Reasons Why New Yorkers Switch Their Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Policies:
- You’re paying for benefits you don’t need.
- You need more benefits than you needed before.
- Your current Medigap policy has the right benefits, but you want to change your insurance company.
- Your current Medigap policy has the right benefits, but you want to find a policy that’s less expensive.
- NY State online tool: Simply Enter Your 5-Digit New York Zip Code to Compare MediGap Policies in Your Area
As a reminder, Medicare Supplement, also known as Medigap, are policies designed primarily to supplement (or fill the gap) Medicare benefits. You simply present your red, white and blue Medicare card to the provider or facility along with the Supplement / Medigap card to help with out-of-pocket costs; such as deductible and co-insurance amounts with Original Medicare Part A and Part B.
Currently, there are 10 standardized Medigap plans, each represented by a letter (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N; both Plans F and G offer a high-deductible version). These plans are available in most states. While premiums will vary from state to state the standardized benefits of each lettered plan remain the same despite the insurance company or location. For example, Plan F benefits are the same in Florida as they are in New York.
Q: Is there an Annual / Open Enrollment Period?
Most people buy their Medicare Supplement / Medigap policy during the six month period after they first enroll in Medicare. After that, in many states, Medigap insurance companies are generally allowed to use medical underwriting to decide whether to accept your application and how much to charge you for the Medigap policy.
Q: So How Do New York State Residents Have More Protection?
New York State laws and regulations continue this open enrollment period. A person enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B may purchase a Medigap policy at any time. Insurers may not consider an applicant’s health status, claims experience, or age. Laws in New York also prohibit insurers from basing Medigap premiums on age and charging a higher premium as they grow older. Also,
Q: But What About Pre-Existing Conditions; Are They Covered?
Medigap insurers may impose up to a six-month waiting period to be covered for any preexisting conditions a person may have. Federal law and New York State regulation define a preexisting condition as any condition for which medical advice was given or treatment was recommended by or received from a physician within six months before the effective date of coverage.
Under New York State regulation, the waiting period may be either reduced or waived entirely, depending upon whether an individual has had previous health insurance coverage. Medigap insurers are required to reduce the preexisting condition waiting period by the number of days an individual was covered under some form of “creditable” coverage so long as there were no breaks in coverage of more than 63 calendar days. Translation: If you are switching from a “creditable” plan that you have held consecutively for six months, New York regulation requires the new Medicare Supplement / Medigap plan to reduce or waive the six month pre-existing condition waiting period.