What Do You Need To Know About Medigap?

You're getting ready to turn 65, and are set to apply for Medicare. But wait—is that the only insurance you need? Medigap is a supplemental policy that covers some of the costs that Medicare Part A and Part B don't. It may pay for (or help you to pay for) deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Before you buy a policy, take a look at what you need to know about this supplemental insurance.

Travel Safely

Along with paying for deductibles and other non-eligible Medicare expenses, a Medigap policy may cover healthcare costs outside the U.S. (if you get sick or injured while traveling). Why is this important to you? If you plan on visiting Europe, Australia, or anywhere else in the world during your retirement, you may need health insurance. Something as simple as a twisted ankle may result in doctor's bills that you're not thrilled about paying. A Medigap policy will cover at least part of these (and other similar) costs.

Buy Early

You'll become eligible to purchase a supplemental insurance policy when you become eligible to enroll in Medicare. There is a 6-month open enrollment period for Medigap that starts when you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B. Choosing to wait may affect your ability to get supplemental insurance. Typically, if you don't enroll during this period, it will cost you more to buy Medigap. In some cases, you may not even be able to buy one of these policies. Medigap is offered through private insurers, and not federal or state government agencies. The private insurance companies may deny you coverage if you are trying to buy the insurance outside of the enrollment period.

Having Underlying Conditions

You already know that you have a heart condition, diabetes, or some other health issue. Don't worry, insurance companies can't deny you Medigap coverage because of it. That is, if you sign up for coverage during the open enrollment period. After that, all bets are off. That said, some companies won't cover out-of-pocket expenses for pre-existing conditions until you've been insured for six months. You'll still have coverage, but will likely to have to pay for deductible and co-pays for the first six months of it.

Renewing Your Policy

After you've enrolled, your insurance company must renew your Medigap policy annually. The only exceptions to this rule are if you haven't been paying your premiums, you lied on your application, the company itself goes out of business or you bought your policy before 1992. Some older policies (those prior to 1992) aren't considered as "guaranteed renewable."

Protecting Yourself

Even though the federal and state governments don't directly sell Medigap policies, they do help to protect the policies that you're eligible to buy. Most states have specific rules that designate what a "standardized" policy is. Insurance companies must follow these when selling Medigap. Standardization guarantees basic benefits. These may differ by state.

Medigap isn't required, but it can help you in ways that Medicare won't. From paying for high deductibles to covering healthcare expenses when you travel outside of the U.S., a supplemental insurance policy is something that can save you money in the long run. Contact a company like Lubenow Insurance Agency  to learn more.