October 6, 2016
What does Medicare Supplement Plan B cover?
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan B is not the same as Medicare Part B, which is part of Original Medicare (along with Medicare Part A). Medigap Plan B serves to fill in the gaps in coverage left by Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. Original Medicare coverage may leave you with out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. You may have the option to enroll in a Medigap plan that helps cover the remainder of these expenses. Medigap Plan B specifically covers:
- Medicare Part B out-of-pocket expenses such as copayments and coinsurance
- Part B preventive care coinsurance
- The first three pints of blood used in a medical procedure
- Medicare Part A hospital out-of-pocket expenses up to 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up
- Medicare Part A deductible
- Hospice care copayments and coinsurance
The best time for beneficiaries to enroll in Medigap Plan B may be during their Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which is not the same for everyone. This period begins on the first day of the first month that you are both age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B, and lasts for six months. During this time, private insurance carriers may not use medical underwriting to assess a beneficiary’s health condition. This means that if you’re enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B and live within a Medigap plan’s service area, you can enroll in that Medigap plan without fear of being denied coverage or charged higher premiums based on a pre-existing health condition (although waiting periods may apply). If you miss your open enrollment period, you have the option of applying for Medigap Plan B (or any Medigap plan available in your vicinity) at any time during the year, but you may be subject to coverage denial or higher premiums.
In 47 states, Medicare Supplement plans are standardized with lettered names, such as Medigap Plan B. (Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have their own standardized Medigap plans.) Different lettered Medigap plans cover varying portions of Medicare Part A and Part B out-of-pocket costs. Despite these differences, the same lettered plan offers the same benefits regardless of location or carrier. For instance, Medigap Plan B in both Texas and New York will offer all of the benefits listed above. Insurance companies must supply this standardized coverage, but they may charge different premiums and some companies may also offer additional benefits. Plan B’s benefits are identical to Medigap Plan A benefits except that Medigap Plan B also covers the Medicare Part A deductible.
Our Medigap plan benefit chart lets you compare Plan B benefits against the other standardized Medigap plans to see which plan may suit your needs.
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