated, because these plans charge the same premium regardless of age. Over time, you pay less for community rated plans.
- Issue-age rated: Premiums are based on your age at the time you join the plan and won't go up just because you get older. They may rise over time due to inflation, though.
Our Find a Plan tool makes it easy to compare Medigap plans in Iowa. Simply enter your location information to review Medicare plan options in your area.
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