A Brief Overview of Medicare Supplement Plans
While Medicare Parts A and B, also known as Original Medicare, cover some health care costs, they don’t pay for everything. That’s where an AARP Medicare Supplement insurance plan may help. Medicare Supplement insurance plans, also known as Medigap, from private insurers help you pay for the costs not covered under your Original Medicare benefits.
Medicare Supplement plans are set by the federal government which means that the basic benefit structure is the same from one insurance company to the next. However, some plans do offer additional benefits.
There are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans. Each plan has a letter assigned to it. The letters are specific to Medicare Supplement plans and have nothing to do with the parts of Original Medicare. For example, Medicare Supplement Plan B is not the same as Medicare Part B.
Each Medicare Supplement plan offers the same basic benefits but some offer additional benefits. In Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Medigap policies are structured differently.
Insurance companies can choose which Medigap policies it wants to offer, as long as they comply with the state’s requirements. Insurance companies that sell Medigap policies:
- Don’t have to offer every Medigap plan
- Must offer Medigap Plan A if they offer any Medigap policy
In this article, you will learn about AARP’s Medicare Supplement plans.
AARP Medicare Supplement Plans
Through UnitedHealthcare, AARP offers eight Medicare Supplement plans. In 2019, they had over four million members enrolled within their supplement plans.
Although all of the plans are the same regardless of which insurance company you choose, each private insurer has the option to offer additional benefits.
One of the benefits that AARP’s plans emphasize is their speediness of service. They reportedly successfully process 98% of claims within 10 days. In addition to timeliness, some additional benefits may include:
- The ability to see any specialist without a referral
- Limited claim forms to fill out
- Coverage during your travel
- Medicare Part A hospitalization coverage — usually there is a coinsurance fee associated with Medicare Part A, some AARP Supplement plans will cover this cost plus coverage for 365 additional days after Medicare benefits end
- Medicare Part B medical expenses — usually there is a coinsurance or copayment fee associated with hospital outpatient services under Medicare Part B, some AARP Supplement plans will help cover these costs
- Blood — some plans will cover the first three pints of blood each year
- Medicare Part A hospice care — usually there is a coinsurance or copayment fee associated with hospice care, some AARP Supplement plans will help cover these costs
- Skilled nursing facility care — usually there is a coinsurance fee associated with skilled nursing care, some AARP Supplement plans will help cover these costs
- Medicare Part A deductible — some AARP Supplement plans will cover your deductible
- Medicare Part B deductible — some AARP Supplement plans will cover your deductible
- Medicare Part B excess charges — some AARP Supplement plans will cover these additional fees sometimes related to extended care
- Foreign travel emergency care — some AARP Supplement plans will extend coverage to you during your travels outside of the United States
- Annual out-of-pocket maximum — some AARP Supplement plans will limit how your out-of-pocket costs and cover the remaining balance if your expenses exceed this amount
Reasons to Consider AARP Medicare Supplement Plans
Overall, Medicare Supplement insurance plans give you more complete coverage by helping you pay for some of the out-of-pocket costs that Medicare does not cover.
With AARP Medicare Supplement plans:
- You’re able to keep your own doctor who accepts Medicare patients
- See any specialist without a referral
- There are no claim forms to fill out
- Coverage goes with you anywhere in the U.S. when you travel
The Costs Associated With AARP Medicare Supplement Plans
The cost of each plan is dependent upon your area or region and specific coverage needs.
Are You Eligible For AARP Medicare Supplement Plans
To be eligible for Medicare Supplemental coverage, you must already be on Medicare or turning 65. You can enroll for Medicare coverage up to three months before your 65th birthday and up to three months after your birthday. This is known as the Open Enrollment Period. If you already receive Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare.
The Open Enrollment Period for buying Medicare Supplemental coverage is six months after you turn 65. During this period, the insurer cannot take into consideration any pre-existing medical conditions if you enroll during this “open enrollment” period. Even though the carrier cannot prevent you from buying supplemental insurance, they can make you wait another six months until the coverage goes into effect for pre-existing conditions.
If you are worried about the expense of copays, coinsurance, and deductibles not covered by Medicare, an AARP Medicare Supplement plan may be a good fit for your insurance needs.
To enroll in AARP Medicare Supplement plans, you must first become an AARP member. You can complete the AARP membership application online. If you have more questions about AARP’s Medicare Supplement plan, you can contact AARP for more information, or request a free quote. Call toll-free at 888-OUR-AARP (888-687-2277) or email email@example.com.