Medicare Supplement insurance (also known as Medigap insurance) may cover some of your out-of-pocket costs that you normally have to pay with Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. These expenses may include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medigap plans may help you pay for additional medical expenses resulting from unexpected procedures and hospitalization.
Medigap Plan B is one of 10 standardized Medigap plans available in most states (Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have their own standardized plans). The various Medigap plan types cover different amounts of your Medicare out-of-pocket costs.
Medigap Plan B is not the same as Original Medicare Part B, although their similar names may be confusingly similar.
Medigap Plan B includes the following coverage:
- Medicare Part B copayments and coinsurance
- The first three pints of blood you receive as a hospital inpatient or outpatient (Original Medicare usually covers any pints you receive after the first three)
- Medicare Part A deductible
- Medicare Part A hospital expenses and coinsurance up to 365 additional days after your Medicare benefits are depleted
- Hospice care coinsurance or copayment (Part A)
Medicare Supplement insurance plan B does not cover:
- Medicare Part B deductible
- Medicare Part B excess charges
- Skilled Nursing Facility care coinsurance
- Foreign travel emergency care
Since Medigap Plan B policies are offered by private insurance companies, costs and availability may differ by location and company, although companies must provide the same set of standardized Medigap Plan B benefits.
Medigap plan B costs
Private insurance companies set their own monthly premiums based on any of three price rating systems: community-rated, issue-age-rated, and attained-age-rated. Depending on a variety of factors including location, gender, age, and health status, insurance companies may charge different premiums for the same plan. Companies may not cancel your coverage unless you don’t pay the plan premium, you weren’t truthful on the application, or the Medigap insurance company becomes bankrupt or insolvent.
When to enroll in a Medigap Plan B
The ideal time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan B policy is during your six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which begins on the first day of the month that you’re both aged 65 or over, and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During these six months, you typically have the guaranteed issue right to enroll in the Medigap policy of your choosing, regardless of whether you have any pre-existing health conditions* – as long as you live within the plan’s service area and are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. If you miss this period and decide to apply later on, then you may be subjected to medical underwriting and may be denied enrollment. However, in some situations, you may have a guaranteed issue right to enroll in a Medigap plan outside your Medigap OEP.