Enrolling in a Medigap Policy

A Medigap policy can be an excellent addition to your original Health Care coverage.  Run by private insurance companies and adhering to federal and state laws, Medigap policies, depending on type and location, may help cover your costs of a number of Medicare-covered services, like deductibles, copayments, blood, skilled nursing facility care, and foreign travel emergency.   

If you’ve decided on adding this type of policy, you should now find out which insurance companies sell Medigap policies in your state.  You can call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program for information.  Often, they may have a “Medigap rate comparison shopping guide” which lists your states’ companies and their costs.  You can also call your State Insurance Department. 

Of course, before choosing a plan, you will need to find the one that bests meets your budget and health needs. Compare insurance companies in terms of services and price; don’t hesitate to call around and ask questions!

It’s a good idea not to wait, once you’ve chosen your plan.  The ideal time to enroll, like most Medicare plans, is when you are first eligible.  From three months prior to three months following your 65th birthday, Medigap insurance companies can’t refuse to sell you any Medigap policy it has or charge you more for a Medigap policy due to your health problems.  It also can’t make you wait for coverage (other than for a pre-existing condition). After your enrollment period, a Medigap insurance company may choose not sell you a policy or may limit your choices.  You can also end up paying more for your coverage.

When you’ve chosen your policy and company and are ready to apply, contact your chosen insurance company.  They are required to give you a clearly worded summary of the policy you are applying for, and must answer any questions you have in terms of understanding it.  Fill out the application carefully and correctly.  When you pay for your policy, it’s advisable to use a check, money order, or bank draft, and don’t make it out to the agent but rather to the company.  Make sure you get a receipt containing the insurance company’s information! 

Purchasing a Medigap Policy to supplement your Original Medicare Plan can be a valuable investment.  Prompt and thoroughly researched enrollment is key, however, when getting the most out of a Medigap policy. 

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