Medicare Supplement Plans in Louisiana
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans in Louisiana help cover a variety of out-of-pocket medical costs, such as coinsurance and deductibles. Also known as Medigap, private insurers provide these plans, with Medicare setting guidelines regarding benefits and coverage. On this page, we describe Medigap plan options in Louisiana, who qualifies, and how to choose the best coverage for your unique needs.
What Is Medigap in Louisiana?
There are 10 standardized Medigap plans, each represented by a letter (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N). Not all insurers offer every Medigap plan and some provide high-deductible versions of one or more options.
"Standardized" means that each plan "letter" has the same benefits, no matter which insurance company provides it. While benefits are standardized, though, premiums vary according to which insurer you choose.
The main reason Medicare beneficiaries choose to join a Medigap plan is that there is no annual out-of-pocket limit with Original Medicare. That means that, if you have any chronic conditions or require a lengthy hospital stay, you could face significant medical bills. A Medigap policy helps protect you from this type of debt.
You can only join a Medicare Supplement plan if you have Original Medicare. This includes:
- Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient care received in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF)
- Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient services, such as doctor visits, durable medical equipment (DME), and lab work
Neither Part A nor Part B covers prescription medications.
Supplement plans are not standalone insurance, such as Medicare Advantage, TRICARE, and Medicaid. (You cannot have both Medigap and a Medicare Advantage plan.)
Each state is allowed to set certain guidelines around Medigap, as long as they at least meet the minimum federal guidelines. Most states have enacted some sort of consumer protections. In Louisiana, Medigap insurers must spend at least 65 percent of premiums on their enrollees' claims. For those in group Medigap plans, that requirement jumps to 75 percent.
Who Qualifies for Medicare Supplement Insurance in Louisiana?
If you're enrolled in Original Medicare, you qualify for Medicare Supplement Insurance in Louisiana. Under-65 enrollees who qualify for Medicare due to a disability, however, may be charged higher premiums than their over-65 counterparts.
What Does Medigap Cover?
Medigap plan benefits vary according to which plan you choose. At a minimum, though, every Medicare Supplement plan covers the Part A coinsurance and gives you an extra 365 lifetime reserve days for inpatient hospital care. The following table outlines benefits under each Medigap plan:
Supplement Insurance only covers services provided by Original Medicare, which does not include prescription drugs. For this protection, you need to join a standalone Medicare Part D plan. You can get the same coverage with a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MA-PD). However, if you join an Advantage plan (with or without drug coverage), you cannot sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan.
Medigap Plan C and Medigap Plan F in Louisiana
As of January 1, 2020, federal law prohibits new beneficiaries from joining a Supplement plan that covers the Medicare Part B deductible. Two plans – Medigap Plan C and Medigap Plan F – provide this coverage, which means neither plans is available to beneficiaries who qualified for Medicare after December 31, 2019.
If you already have one of these plans, you may keep it. You can also join Plan C or Plan F if you qualified for Medicare before January 1, 2020. However, you should expect premiums to rise significantly over the next few years.
We recommend Medigap Plan D or Medigap Plan G, which provide the same benefits as Plans C and F, minus the Part B deductible. And with lower premiums, most enrollees pay less out-of-pocket, even though these plans don't cover the Part B deductible.
When Is the Best Time to Join a Medicare Supplement Plan in Louisiana?
Your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is the best time to join a Medicare Supplement plan in Louisiana. It starts the day you enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and is one of the few times you have guaranteed issue rights.
If you're age 65 or older, guaranteed issue rights means that insurance companies can neither deny you coverage nor charge you a higher premium. Those who qualify for Medicare due to a disability and are under age 65 are only guaranteed coverage. Medigap insurers may charge them a higher rate – and most do.
Outside of your OEP, if you don't qualify for guaranteed issue, your Medigap application goes through medical underwriting. This process involves answering a series of questions about age, medical history, and personal habits like tobacco use.
How to Choose a Medigap Plan in Louisiana
When choosing a Louisiana Medigap plan, the first step is determining how much coverage you need. We generally recommend getting the most robust coverage you can afford, since medical underwriting makes it difficult (if not impossible) to change plans after your Medigap OEP.
Once you decide which Medigap plan you want, it's time to compare costs. Louisiana Medigap insurers typically use one of two pricing methods:
- Issue-age rated: Premiums are based on your age at the time you join the plan, not your age throughout the life of the policy. They may rise over time due to inflation, though.
- Attained-age rated: Premiums start out low but rise as you age. These plans usually cost the most over the lifetime of the policy.
Our Find a Plan tool makes it easy to compare Medigap plans in Louisiana. Simply enter your location information and coverage start date to review Medicare plan options in your area.