June 1, 2010 New Medicare Supplements (Medigap)

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by Mary Jane Stern

Are you turning 65 in 2010?  If so, you are now eligible for Medicare. You might be starting out looking for information for the type of coverage you need.  Or, perhaps you have decided to enroll in Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan.

About Medigap Plans

The first thing you must recognize is that each and every Medigap plan no matter who offers the plan, are all identical. From Plan A to Plan M everything that is offered must be the same from one provider to another.  The only difference is price.  So you need to call around to those companies who are writing the plans in your area and get a quote.  You would be surprised that the quotes can differ in some instances by almost $200 per month.

One of the drawbacks of a Medigap plan is you generally don’t have any rights to switch to a different plan.  There isn’t any open enrollment for Medigap plans.  There may be some chance to switch during your initial six-month open enrollment or if you are eligible for any type of guaranteed issue rights.

June 2010 - Medigap plans are changing:

  • Medigap Plans E, H, I and J are being eliminated and are no longer offered
  • Hospice Part A co-insurance becomes a core/basic benefit in all plans.
  • Plan G increases the benefit for Part B Excess Charges to 100%
  • Two new Medigap plans M and N become available

The two new Medigap plans, M and N have similar benefits to Plan D, but with more cost sharing

Plan M – Covers 50% of the Part A deductible and none of the Part B deductible.  It is expected to cost about 85% of what a Plan F would cost.

Plan N – has a $20 copayment after the Part B deductible has been met, for doctor visits and $50 co-pay for emergency room visits.  They expect the cost of this plan to be about 70 percent of Plan F.

Confused – it is very confusing and sometimes I believe they do this intentionally.  You can’t get a price unless you call one of the providers and not all providers write every plan.   I found out there are only 4 providers offering Plan F in my area, but 27 providers offer Plan A.

What this really comes down to is how much you want to spend each month on supplemental insurance?  I looked for the “best bang for the buck” when looking for my husband’s supplemental plan.  What I found was a difference of about $35 per month from the least expensive plan to the plan with the best benefits with our provider. I also had quotes from $180 per month to over $350+ per month.  We enrolled in Plan F.

Whatever you do, don’t settle on calling only one provider and getting only one quote.  Go to www.medicare.gov and Compare Health Plans for a Medigap Plan. Find out what plans are available in your area, who are the insurance companies writing the plans, and what plans are they offering.  It’s all there on the site except the actual monthly premium.

Medigap is all about price.  Service is also important and the best reference you can get is from your doctor’s office.

2010 Medigap - Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

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