Medicare Supplement Plans in Rhode Island
Because Original Medicare does not have an annual out-of-pocket maximum, most beneficiaries try to supplement their coverage in some way. Medicare Supplement plans in Rhode Island help pay a variety of healthcare costs, such as coinsurance and deductibles. Commonly known as Medigap, benefits vary widely from plan to plan. The right choice for you depends on your unique situation.
What Is Medigap in Rhode Island?
There are 10 standard Medicare Supplement plans available in Rhode Island (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N). We say "standard" because some insurance companies also provide high-deductible versions of one or more plans.
Medigap plans are standardized, ensuring you get the same benefits with that plan no matter where you buy it. Costs, however, vary according to which insurance company you choose.
Unlike Original Medicare, you may be denied Medigap coverage, even if you're 65 and enrolled in Medicare. This is due to medical underwriting, which is used to determine whether to sell you a Medigap policy and for how much. You can only avoid medical underwriting if you have a guaranteed issue right.
Who Qualifies for Medicare Supplement Insurance in Rhode Island?
At the federal level, you qualify for Medicare Supplement Insurance in Rhode Island as soon as you're aged 65 or older AND enrolled in Original Medicare. Most states also require Medigap insurers to offer plans to beneficiaries who aren't yet 65 but qualify for Medicare due to a disability. Rhode Island, unfortunately, is not one of them. However, one insurer – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island – provides Medigap Plan A to under-65 beneficiaries.
What Does Medigap Cover?
Medicare Supplement coverage varies depending on which plan you choose. At a minimum, every Medigap plan pays the Medicare Part A coinsurance and gives you an additional 365 lifetime reserve days for inpatient care.
The following table details which benefits each Medigap plan includes:
Medicare Supplement Insurance only covers services provided by Original Medicare (Part A, hospital care, and Part B, medical services). It does not include prescription drug coverage. These benefits are available with a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
When Is the Best Time to Join a Medicare Supplement Plan in Rhode Island?
The best time to join a Rhode Island Medicare Supplement plan is during your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP). It begins the day you enroll in Original Medicare and are age 65 or older.
During your Medigap OEP, you cannot be denied a Supplement policy or charge a higher premium for any reason.
If you have Medicare due to a disability, you also qualify for a Medigap OEP once you turn 65. Your application will be treated as if you were brand-new to Medicare.
Medigap Plan C and Medigap Plan F in Rhode Island
As of January 1, 2020, Medigap Plan C and Medigap Plan F are not available for new Medicare beneficiaries. This is due to a change in federal law that prohibits Supplement plans that pay the Medicare Part B deductible.
You can sign up for Medigap Plan D or Medigap Plan G instead. These plans offer the same benefits as Plans C and F, respectively, minus the Part B deductible.
How to Choose a Medigap Plan in Rhode Island
Since Rhode Island Medigap plans are standardized, the first step is deciding how much coverage you want. We recommend choosing a plan with the most comprehensive benefits you can afford, since you may not be able to upgrade your plan later due to medical underwriting.
The pricing method the insurance company uses gives you an idea of how expensive the plan will be long-term. Most Medigap insurers use one of three pricing methods:
- Attained-age rated: Premiums start out low but go up as you age. These policies usually cost the most over time.
- Community rated: Also known as no-age rated, since these plans charge the same premium regardless of age. Over time, these plans cost the least, although you pay more in the beginning.
- Issue-age rated: Premiums are based on your age when you join the plan, not your age throughout the life of the policy. Rates may rise over time due to inflation, though.
Most Rhode Island Medigap insurers use attained-age and issue-age pricing.
Our Find a Plan tool makes it easy to compare Medigap plans in Rhode Island. Simply enter your location information and coverage start date to review Medicare plan options in your area.