There will be some changes to Medicare Supplements in 2010. Before we get into detail about the changes, let's review what we know about Medicare Supplements.
What is a Medicare Supplement?
Medi-care was established as a major medical insurance plan. Deductibles and coinsurances were built in and some costs were excluded entirely. Medicare Supplement insurance was created to cover costs or gaps not covered by Medicare and to coordinate with Medicare.
Why should I purchase a Medicare supplement?
A Medicare beneficiary would purchase a Medicare supplement to fill the gaps that Medicare does not pay.
What are other names for Medicare supplements?
Medicare supplements are also called Medigap or Med Sup policies.
Do Medicare supplements work with Medicare Advantage plans or alternatives to Medicare?
Medicare supplements ONLY work with Original Medicare.
How are Medicare Supplements regulated?
Medicare Supplements are regulated by the state and federal governments.
What does the current Medicare Supplement coverage look like?
Currently, Medicare supplements are sold in plans lettered A through L. See the graph for coverage options.
What are the changes that take effect June 1, 2010?
Medicare supplement policies E, H, I and J will be eliminated.
New plans M and N will be sold. These plans will have higher beneficiary cost shares and anticipated lower premiums for beneficiaries.
All plans will now have a new hospice benefit.
What does standardization mean with Medicare Supplements?
Benefits are identical for all Medicare Supplement plans of the same type; this is called standardization.
For example, all type F Medicare supplements have to offer identical coverage, all type C Medicare supplements have to offer identical coverage, etc. Many companies sell Medicare supplements; it is good to check premium costs to make sure you are getting a fair price. Prices vary by the company and the applicant's age.
Additionally, many employer group health plans or alternatives to Medicare work different than Medicare Supplements and are not standardized. Researching your health care options is an important part of being a wise consumer.
Can I keep my current supplement or make any changes to it?
Yes, existing policyholders may keep their old policies. Your benefits will remain the same. If you are happy with your current policy, you do nothing.
Companies can offer exiting policyholders the opportunity to leave their old policy and purchase a new policy; however, in most circumstances they do not have to accept you. Check with a life/health insurance agent in your area to see if you qualify before you drop your current Medicare supplement.
Who can I contact if I have additional questions?
Contact the N.D. Insurance Department at 1-888-575-6611 (toll free) or visit (www.nd.gov/ndins).