The Best Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans in Michigan
- In Michigan, Medicare supplement insurance helps seniors manage medical expenses. Let our review of Michigan's Medigap plans help you find the right plan for your needs and budget.
Medicare Parts A and B provide comprehensive health care benefits for many U.S. seniors, but they can leave beneficiaries with high out-of-pocket costs associated with copays, coinsurance and deductibles. Medicare supplement insurance, or Medigap, was designed to work alongside Original Medicare, defraying costs that remain after Medicare reimbursement. In Michigan, nearly 430,000 seniors take advantage of these private plans to help manage medical expenses, which is more than 30% of Original Medicare beneficiaries.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a Medigap plan from one of the many insurance companies that offer these policies throughout Michigan, the information in this article is meant to give you the knowledge you’ll need to select the plan that’s best for you.
You can find Medicare Supplement plans where you live by comparing plans from several different insurance companies online.
What Are the Best Michigan Medicare Supplement Plans?
If you want to choose the plan that will work best for you, you’ll need to understand the basics of Medicare supplement insurance. Regardless of who you purchase a policy from, each Medigap plan is one of 10 standardized types, identified by a letter ranging from A to N, and benefits vary by plan.
Each Medigap plan offers the same foundation of benefits, covering all or some of the following charges:
- Hospice care copays
- Part A and B coinsurance
- 365 additional days of inpatient hospital coverage
Additional benefits vary by plan type. For example, Plan C reimburses policyholders for skilled nursing facility care coinsurance, but Plans A and B don’t. The coverage amount for each benefit may also vary from plan to plan, typically ranging from 50% to 100% of the cost that remains after Medicare reimbursement.
Depending on the letter of your plan, you may receive reimbursement for all or some of the following charges:
- Part A and B deductibles
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
- Charges exceeding the Medicare Part B approved amount
- Medical care administered while traveling outside the United States
Limitations or restrictions may apply to some covered benefits under the terms of certain plans. The chart below offers a more comprehensive breakdown of Medigap benefits by plan letter.
The Most Popular Medigap Plans
Because Medigap plans differ in covered services, coverage amounts, and premiums, some plans are more popular than others. In general, the most popular Medigap plans are Plans F, G and N. That may be due to having lower premiums, which may attract seniors who wish to purchase a Medigap plan but who must stick to a strict budget when doing so.
In addition to the foundation benefits that every Medigap plan provides, Plans F, G and N all offer numerous benefits, including:
- Coverage of the Part A deductible
- 100% of the coinsurance for skilled nursing facility care
- 80% of foreign travel exchange
- Coverage of blood required for transfusions
Although these three plans may be less costly to purchase, they may come with higher deductibles, which means there's an additional outlay of money before reimbursement begins. Plans F, G and N also don’t have out-of-pocket limits, which may not be ideal for seniors requiring extensive long-term medical care.
Plan F was only open to new enrollees before January 1, 2020. If you were eligible for Medicare prior to that date but hadn’t yet enrolled, you may still be able to purchase this type of plan.
Comparing Insurance Companies
Medigap plans are standardized, so coverage under a specific plan type remains the same no matter which company issues the policy. Essentially, if you’re choosing between insurance companies, the main difference is the price of the policy and the types of policies available because not all insurers offer the same selection of policies. Although all companies that sell Medigap policies must offer Plans A, C and F, other plan types may vary by insurer.
How Do I Enroll in a Michigan Medigap Plan?
Enrollment in Medigap is done through private insurance companies. Plans are available to Medicare Part A and B enrollees aged 65 and older. If you’re under 65 or are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you aren't eligible to purchase a Medigap policy.
The Medigap Open Enrollment Period
No matter which insurance company you purchase a plan from, the best time to buy Medicare supplement insurance is during Medigap’s open enrollment period, especially if you're a senior with underlying medical issues that may brand you a high risk for insurance. During this period, insurance companies who offer Medigap plans may not use medical underwriting processes to determine eligibility or set premium rates, and all applicants must be charged the same rate for similar plans, regardless of their health. You’ll have six months to purchase a plan, starting at the beginning of your 65th birthday month.
However, if you’re still receiving your medical benefits through an employer or union at age 65, you may delay your Medicare Part B enrollment until your coverage ends. Your six-month Medigap enrollment period won’t begin until you enroll in Medicare Part B.
What Happens After Medigap’s Open Enrollment Period?
If you don’t purchase a plan during open enrollment, you may still be able to get a Medigap policy, but you’ll have to go through medical underwriting. For anyone with underlying medical issues, this can result in higher premiums or even coverage denial.
There are exceptions, however. Some enrollees may be protected by guaranteed issue rights, which let certain beneficiaries sign up for Medigap coverage outside the open enrollment period without the risks associated with medical underwriting.
Guaranteed issue rights may apply to beneficiaries in the following categories:
- Medicare Advantage enrollees who lost coverage due to a discontinued plan or a change in the plan’s service area and subsequently enrolled in Original Medicare.
- Medicare Advantage enrollees who moved out of their plan’s service area and subsequently enrolled in Original Medicare.
- Medicare Advantage enrollees who exercised a trial right and switched back to Original Medicare within the first year.
- Former Medigap policyholders who lost their supplemental insurance for reasons outside of their control.
- Former Medigap policyholders who terminated their coverage because of an insurer’s misleading policies or unwillingness to adhere to federal guidelines.
- Medicare-eligible individuals who lost the group coverage they were using to supplement Original Medicare.
If you’re protected under one of these guaranteed issue rights, let your potential Medigap provider know immediately. You may enroll in a Medigap plan as early as 60 days before losing your current coverage and up to 63 days afterward.