The Best Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans in Maryland
- Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) can help Maryland seniors cover Medicare's out-of-pocket costs. Check out our review of Maryland Medigap plans to find one that's right for you.
Maryland seniors who receive health insurance through Medicare Parts A and B may find themselves coping with the high out-of-pocket costs associated with copays, coinsurance and deductibles. Currently, more than a quarter of the state’s Original Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare supplement insurance, also known as Medigap, to help cover some or all of these expenses.
If you’re considering joining the 243,000 Maryland seniors who rely on Medigap to manage medical expenses, plans are available from private insurers throughout the state. The information provided in this article is intended to help you understand what Medigap plans are available in Maryland so you can find the ideal policy for your needs and budget.
You can find Medicare Supplement plans where you live by comparing plans from several different insurance companies online.
What Are the Best Maryland Medicare Supplement Plans?
To determine the best Medicare supplement plan for you, it’s helpful to understand how Medigap works. Medigap has 10 standardized plan types, which are distinguished using letters ranging from A to N. Each plan offers the same basic coverage, reimbursing policyholders for hospice care copays and at least a percentage of Part A and B coinsurance costs, and adds 365 days of inpatient hospital coverage beyond what Medicare offers.
What additional benefits you'll get depends on the plan letter you choose — for example, Plan C covers the coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care, but Plans A and B don’t — and coverage for a particular benefit can range from 50% to 100% of the cost.
Medigap plans may cover up to 100% of the following Medicare-related expenses:
- The Part B deductible
- Coinsurance for residential skilled nursing services
- Medically necessary care received while traveling outside the United States
- Medical charges that exceed the approved amounts under Medicare Part B
Limitations and restrictions may also apply under some plans. For a more comprehensive comparison of plans by letter type, refer to the chart below.
What Are the Most Popular Types of Medigap Plans?
Medigap plans vary in popularity due to differences in benefits, coverage levels and premiums. Three of the most consistently popular Medigap plans are Plans F, G and N, likely due to the lower premiums associated with these policies, which may benefit seniors living on a fixed income.
All three of these plans cover the full coinsurance amount for residential skilled nursing care, plus 80% of foreign travel exchange expenses. However, it’s worth noting that these plans may come with high deductibles, which can impact reimbursement, and none of these plans have out-of-pocket limits.
Although Plans F and G are open to any Original Medicare beneficiary during open enrollment, only beneficiaries who were initially eligible to enroll in Medicare Part B prior to the start of 2020 may purchase a Plan F policy.
What’s the Best Way to Compare Medigap Insurance Companies?
Because Medicare supplement insurance is standardized by type, plans identified by the same letter are consistent from company to company. If you compare a Plan C policy offered by Company X with Plan C policies offered by Companies Y and Z, you’ll find the benefits identical. Typically, the only difference between policies of the same type sold by different insurers is their premiums.
Not all insurance companies that sell Medigap plans offer the same selection of policies, however. Insurance companies that sell Medigap policies must offer Plans A, C and F, but other plan type offerings are optional.
How Do I Enroll in a Maryland Medigap Plan?
Medicare supplement insurance is only available to Original Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older. So, if you’re about to turn 65 and are enrolling in Medicare Part B, it may be time to consider a Medigap plan.
When Is the Best Time to Enroll?
If you’re planning on purchasing a Medigap policy, the ideal time to do so is during the formal open enrollment period, which opens at the beginning of your 65th birthday month and lasts for six months. This time period is typically the best time to enroll, particularly for seniors who have health concerns because you can’t be denied coverage. During open enrollment, insurance companies that sell Medigap policies are legally required to sell you a plan, regardless of your health, at the price a person in good health would pay.
If you’ve hit 65 but still receive medical benefits through your employer or union, you have the option of delaying your Medicare Part B enrollment until after your current coverage ends. In this case, your six-month Medigap enrollment period begins once you enroll in Original Medicare.
If you miss Medigap’s enrollment period, you may have to go through an insurer’s medical underwriting process, which can result in higher premiums if you’re found to be a high risk. For seniors in poor health, this can potentially result in your application for coverage being denied.
What Are Guaranteed Issue Rights?
In certain circumstances, beneficiaries who didn’t enroll in a Medigap policy during the open enrollment period may still sign up for a plan without going through a medical underwriting process. Known as guaranteed issue rights, these federal protections may be invoked in certain situations, including the following common scenarios:
- A Medicare Advantage participant lost coverage because the plan was discontinued or no longer offered coverage in their region, and they reverted to Original Medicare.
- A Medicare Advantage participant moved to an area that their plan doesn’t cover and reverted to an Original Medicare plan.
- A Medicare enrollee exercised a trial right to a Medicare Advantage plan and opted to switch back to Part B within the year.
- A Medigap policyholder lost their supplemental insurance through no fault of their own and now wants to purchase a new policy.
- A Medigap policyholder terminated their coverage because the company had misleading policies or refused to follow federal guidelines, and they now wish to purchase a new plan.
- A Medicare-eligible senior lost employer- or union-sponsored coverage that they used to supplement Original Medicare, and they want to replace it with a Medigap plan.
If you think you’re entitled to enroll in a plan under one of these guaranteed issue right protections, let your chosen Medigap provider know right away. Your eligibility to enroll in a Medigap plan may begin as early as 60 days prior to when you’ll lose your current coverage, and it generally continues for 63 days afterward.