Medicare Supplemental Plan B
Medicare beneficiaries that are enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) and reside in a plan's network may enroll in a Medicare Supplemental Plan B policy to fill in the gaps in their Original Medicare coverage. These gaps may include costs such as deductibles and copayments, as well as other excess charges. There are ten standardized Medicare Supplement plans available to those who qualify. Since these plans are offered by private insurance companies, costs and availability may differ by location and carrier, although carriers must provide the same set of standardized Plan B benefits.
Medicare Supplemental Plan B policies are designed to meet your basic supplemental health care needs. These plans may help you pay for additional medical expenses resulting from unexpected procedures and hospitalization. Plan B is ideal for those who want more than Original Medicare coverage of hospital services, but do not foresee themselves using a lot of these services.
Plan B provides basic coverage for:
- Medicare Part A hospital and coinsurance costs up to an additional 365 days after Original Medicare benefits are exhausted
- Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayments
- Medicare Part A deductible
- First three pints of blood used in a medical procedure
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments
Medicare Supplemental Plan B does not cover:
- Medicare Part B deductible
- Medicare Part B excess charges
- Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) care coinsurance
- Foreign travel emergency care
Medicare Supplemental Plan B Costs
Private insurance companies have the ability to set their own monthly premiums based off of three price rating systems: community-rated, issue-age-rated, and attained-age-rated. Beneficiaries in Plan B from one company may all pay the same premiums while beneficiaries of different ages enrolled in Plan B from another company may pay different premiums. Depending on a variety of factors including location, gender, age, and health status, carriers may charge more or less for the same plan. Despite these different pricing methods, every company must notify its enrollees in advance if it plans to increase its premiums. Additionally, companies may not change what the policy covers and may not cancel coverage unless an enrollee does not pay the plan premium.
The most ideal time for a beneficiary to enroll in a Medicare Supplemental Plan B policy is during their six-month Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which begins on the first day of the month that they are both over the age of 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During these six months, beneficiaries have the guaranteed issue right to enroll in any Plan B policy of their choosing, regardless of whether they have any pre-existing health conditions. Hence, if you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), then this six month period is the best and most likely the only time you are able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan. If you miss this period and decide to enroll later on, then you may be subjected to medical underwriting and denied enrollment.