If you're eligible for Medicare A, B and D, you're eligible for supplementary plans. However, depending on the state you live in, you may face a waiting period to cover pre-existing conditions. It's a good idea to start reviewing Medicare coverage aroudn your 64th birthday. The window to sign up starts 3 months before you 65th birthday, and there are penalties if you sign up late, so sign up quickly so the plan is up and running when you turn 65.
What is Supplemental Insurance
Supplemental insurance covers what Medicare
- A: Hospitalization
- B: Doctor visits and outpatient care, and
- D: Drugs
don't cover. Supplemental insurance can be customized to your needs. For example, you can purchase additional vision and dental insurance to cover what A, B and D don't cover if you need this coverage.
Basic Medicare Vs. Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage is a bundled insurance plan offered by a private company but mandated and monitored by the government. If you're considering signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan, be aware that supplemental insurance purchased by you cannot be paired with Medicare Advantage. Again, your personal circumstances will have a big impact on whether you purchase supplemental or gap coverage in addition to basic Medicare. Just take care not to sign up for the Advantage plan if you need gap coverage for a specific issue or appliance.
If you're 65 or older, you can qualify for Medicare parts A, B & D. In addition, those on disability, dialysis or those suffering from ALS can qualify for Medicare. Your ability to sign up for a supplement plan will be impacted by the state you live in if you are under the age of 65.
As noted above, part A covers hospitalizations and B covers doctor's visits. To get supplemental insurance, you must sign up for part B and stay current on the premiums.
Timing is Critical
Pre-existing conditions can either cost you more or make it possible to deny supplemental coverage. The period to sign up for Medicare starts 3 months before your 65th birthday. Do your homework with a supportive service such as medisupps.com so you know what supplemental insurance will work the best for you once you start getting Medicare benefits.
Sign up for part A, B & D as soon as you can and purchase your supplemental policy at that time to avoid late sign-up penalties. By signing up as soon as you're eligible, you may reduce the risk of being denied or charged more because of a pre-existing condition. Open enrollment periods are extremely important in getting the best deal.
In addition to the time around your 65th birthday, you will have the chance to study changes during the open enrollment period from 10/15 to 12/7 each year. The rules around Medicare are constantly changing and some policies may be going away, so study what your options are at the end of the summer months so you're ready to go with any changes you need to make on 10/15.