You may already know that Medicare Supplement plans in Minnesota work differently than in most other states. The benefits are somewhat unique and the names are different as well.
The good news is comprehensive coverage is available. You can tailor your Medigap policy to cover the gaps that best fit your needs and budget. Our independent Medicare insurance agency will help you compare and contrast all of your options.
The first thing to know is supplements have different names in MN. In most other states, you’re comparing Plan G, N and sometimes F.
Policies in Minnesota have names like Basic, Extended Basic, Copay, and High Deductible. Each coverage is a little different, but these policies do closely resemble the traditional Plans F, G, and N you see in most parts of the country.
Another unique factor: You have the ability to purchase optional riders with some policies. You might do this to tailor a plan to cover certain important benefits.
Optional riders include coverage for the Part A and/or Part B Deductibles, Part B Excess Charges, and Preventive Health Services. Some policies will cover most (if not all) of these gaps automatically. We can help you compare the costs so you don’t overpay.
Government officials made changes to Medicare insurance a few years ago. In a nutshell, consumers eligible for Part A after January 1st, 2020 can no longer purchase policies that cover the Part B deductible.
In Minnesota, you will see both pre and post-2020 plans. If you’re Medicare began before that date, you can enroll in a traditional (or High Deductible Supplement) plan that covers the Part B deductible. If your Medicare began after, then there are other plans to choose from.
The Part B deductible is small, however. And once it’s met, then it’s met for the entire year. At this time, the change hasn’t had a significant impact for most.
Most of our clients gravitate to two or three of the plans listed above. Again, your options will depend on when you were first eligible for Medicare… before or after January 2020.
In our experience, the most popular policy is the Extended Basic Plan. It most closely resembles Plan G and covers all of the major gaps left behind by Medicare. The Copay plan (think Plan N) is also popular. It covers many of the same gaps as the Extended Basic, but does not cover Part B Excess Charges. Additionally, you’re responsible for copays at the doctor’s office ($20) and emergency room ($50).
The High Deductible plan is another well-liked policy. With HD Supplements, there is a larger upfront deductible you must meet before the insurance pays. The monthly premiums are very low, however. Clients in good health inquire often about High Deductible Supplements and/or Medicare Advantage plans.
Your Medicare Open Enrollment is an individual occurrence. For most, it happens when they turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B for the first time. For others, it’s after age 65 if they’re working, have qualifying group coverage, and deferred Part B. Still others qualify before age 65 if approved for Medicare due to disability.
Your Open Enrollment Window includes the 3 months before, the month of, and three months after your Medicare Part B eligibility date. Again, that usually coincides with your 65th birthday, but not always. This 7-month window is the time to explore all of your Medicare insurance options. This includes Supplements, Advantage plans, and or Prescription Part D drug coverage.
There are no Medicare Supplements sold today offering prescription drug coverage. If you don’t have drug coverage elsewhere (like the VA, a union, or employer-based), then it’s wise to enroll in a plan.
The federal government will assess a Late Enrollment Penalty later if you don’t enroll when first eligible. This LEP penalty lasts a lifetime and can significantly increase your premiums.
The good news is Part D Drug plans are inexpensive. Even if you take no – or just a few – drugs, plans can be found for around $10 a month. Of course, there are more comprehensive stand-alone drug policies for those on several prescriptions.
The Annual Election Period (AEP) runs between October 15th and December 7th every year. Some refer to it as Open Enrollment, but it’s not the same. You may not be able to change your Medicare Supplement plan in MN, for instance.
Most commonly consumers change their Prescription Part D Drug coverage or their Medicare Advantage plans. This is done to reduce premiums and/or out-of-pocket exposure. So there’s a lot you can do, but not all changes are on the table.
If you’re unsure about AEP, SEP, OEP, Open Enrollment, and all of the other Medicare windows, it’s best to work with a broker. We can help you stay insured and compliant. This way you’ll avoid penalties and unexpected future expenses.
Our independent insurance agency specializes in Medicare insurance plans of all types. We work with supplements, Advantage, and Part D drug plans across the entire state of MN.
We’ll help you compare the coverage options that best fit your needs and budget. Contact us today to get started.