One of the most common situations in which someone needs a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan is when he or she is losing an employer group insurance plan. Fortunately, Medicare allows some special provisions for people in this situation, which helps you to make a smooth transition.
The first thing that you need to know when you are in this situation is whether you have both parts of “original” Medicare – Part A and Part B. Typically, everyone gets Part A of Medicare the 1st day of the month during which they turn 65 (unless your birthday falls on the 1st of a month, in which case your Medicare will start the preceding month). For Part B, however, many people who have other insurance, such as an employer group plan, will delay the start of Part B. This saves you some money, and if you have a comprehensive group plan, can be a wise choice.
If you are in that situation, the first thing you will want to do is to get Medicare Part B lined up. To do this, you will need to contact a local Social Security office or call Social Security at 800.772.1213. Here is some more information about signing up for Medicare Part B.
Once you have both parts of Medicare, or once that is in process (it does usually take a few weeks to get your new Medicare card), you can compare and sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan. These plans are designed to fill in the “gaps” in original Medicare, and they are offered through private insurance companies.
To get a Medigap plan, it is important to understand the basic tenets of Medigap insurance. First and foremost, the plans are Federally-standardized. You can view the Medigap coverage chart to see what each plan covers. The most common and comprehensive plan is Plan F; however, sometimes a lower-tier coverage plan may offer a better price and similarly comprehensive benefits – i.e. Plan G.
Once you understand what the various plans cover, it is important to compare the companies offering the plans for your specific age, gender, health status and zip code. Rates can vary greatly in different areas, for different ages, etc. The easiest way to do this is online. You can get a Medicare supplemental comparison, typically, by email from an independent brokerage. This will give you information about the companies that offer plans in your area, what the rates are, and the ratings of the companies offering those plans.
There are many resources for this, including ours at Medicare-Supplement.us. If you have any questions about this process or want more information, including Medigap comparisons, please reach out to us using our quotes tool linked above or by phone at 877.506.3378.