The Best Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans in Iowa
- Iowa Medicare supplement insurance helps seniors cover the costs left after Medicare reimbursement. Find the best plan for your needs by reading our review of Medigap plans in Iowa.
By enrolling in Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap), Medicare beneficiaries in Iowa may be able to get coverage for the out-of-pocket costs that remain after Medicare Part A and B reimbursement. Currently, more than 300,000 Iowa residents — nearly 60% of the state’s Medicare beneficiaries — purchase this supplemental insurance through private insurers to help defray the cost of medical-related expenses such as copays, coinsurance and deductibles.
If you’re looking to purchase a Medigap policy in Iowa, coverage options and price points may vary depending on the plan and provider you choose. The information and reviews in this article are intended to help you understand what coverage options are available so you can select the plan that best suits your needs.
You can find Medicare Supplement plans where you live by comparing plans from several different insurance companies online.
What Are the Best Iowa Medicare Supplement Plans?
To understand what the best Iowa Medicare supplement plans are and how to choose the policy that's right for you, it’s crucial to understand the differences between plans and what they mean for policyholders.
Types of Medigap Plans
There are 10 general categories of Medigap plans, and each category is identified by a single letter between A and N. Regardless of the issuer, all plans offer the same base of benefits. Across all 10 categories, coverage includes reimbursement for at least a portion of the following expenses after Medicare has reimbursed for its percentage of costs:
- Part A and B coinsurance
- Blood needed for transfusions
- Hospice care copay or coinsurance (Part A)
- 365 days of in-hospital care after exhausting Medicare Part A benefits
Although all plan types offer the same foundational benefits, some provide additional coverage for residential skilled nursing and services and supplies rendered during foreign travel. Certain plans may also pay for medical charges that exceed the Medicare-approved amount. Plan types may differ in the percentage of coverage for certain supplies and services, and limitations and restrictions may apply under certain plan types.
Because Medigap categories are standardized, plans of a certain letter designation offer the same benefits regardless of the issuer. That means that if you purchase Plan C, coverage is the same regardless of who you bought it from.
For a more comprehensive comparison of Medigap plan types by letter, refer to the accompanying chart.
Popular Medigap Plans
Medigap plans vary in popularity, with Plans F, G and N often being the most popular among Medicare beneficiaries. This trio of plans typically comes with lower premiums, making them a viable choice for seniors living on a fixed income. However, they usually have a high deductible, which must be met before you’re eligible for reimbursement. All three plans cover the coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care, plus 80% of foreign travel exchange. To qualify for enrollment in Plan F, you must have been eligible for Medicare prior to January 1, 2020.
Medigap Availability by Issuer
Although insurance companies that issue Medigap plans may each have a different selection of plans, every insurer that offers these plans is required to sell plans A, C and F. Because benefits are standardized by plan type, the main difference between companies is the premium, so you can shop around for the best price.
How Do I Enroll in an Iowa Medigap Plan?
You’re eligible to purchase an Iowa Medigap plan once you hit age 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. After choosing a suitable Medigap plan, enrollment may be completed through the private insurer of your choice.
Medigap’s Open Enrollment Period
Ideally, you should enroll in a plan during Medigap’s open enrollment period, which begins the first day of the month you turn 65 and stays open for six months. While the Medigap open enrollment period is in effect, enrollment in the Medigap plan of your choice is guaranteed. During this timeframe, an insurer legally can’t deny you coverage or charge you a higher premium for a plan, even if you have health issues that may label you a higher risk. Once this open enrollment period closes, insurers are permitted to use medical underwriting to assess an applicant’s risk, potentially leading to higher premiums or coverage denial for seniors who have health issues.
If you’re over 65 but have a health insurance plan through your employer or union, you may prefer to wait before enrolling in Medicare Part B. In this situation, you may also delay your Medigap enrollment period. Your six-month open enrollment then begins once your current health care coverage ends and you enroll in Medicare Part B.
Guaranteed Issue Rights
If you don’t enroll in a Medigap plan during the formal open enrollment period, federal law may still protect your right to purchase a policy in certain circumstances. Under these guaranteed issue rights, insurance companies that offer Medigap plans must sell you a policy after the open enrollment period ends without regard for potential underwriting risks.
Guaranteed issue rights typically apply in several common scenarios:
- A Medicare beneficiary needs to purchase a new Medigap plan after losing their current coverage for a reason outside of their control.
- A Medicare beneficiary reverts to Original Medicare from a Medicare Advantage plan because their MA plan has been discontinued, they moved out of the plan’s service area or they exercised a trial right for a Medicare Advantage plan but switched back to Part B within the year.
- A Medicare beneficiary loses an employer-sponsored plan that was supplementing their Medicare coverage.
- A Medicare beneficiary relinquishes their current Medigap coverage due to an issuer’s misleading policies.
If you’ve experienced one of these circumstances or another guaranteed issue right applies, you may still be able to purchase a Medigap plan even if your open enrollment period has ended. If you’re applying for Medigap coverage under a guaranteed issue right, an insurance company may not refuse you coverage or charge you a higher premium due to underwriting risks.
If you qualify for a plan under a guaranteed issue right, this federal protection typically applies for up to 63 days after your current supplemental coverage ends. After that, Medigap policy issuers may apply standard medical underwriting practices.